West Seattle restaurants: Alki Homestead to become Italian eatery Il Nido

(WSB photo, 2013)

Almost 10 years after a fire shut down the Alki Homestead, its food future has been announced. Not fried chicken. Just out of the WSB inbox:

Mike Easton and his wife Victoria are expanding their Italian reach to West Seattle. The couple has taken over the old Alki Homestead and is turning it into an Italian dinner destination near the shores of Elliott Bay.

Il Nido, which means “the nest” in Italian, will join the Easton flock, complementing the brisk lunch service at Pioneer Square’s Il Corvo (“the crow”) with a more substantial sit-down, family-friendly dinner experience in a historic log cabin that has been feeding the West Seattle neighborhood for generations. “It’s going to be sort of our permanent, home-base restaurant,” says Easton. “The nest just seemed to make perfect sense.”

The iconic Alki Homestead was initially built as a residence in 1903. It transitioned into a family restaurant in the 1950s and earned landmark status in 1995. In (January 2009), a fire shut down the old structure, which remained untouched until 2015 when it was purchased by Dennis Schilling, who began the long restoration process.

“We really want to try to bridge the gap between the 100-year-old feel with a little bit of the 21st century,” says Easton. That includes beautiful live edge, chunky full slab tables supplemented by more modern chairs and fixtures throughout the 3,000 square-foot space.

The signature river rock fireplace in the main dining room is getting rebuilt to its original standards. And an intimate bar with half a dozen seats will be added to the front lounge area. At Il Corvo, we tried to create a space that wasn’t stuck in any time period,” says Easton. “Il Nido should also have that timeless feel.”

In addition, the original neon art-deco Alki Homestead sign will be reinstated atop the restaurant after a successful refurb by Western Neon (this Thursday).

The menu at Il Nido will be absolutely Italian, driven by market produce. “I really like to create a menu that makes vegetables truly shine,” says Easton. It’ll also be a place that will allow Easton and his crew the opportunity to create a bit more of the delicate, intensive handmade pastas that they just haven’t had time to make. “You don’t see tortelli or ravioli on the menu at Il Corvo very often because it would take an army of people to make enough to put it on as a lunch special. Thankfully, we’re so busy, we don’t have the time to do that.”

As for when Il Nido will be open for business, Easton says it all depends on the restoration process. “I’d love to see it open in time for spring, but that’s a pretty ambitious goal.”

Il Nido will be open for dinner five nights a week, along with weekend brunch.

Our archive of Alki Homestead coverage is here. That includes coverage of the 2009 fire, the subsequent changing of ownership, celebration of the building’s history including the 2015 “group hug” photo, and the removal of the aforementioned sign for restoration two years ago.

73 Replies to "West Seattle restaurants: Alki Homestead to become Italian eatery Il Nido"

  • Sheila G September 10, 2018 (6:33 pm)

    Exciting! Can’t wait.

  • liz September 10, 2018 (6:49 pm)

    Il Corvo is AMAZING. I’m so excited for this addition – I don’t want to wait! 

    • Mamasuze September 10, 2018 (10:31 pm)

      Best news I have heard coming out of WS in a long time! Can’t wait!!

  • nancy September 10, 2018 (6:58 pm)


    • Marge E. September 10, 2018 (7:31 pm)

      Nancy, no? aren’t you happy they’re reopening?

      • Peter September 11, 2018 (9:06 am)

        A lot of people in Seattle just hate anything new or different, and think the only appropriate use of property (public or private) is what they personally want.

        • Scott kUNNANZ September 11, 2018 (5:11 pm)

          First… being an Architect and historian…I’m ecstatic that the building is being saved.  That said…I agree with Nancy.    We aren’t afraid of new so much as losing all familiar ties to the past or traditions.  The unique (albeit pedestrian) home cooked family stylings which had been featured at the Homestead was what made it a true gem in Alki area.  People “literally” came to West Seattle just to visit it and eat there.  It’s historical ties were part of the culture.   Many of my favorite eateries have shuffled off of this planet and have been replaced by what are just more of the same.  An Italian eatery is always welcome to the neighborhood… don’t get me wrong… by “why there”?   It could go into a hundred different spots and have success.  What’s next, convert Endolyn’s into “Purple – West Seattle”?    When I moved to Seattle in 1997, neighborhoods still had unique character and charm.  Now…  the Alaska Junction has more in common with Downtown Ballard… or almost any other neighborhood now, than it does to those murals on the buildings on California.  Why not spare us the prolonged agony of watching it dissolve and just bulldoze it all now and rebuild it to match the monotonous monolithic brick and glass megaliths in South Lake Union… then fill everything up with high salaried transplants and overpriced pretentious restaurants?  Again… it’s GREAT… HALLELUJAH… that they aren’t tearing it down and replacing it with some 5 or 7 over 2 high density, grossly underparked apartment or condo.  That is something to cheer for… it’s just sad that the Homestead’s soul had to be sacrificed to protect it’s skin.  Where was a sentimental Microsoft millionaire West Seattleite when we really needed one.  LOL.I won’t vent anymore, unless this place knocks La Rustica out of business.  

