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December 19, 2008 at 4:00 PM

Linda and Ericka’s Excellent Adventure: Oddfellows cafe + bar opens today

photo: Jim Bates/The Seattle Times

Here’s way more than you need to know about the goings on at the hot new ticket in the old Odd Fellows hall — straight from its publicist’s “mouth.” Baring unforeseen catastrophe, Oddfellows cafe + bar will open right this very minute:

The Pike Pine Triangle has a new addition, Oddfellows cafe + bar, in the historic and newly renovated 1908 OddFellows Building on Capitol Hill, opens today at 4pm. Oddfellows cafe + bar is a joint venture between well-known restaurateur/bar maven, Linda Derschang and chef Ericka Burke of the beloved Volunteer Park Cafe.

Due to the heavy snowfall deliveries have been delayed on some products. Guests should expect Oddfellows to be in soft-opening mode throughout the weekend.

“We didn’t get all our orders,” says Derschang, “but we really wanted to open like promised and not disappoint anybody. There has been so much support and excitement about our opening, and we really appreciate that!”

“We’ll have sandwiches, salads, wine, beer, limited cocktails, and a few surprises available tonight,” says Burke. “Guests have to think of it as a fun snow adventure!”

Oddfellows cafe + bar occupies the ground floor space at 1525 10th Avenue between Pike and Pine. This 2500 square foot space boasts 18-foot coffered ceilings, well-worn dance studio floors, exposed brick walls, a charming enclosed patio, large east-facing windows that open to the street, and free WiFi — plus a lot of outlets to plug in laptops.

“We are an all day, all night neighborhood meeting place,” says Derschang. “We want people to relax and really enjoy this beautiful space.”

The interior features vintage industrial lights, salvaged wood shelves, a marble topped bar, vintage bar stools, farmhouse tables and benches, church pews salvaged from St. Joseph on Capitol Hill, old black and white photographs of the original Odd Fellows, and an open kitchen with eating bar.

“This space has a great vibe,” says Burke, “it seems like it has always been here.”

Oddfellows cafe + bar will be open daily from 7am to 2am, with food available until midnight. Following the successful model of Volunteer Park Cafe, this 80-plus seat cafe will offer a selection of housemade pastries and a light breakfast menu in the mornings that includes Homemade Oatmeal with Brown Sugar & Cream ($6), a Breakfast Panini, Poached Eggs, Bacon, Tomato, Smoked Cheddar, & Gruyere ($8), Mascarpone & Pear stuffed Brioche French Toast ($8), and Baked Eggs with Ham & Spinach ($8).

Beginning at 11am and available until 12am, the cafe will offer a selection of sandwiches and hearty salads that can be ordered at the counter to eat in-house or grabbed to go. Look for items like, a Three Cheese & Onion Jam Panini ($6), a Braised Pulled Pork Sandwich ($8), French Dip Sandwich, Roast Beef with Horseradish & Au Jus ($8), a PB & J Panini ($5), Chicken Panzanella with Arugula, Bacon, Avocado, Tomato & Blue Cheese ($9), Roasted Beets & Pear with Chevre, Hazelnuts & Greens ($8), Baby Spinach with Faro, Roasted Winter Squash, Garbanzo Bean & Tahini Dressing ($8) a Cheese Plate with Nuts, Fruit & Crostini ($10), The Cutting Board, Cured Meats with Mustard ($12), Rillettes with Crostini($8), and Shepherds Pie ($9).

Table service will begin at 5pm and include a seasonal menu of simple, rustic dishes and daily specials such as Mac & Cheese ($5), Crispy Pork Nuggets ($5), Braised Pork Shank with French Lentils & Creamed Cabbage ($15), Steak with Blue Cheese, Braised Onion & Arugula ($14), Beef Stew ($12), and Rotisserie Chicken ($14).

“Our goal is to provide the growing neighborhood with the perfect place to hangout,” says Derschang. “Come in for coffee and a pastry in the morning, swing by to grab a sandwich for lunch, meet friends for a late afternoon snack, have dinner and a bottle of wine, or late night drinks.”

