FOLLOWUP: Brian Clevenger’s second West Seattle Junction restaurant Haymaker is about to open

(Photos courtesy Haymaker)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

If you wonder whether Chef Brian Clevenger‘s new West Seattle Junction restaurant Haymaker might be too fancy for you, consider this:

One of the menu items he’s most excited about is a burger.

It’ll be on the Haymaker happy-hour menu – a “BIG” happy-hour menu, he notes – with two happy hours every day of the week, 5-6 pm and 9-10 pm.

Haymaker officially opens Monday (after friends-and-family and limited-soft-open nights this weekend), in the 4706 California SW space that briefly held Vine & Spoon. We noted Clevenger’s name on a liquor-license application for the space in May; a month later, details were announced.

Clevenger is not only a West Seattle resident, he already has a presence in the local restaurant scene, having opened Raccolto barely two blocks north in fall 2016.

So what will be the biggest difference between the two?

Raccolto is “heavy on pasta, light on protein,” while Haymaker will be “heavier on protein, lighter on pasta.” Also, it won’t be focused on “Italian-inspired” dishes. (Besides that happy-hour burger, he also mentions steak and fries, and a roasted half-duck.)

But Clevenger stresses that Haymaker will still be strong with “what we know” – vegetables, seafood. It’s his fifth restaurant; his three outside West Seattle are Vendemmia, East Anchor Seafood (a market as well as dine-in venue), and Le Messe.

As we talked in Haymaker’s remodeled space, it bustled with pre-opening activity – ingredient deliveries coming through the door, trays of fresh-made pasta visible near the kitchen entrance. Clevenger admits that getting ready to open a new restaurant can be “terrifying,” as you wait to see “if the neighborhood will support it” – and ultimately, he says, Haymaker is intended to be “a neighborhood restaurant,” for the neighborhood he has long loved.

Starting Monday, Haymaker will be open 5-10 pm for dinner, reservations accepted but not required. (Clevenger notes that the 57-seat restaurant can accommodate “larger parties,” too.) He’s hoping to add weekend brunch after the first month or so.

20 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: Brian Clevenger's second West Seattle Junction restaurant Haymaker is about to open"

  • Greystreet August 2, 2019 (3:38 pm)

    Glad to see someone occupying the space! And have heard rave reviews about Raccolto, my only “huh?” Moment are the two “Happy hours” that are only an hour long each, I know there are limits from the WSLCB on when HH can occur and how often but maybe one longer one would serve customers better, an hour goes by super quick where a busy door and table waits will make it quite difficult to grab something at HH price…nonetheless excited to check it out, such a great space! 

  • Marge E. August 2, 2019 (3:40 pm)

     I would be more impressed  if the stars were vegetables. anyone can make a great burger. it isn’t that hard.

    • Scott Collins August 5, 2019 (10:16 am)

      Yes, but burgers are more delicious than vegetables:)

  • Will August 2, 2019 (4:32 pm)

    I am very anxious to try the new restaurant. Raccolto is a favorite of ours and has never disappointed, and if the same dedication to perfect and flavorful food is similar, Haymaker will be a bit. And no, not everyone can make a great burger. There are plenty just so-so ones out there. I will have to try theirs as well.

  • MD August 2, 2019 (5:19 pm)

     I disagree Marge,  not everyone can make a great burger. If you believe that, I can only assume you don’t eat out often and order a  burger. Either way I’m excited to have another awesome business with west Seattle’s best interest at heart to open in the junction. 

  • Adrien August 2, 2019 (6:13 pm)

    Marge – the burger is not the star, no need to fret. It’s very reason for being mentioned, and the article states why, is due to all the earlier fretting about whether Haymaker would be affordable. It is included to show that Haymaker can be affordable, at least during Happy Hours, and to respond to unnecessary criticism before the restaurant even opened. Now they will probably have to respond again, because reading comprehension is a lost art. 

  • Swede. August 2, 2019 (7:35 pm)

    Will definitely go check this place out! And contrary to the glas half empty people I like the one hour HH. It’s not called ‘Happy HourS’ is it? Masikos only have a 57 minute HH. 