          • West Seattle since 1979 September 11, 2018 (7:04 pm)

            Perhaps people will come to West Seattle for this. Their tiny hole in the wall restaurant near Pioneer Square, Il Corvo, always has long lines waiting to get in for lunch. So I wouldn’t be surprised if the food here will be amazing, and that it will be a destination restaurant. 

    • bixonalki September 10, 2018 (9:52 pm)

      I am really curious what issue Nancy has. Seems pretty cool to me. 

      • Seabruce September 11, 2018 (12:31 am)

        I’m disappointed the Historical Society  wouldn’t insist they continue the historic tradition of family style fried chicken that Mrs. Nelson as famous for. After her death, the staff was running the place excellently.Couldn’t they put in an Italian restaurant in the former Maree or Tulleys instead?

        • West Seattle since 1979 September 11, 2018 (10:32 am)

          I didn’t know Mrs. Nelson, but don’t you think she’d rather see a good-quality Italian restaurant in this building, rather than having the building rot or be torn down? Especially since it’s sat there vacant for 10 years, and in that time no one came forward with $$ to buy the place and turn it into a duplicate of her restaurant?  

          • WSB September 11, 2018 (10:42 am)

            Just to be clear (from the interview for our forthcoming followup), Mike and Victoria Easton aren’t buying the building. They will be tenants of Dennis Schilling, who bought the Homestead in 2015 to save it and will continue to own it. Previous owner Tom Lin had at one point envisioned reopening a Homestead restaurant the way it was but he also had an engineering team who said the building would have to be mostly torn up and reconstructed (see this 2009 story). – TR

  • Matt September 10, 2018 (7:05 pm)

    This is fantastic news! Yes!

  • James Clark September 10, 2018 (7:19 pm)

    Seems like Italian doesn’t fit into a log house to me.

    • Andy September 11, 2018 (5:51 am)

      I have been to Italy and can confirm the existence of both logs and houses, often coexisting peacefully, with Italians who fit into them quite neatly.

      • Elizagrace September 11, 2018 (1:23 pm)

        Andy wins the comments for the month! 

  • Marge E, September 10, 2018 (7:30 pm)

    wow! “to make the vegetables shine”  sound like my kind of place!

  • Elisabeth September 10, 2018 (7:32 pm)

    Love Italian food! Glad to see this wonderful space get back into business. So what if it’s a log house?

  • Meagan September 10, 2018 (7:35 pm)

    I cannot wait!!! Il Corvo is awesome.

  • West Seattle since 1979 September 10, 2018 (7:48 pm)

    Great news!

  • old timer September 10, 2018 (7:50 pm)

    Great to hear that there will be life again in the old building.I wish them much success.

  • Al September 10, 2018 (8:02 pm)

    This is the best West Seattle food news of the decade. That building is long overdue to be reopened and what Mike Easton is doing at Il Corvo is some of the best/most intentional cooking this city can lay claim to. 

  • Cashmere September 10, 2018 (8:03 pm)

    Has anyone seen the lunch line at Il Corvo?! It’s so bomb. We are in for a treat! Hooray! 

    • newnative September 11, 2018 (7:32 am)

      Il Corvo is why i love getting jury duty. 

      • sam-c September 11, 2018 (8:25 am)

        But do you make it back to court on time? :)  Il Corvo is the only place I go to (downtown) if I have the rare opportunity to leave West Seattle for my lunch hour-ish

  • Jeff McCord September 10, 2018 (8:18 pm)

    We are very happy to hear the announcement from Mike Easton and Dennis Schilling about the planned opening of Il Nido in the not-too-distant future. We at the Southwest Seattle Historical Society (and Log House Museum) could not be more thrilled than to see a great restranteur like Mike and his family make the commitment to starting a new culinary legacy at the former “Homestead” location.In fact, our own Log House Museum 1/2 block away is like its smaller cousin, having been the “carriage house” of the Bernard summer home, which we often refer to by its more historical name from ealier in the 20th century as “Fir Lodge.”Dennis Schilling and his son Matt have proven to be very preservation-minded in their stewardship and restoration of the log home, having supported its landmark status from when they first started their restoration process. And when we’ve had the opportunity to meet and talk with Mike Easton over the last month or so we have learned that his own interest in the historical character of the structure, and its place in West Seattle, is a large part of why he is drawn to the location.Fir Lodge / “The Homestead” is forever connected with our own history, and we look forward to a long relationship with Mike, his family, and Il Nido as they write their own chapter in the history of West Seattle.Thank You!Jeff McCord, Executive DirectorSouthwest Seattle Historical Society(and Log House Museum)http://loghousemuseum.org