Burke, who will split her time between Oddfellows and Volunteer Park Cafe, has hired Ben Knutsen to take on chef de cuisine duties at Oddfellows. Knutsen, a graduate of the Western Culinary Institute in Portland, Oregon is a recent transplant to Seattle. He spent the past three months as sous chef at Opal on Queen Anne Hill after a long stint as sous chef at The Heathman Restaurant & Bar in Portland. Sean Paradise hails from Serious Pie and will take on sous chef duties at Oddfellows.

Oddfellows has a full bar that highlights scratch cocktails inspired by the classics such as The Oddfellow (Bourbon, Cointreau, Lemon, Blood Orange Bitters), Bentley (Calvados, Dubbonnet), Rum Club (Goslings, Lime, Grenadine, Egg White, Fresh-Grated Nutmeg), and The Last Word (Gin, Green Chartreuse, Maraschino Liqueur, Lime) all for $8. Oddfellows offer a selection of beers in the bottle and can including, PBR Tall Boy ($2.5), New Castle ($4), Boddingtons ($5), and Weihenstephaner ($7). Tap beer is offered by the pint ($2.5 – $5) or imperial ($4 – $7) and includes Olympia, Manny’s Pale Ale, Rogue Dead Guy Ale, Okocim, Wittekerke, and Abbey Leffe. An eclectic collection of moderately-priced old and new world wines are available to enjoy in-house by the glass, flask, or bottle. A selection of bottles is also available to take home.

Within the cafe there is an espresso counter that serves Stumptown coffee and espresso, a selection of old-school candies and gum, and a bakery case filled with a rotating selection of sweets conceptualized by Heather Earnhardt of the Volunteer Park Cafe. Look for items like Butterscotch Oaties ($1.75), Chocolate Whopper Cookies ($1.75), Apple Jack Cupcakes ($3.50), and Peanut Butter & Jelly Cupcakes ($3.50). A selection of grab-and-go sandwiches will be available by 8am every morning. Oddfellows accepts reservations for parties of six or more. For reservations, call (206) 325-0807. For more information, visit www.oddfellowscafe.com.

Linda Derschang has always been a little ahead of her time, a pioneer of sorts. Her sense of style and design aesthetic uniquely played out in each one of her ventures over the past 15 years. Whether nightclub, bar, or restaurant, each venue sets a tone, inspires a mood, and gives the city exactly what it didn’t know it’s been missing. Currently, Derschang owns four establishments in Seattle, Linda’s Tavern, Rob Roy (formally Viceroy), King’s Hardware, and Smith.

Located among the elegant homes of Seattle’s North Capitol Hill, chef Ericka Burke’s Volunteer Park Cafe (VPC) is the ideal neighborhood-meeting place. With mismatched vintage chairs, throw pillows tossed along banquets, and a communal table running the length of the inviting sunlit room — it’s the perfect place to spend time. The food is delicious home-style goodness, house made pastries, savory and sweet, and a selection of fresh salads, soups, and sandwiches provide daytime provisions ordered from friendly faces behind the counter. As the light dims and the candles are lit, table service begins and guests cozy in for rustic pizzas and ever-changing seasonal offerings like Braised Short Ribs, the ever-popular Pot of Gold (roasted baby pumpkin filled with fontina polenta, roasted mushrooms & a creamy rosemary sauce), or the heavenly Daily Pot Pie. VPC offers a generous selection of boutique wines by the glass and bottles of wine can be enjoyed at the cafe or taken to go. VPC is open Tuesday — Friday from 7am — 4:30pm, weekends from 8am — 4:30pm, and dinner is served Tuesday — Saturday from 5:30pm — 9pm. For more information, call (206) 328-3155 or visit www.alwaysfreshgoodness.com.

Volunteer Park Cafe is located at 1501 17th Avenue East (at Galer) in Seattle, Washington.

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