    • Katrina August 3, 2019 (9:38 am)

      Unfortunately many working people can’t make a 5pm happy hour that ends at 6 especially if you work outside of West Seattle. I guess theirs is only going to be for the locals. 

      • Calires August 5, 2019 (4:25 am)

        Most happy hours end at 6 p.m.  Many are longer than an hour because they start earlier, but I can’t think of a happy hour anywhere in Seattle that ends after 6.

        • ET August 5, 2019 (4:13 pm)

          yup. happy hour ends at 6 – it’s to try to grab folks who skip out of work early, to try to get more business in an otherwise slow time of the day. if you can’t leave work on time, come in for the later one. 

  • KP August 3, 2019 (10:14 am)

    Have always loved Raccolto and can’t wait to try Haymaker.  Good luck, Brian – I hope Haymaker is a success for you and for the neighborhood.  

  • arbora August 3, 2019 (11:38 am)

    The menu and reservation links aren’t working on the website. I called to make a reservation, but the number was not to the restaurant.

  • AT August 3, 2019 (6:45 pm)

    I appreciate the practicality of hard, easy to clean surfaces, but it looks like it’ll be super loud.  That’ll help it not feel too fancy.

  • WGA August 3, 2019 (9:44 pm)

    Sorry, but I don’t understand what the aversion is to “Fancy” restaurants.In my thinking the only really fancy restaurant in the area is Canlis. There are a number of great and awesome restaurants that are not quite in that pedigree (jackets required).I would really like to see dining establishments in the same class as Joule, Sitka and Spruce, Tilth, Le Pichet, etc. make their way to the Junction or Admiral.With the influx of apartment and condo dweller in the past 10 years around the Junction and environs, there should be a market for a couple of these type of new restaurants.–I have to agree that loud restaurants have to tame it. It’s supposed to increase turnover (less lingering I guess) and liquor sales, but the noise levels are extreme and, if nothing else, over time can be harmful to the wait staff.

  • Mymamatoldme August 4, 2019 (4:43 pm)

    First off, super freaking congrats, Brian! Second off, friends, have you ever heard the saying, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all?” I wholeheartedly believe in free and truthful speech, but let’s have a bit of empathy, humanity, and compassion.Brian and his crew aren’t coming into your home/place of work/life’s passion and criticizing every last detail. If you don’t like it, that’s okay, there are hundreds of other places you can go…if you do, support him! Simple as that! If you have true constructive feedback, send him a personal email, I’m sure he’d appreciate that. Thanks for taking a step step back and walking in someone else’s shoes. Also, please try running multiple restaurants and tell me how that goes…heck, try working the line for a week in any of his establishments, then manage them, and do the books, and appease everyone’s schedule, oh, and don’t forget to not poison anyone and do your books in between!Courtesy, compassion, and common sense go a long way in this world. Be a good human. No day but today to begin!✨ 💕 🙌🏻

    • Nolan August 5, 2019 (9:53 am)

      Counterpoint: doing business in the public sphere means that your business is public interest, which means the public will talk about it. Don’t tell other people that public topics are off limits because you, personally, don’t like the tone.

    • Maria August 6, 2019 (2:19 pm)

      Did I miss something that said anything bad about the proprietor?    Comment boards are for commenting.   I see opinions, desires, and discussions above.  That is always better for business marketing than just a bunch of benign congratulations.   (Don’t ever read Yelp if this page elicits such a reaction.)

  • Bob August 5, 2019 (6:54 am)

    Thank you  Mymamatoldme…perfectly said. I wish many would take heed to your comments. 

  • dhg August 5, 2019 (10:01 am)

    Peeking through the windows last Friday, what I saw was a beautiful makeover to the space.  They’ve warmed the glass and steel interior with painted wood. Well done!    

  • MCM August 5, 2019 (8:17 pm)

    I sure hope you can get in without a reservation.  We have tried a few times to go to his other restaurant, each time there were 2 or 3 tables being used, and we were told they were booked until 9.  Seriously?  Ever time we go bye it is almost empty!  Hopefully they will let people in to the new restaurant.

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