  • Valerie September 10, 2018 (8:24 pm)

    I agree with Nancy! Italian food at the Alki Homestead? No.  I’m happy it’s opening again, but I was really hoping for the old Homestead.  Besides, everywhere you turn in this city there’s an Italian restaurant. Doesn’t anyone here eat anything else?

    • wscommuter September 10, 2018 (10:44 pm)

      So your point is that it would be better if the building sits closed and boarded up rather than be Italian?  Really?  If someone wanted to reopen The Homestead as what it used to be, dontcha think they would have shown up by now?  

    • Dawsonct September 12, 2018 (1:56 pm)

      Italy, as with any other geographically diverse country or region, has an almost uncountable number of culinary traditions. There is no monolithic Italian cuisine.My guess is this won’t be your red-checkered tablecloth type of Italian. More of a world-class destination restaurant that W. Seattleite usually complain about going to other neighborhoods.—Want some fried chicken? Maono ought to serve the purpose.

  • Morgan September 10, 2018 (9:00 pm)

    Just about th most exciting thing I’ve ever read on the blog!

  • Tony S September 10, 2018 (9:32 pm)

    If only it was pizza. We need some more pizza here on the westside.    Perhaps they’ll have some on their menu.

  • Keith September 10, 2018 (10:14 pm)

    Il Corvo is not just any Italian.  It is some of the best in the city.   There is plenty of Italian food in this city, but very few of this caliber.   If Nido is as good as Corvo, then it will be a prize to have it in West Seattle.  Especially in Alki where there are very few really good restaurants.  The owners seem to be very considerate of the location’s history and will probably create a beautiful rustic setting.

  • Beth September 10, 2018 (10:22 pm)

    II Corvo is AMAZING!  So excited to have Mike and Victoria in West Seattle.  We are so lucky!  

  • AIDM September 10, 2018 (10:42 pm)

    Il Corvo is the best pasta in Seattle and now the Westside gets a full service restaurant from the same chef. Fantastic news!

  • KBear September 10, 2018 (10:46 pm)

    Hey, Nancy and Valerie, restaurants and (fire-damaged) historic buildings are SUPER EASY! You are SO RIGHT to be indignant about this! They are just carelessly ruining your precious memories of Alki Homestead. How dare they change the menu?!

  • Sam-c September 11, 2018 (6:00 am)

    Yes!!!!!! So excited. The food will be amazing.  We love Il Corvo.  Happy the building will be restored and put to good use.a gem within a gem.

  • Gina September 11, 2018 (7:18 am)

    What cuisine would “seem right” in a lot cabin near a beach? Clam nectar and  salt pork?

  • David September 11, 2018 (7:31 am)

    The MOST important thing isn’t what TYPE of food is served at the restaurant.  Don’t get me wrong, I have a place in my heart for the old Homestead.  It wasn’t the most spectacular food, but it was GOOD, and it was a GREAT location/atmosphere mostly.  The IMPORTANT thing is the building isn’t being torn down and replaced by more 4 unit townhouses (like EVERY OTHER LOT in West Seattle).  The fact that the building STILL stands, will STILL operate as a public space (restaurant) and the old Homestead sign will be restored, THAT is what is important.  I wish the new restaurant well, but it may succeed wonderfully,or fail and be replaced by another.  But the POINT is the building has been restored, it still exists, and will be in use.  That’s what we should all be thankful for and give a round of applause to everyone who fought to keep this structure in use (which wasn’t easy).

  • Pamela September 11, 2018 (7:51 am)

    Gotta say I’ve missed the fried chicken and gravy for ten years myself ( ! ) BUT a good Italian restaurant is not going to just have pasta with a dollop of red sauce, I’m betting it will have something for everyone.  I haven’t looked at their menu but seems locals who have commented are excited and that’s a bandwagon I’m happy to join.  

    • chemist September 11, 2018 (10:40 am)

      I’d love a good veal saltimbocca and some polenta, so yay.

  • Tony September 11, 2018 (7:59 am)

    This is huge news for WS. If you haven’t eaten at Il Corvo in pioneer square head down there for lunch to get a small taste of what it sounds like we have in store for us (be prepared to wait in line). This is going to be a “destination” eatery with people from around the city coming to enjoy and I for 1 am very happy to have it located in our back yard. 

