It's been a month of newsworthy moves. First we heard that bar legend Murray Stenson was leaving his longtime bartending home, Zig Zag, to tend bar at RN74.
Now comes news that Patric Gabre-Kidan--the man who put the Book Bindery together, who talked chef Shaun McCrain into moving to Seattle, and who managed front-of-the-house for owners Sumi and Mike Almquist--has suddenly left the lauded restaurant.
Gabre-Kidan first made a name for himself as co-owner of three restaurants with Ethan Stowell; he helped to design and open Tavolata, How to Cook a Wolf and Anchovies & Olives. He then parted ways with Stowell in early 2010.
It was no surprise that he was quickly snatched up by the Almquists, who paid Gabre-Kidan to design and open Book Bindery. "They needed a little more help, not being restaurant folk, so I agreed to stay on as GM and get the place open and running. I called (chef) Shaun McCrain and got him to come on as chef (he’s awesome) and did all the other stuff you need to do like websites, logos, menu designs etc."
Gabre-Kidan tells me he's pursuing his design career now, as that's where his heart is. "My addiction is building and opening restaurants," he told me. "And I had a really good run with Tavolata, How to Cook a Wolf, Anchovies & Olives and Book Bindery."
Gabre-Kidan worked with Method Construction on every detail of the Book Bindery (the company also worked with Gabre-Kidan on the buildout and design of Anchovies & Olives). "I could order light fixtures off the shelf or go pick some up at IKEA, but where’s the challenge in that? The most proud I have been is with the results of Book Bindery. Every square inch of that place was custom. From the lighting to the upholstered banquette to the kitchen pass. I was happier than a pig in shit building that place."
It looks like he's moving in the right direction: he's already been hired on at Method Construction. Asked if he'd be moonlighting anywhere, he told me that at this point he wouldn't be, and that he'd miss the "hosting a dinner party every night" aspect of restaurant life. But he's a talented designer, and I, for one, can't wait to see what he puts together next.