  • WSB September 11, 2018 (9:28 am)

    Check back for a followup later today – we just talked with Chef Mike Easton (who lives in West Seattle) to find out more beyond the news release published above. – TR

  • Scott September 11, 2018 (10:12 am)

    If it’s not Fried Chicken then its wrong. Total slap in the face of West Seattle.

    • KM September 11, 2018 (5:27 pm)

      Which part of WS is the nose? Admiral? Wondering where I should throw punches.

    • West Seattle since 1979 September 11, 2018 (8:14 pm)

      Don’t try to speak for all of us! Some of us are happy about it!

  • SuperAwesome September 11, 2018 (10:14 am)

    Yay!  Very excited to hear this news.  As an Alki local I hope to frequent the “intimate front bar” really often!

  • MD September 11, 2018 (10:22 am)

    You had me at Italian, but once I looked at their website and saw they serve only pasta and nothing else, I went off the idea.

    • West Seattle since 1979 September 11, 2018 (10:34 am)

      “The menu at Il Nido will be absolutely Italian, driven by market produce. “I really like to create a menu that makes vegetables truly shine,” says Easton. It’ll also be a place that will allow Easton and his crew the opportunity to create a bit more of the delicate, intensive handmade pastas that they just haven’t had time to make. “You don’t see tortelli or ravioli on the menu at Il Corvo very often because it would take an army of people to make enough to put it on as a lunch special. Thankfully, we’re so busy, we don’t have the time to do that.” ‘

    • KBear September 11, 2018 (11:47 am)

      MD, if you mean the menu on the web site for Il Corvo PASTA Ristorante, what did you expect to see? It is a PASTA restaurant. But if you read the article (did you?) you would know that the menu at Il Nido will be different from Il Corvo. So maybe save your negative review until you know what you’re talking about.

      • MD September 13, 2018 (10:25 am)

        Hey kbear, I looked at most of the 1400 photos on Yelp and read the reviews, I still see only pasta. Maybe you should do your homework before throwing aspersions at me?

    • West Seattle since 1979 September 11, 2018 (12:00 pm)

      MD, Il Corvo is near where I work.  It’s strictly a lunch place that serves a different pasta dish every day.  They’re only open during lunch hours, they have a very small space, so they’re very limited in what they can do.  It’s basically a hole in the wall, but their food is excellent and very popular (long lines).  This is a large space where they can branch out and do other things than pasta.  

  • Whocares September 11, 2018 (11:43 am)

    It was a home, and then an inn for 45 years before it was a restaurant- so, really, the beauty of the building is that is still stands, and has had many different roles. It’s ok for it to change theme and move forward with the times, while still reminding us of the past .. And I guess anyone that wanted to restart alki homestead fried chicken has had ample opportunity to do so!

  • Katy206 September 11, 2018 (12:11 pm)

    For those of you who miss it, Endolyne Joe’s has a delicious Sunday Night fried chicken dinner (served family style). I am delighted by this news! So glad to have another great restaurant in a beautiful, historic building that shouldn’t be sitting empty. Yay for West Seattle!!!

  • SaraB September 11, 2018 (12:43 pm)

    LOL!  Thank you.  My question exactly.  Fried chicken was yummy, but nothing gold can stay, as Robert Frost taught us.  And Il Corvo is AMAZING food.  I’m super excited – this will enrich West Seattle!

  • AS September 11, 2018 (12:49 pm)

    We are pinching ourselves with this dream come true.  My birthday present some years has been a lunch date with my husband at Il Corvo because we are usually just too busy at work to make our way there!

  • Elizagrace September 11, 2018 (1:28 pm)

    Cheering on this WS family as they branch their super successful lunch only establishment to include an increased menu, dinner and brunch!! I am so freaking excited and cannot wait to put the open date on my calendar – I will be there with a belly ready to fill with some of the best food in a historic space. Woo hoo!!

  • localizer September 11, 2018 (2:50 pm)

    For those who may not know, Mike Easton was a James Beard Best Chef finalist in 2016. Il Corvo has super long lines for a reason, and it’s just amazing what they do with simplicity and care. We will be very lucky to have this restaurant.

  • Whaat...Not a Pizza place? September 11, 2018 (2:58 pm)

    Oh man, you mean it is not going to be another pizza place, dang.  :)

  • biankat September 11, 2018 (3:34 pm)


  • Bobelew September 11, 2018 (5:34 pm)

    Been waiting for 10 years for another great Chicken Dinner Restaurant to return. You can find all kinds of Italian Restaurants anywhere, but there are no great Chicken Dinners available that can equal what was here before. It just doesn’t seem right! 

  • glenda September 11, 2018 (7:16 pm)

    Okay, the comments here are cracking me up.  “What’s next, Endolyne Joes?” (which isn’t some homespun local place – it’s part of the neighborhood chain-ish restaurants owned by Chow Foods that has similar spots all over the city).  “An Italian Restaurant, ugh!!!” (Sorry Il Corvo is one of the BEST and totally local restaurants for handmade pasta guys, there’s a reason theres a line out the door).  “The Homestead has lost it’s soul”  It’s been boarded up for 10 years?  Look.  I’ve was born and raised here – lived in West Seattle over 40 years.  So I get it.  I get watching this place change.  I’ve also seen a LOT of things improve over the years if we can be honest about it for a minute.  I remember when we had VERY few good restaurants to choose from.  And lots of dusty clothing stores, and medical supply places. Can we just for once be happy for a piece of unadulterated good news? An historic building is being saved.  One of the best most coveted restaurants in town will be opening up in it.  THIS IS ALL GOOD NEWS!!!! Perspective!

    • West Seattle since 1979 September 11, 2018 (8:20 pm)

      I know! Why can’t an Italian restaurant have soul? I don’t get it. It’s one thing for someone to say they’re disappointed because they liked the chicken dinners and hoped they’d reopen it as it was. But to act like it’s a terrible thing for West Seattle, or a slap in the face, or that it’s soulless—I’m sorry, I don’t get it at all. 

  • Deb September 11, 2018 (7:23 pm)

    I’ve seen the lines of folks patiently waiting – rain or shine – outside of the James Street Il Corvo. It never ceases to amaze me that SO many people would stand in line THAT long for their lunch. Now I’ll get to try it without leaving the island. 

  • Scott September 11, 2018 (7:51 pm)

    As long as they don’t have ‘wild boar shank’  as the special every night I’ll be happy.   Looking very forward to the Homestead reopening no matter what the cuisine!

  • Mark September 11, 2018 (8:05 pm)

    Well I can’t wait for the Neon to be put back.  I missed seeing it from my place.   As for the food let’s welcome them and give it a try.  

  • Jeannie September 11, 2018 (10:53 pm)

    OMG! This is the most exciting news I’ve ever read in my entire life! Am I dreaming? Could it be true?  O, my heart is pounding,  my mouth is watering at the very thought! This will change my life!But wait…Will they have gluten-free, salt-free, paleo-friendly, keto-diet-friendly options? Please please say yes!OK, seriously, this is good news, and I’ll be sure to give it a try. But, honestly, considering all the raves Il Corvo gets, I thought it was kind of a letdown. They also had a cute little retail place in Pioneer Square – I think it was short-lived. The pasta was fresh but way overpriced. For pasta at home, I’ll stick with Lagano or DeLaurenti. 

  • JC September 12, 2018 (9:59 am)

    The last time I dined at the dear old Homestead the chicken was so salty it was nearly inedible, the vegetables were  desperately overcooked, and the beloved gravy tasteless except for the aforementioned salt. There was not much quality there to be mourned. 

  • Charles September 12, 2018 (12:47 pm)

    Glad the building will be saved and that new business will grace its timbers.  The opportunity for a sophisticated but approachable Italian restaurant wins me over, though I will forever miss the relaxed atmosphere when devouring fried chick and biscuits with grape jelly.  I say “neato” to “Nido.”  Best of continued success to the new proprietors!

  • Jennifer September 12, 2018 (1:29 pm)

    Please have some vegan options that aren’t a “green salad” and I’m there!

  • Dawsonct September 12, 2018 (2:07 pm)

    Wondering where folks got the idea that Italian cuisine was one single dietary tradition? Or only worthy of street food status?This is the best news in W. Seattle’s culinary scene in years.Plenty of places in W. Seattle alone to get great fried chicken. Masterfully created Italian cuisine is another thing entirely.

  • Mark September 13, 2018 (8:13 pm)

    Fresh Pasta at Alki Beach, Welcome Welcome Welcome!!!

  • JJA September 14, 2018 (2:08 pm)

    I am genuinely baffled by complaints that the building will not be housing the same restaurant that closed ten years ago.   Huh??   You understand that the restaurant is a tenant, right?  I doubt that a mob of fried chicken restaurateurs were beating down the door to rent the space.   The owner has preserved an amazing building that moldered in the weeds for a decade, then landed an incredibly accomplished chef to occupy it.  And still people find a way to complain.  Arrrgh.  Welcome, Il Nido; we are so happy to have you in the neighborhood!!   

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