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June 9, 2009 at 11:42 AM

Serafina to annex Venetian-inspired cicchetti bar

It’s been nearly 20 years since Susan Kaufman introduced Seattle to Eastlake’s sexy little osteria and enoteca, Serafina. Here, every night’s a party, and for some, the scenery in the bar is as appealing as the secluded courtyard’s lush greenery.

The bar at Serafina: this place drives me to drink.

Something different this way comes.

If you spend much time in that courtyard — accessible off the dining room or via a beautifully landscaped outdoor stairway — you may be familiar with a view of the adjacent George Suyama-designed building. Presently the offices of Hoshide Williams Architects, that building is soon to be transformed into a Venetian-inspired cicchetti bar whose name is still under negotiation. ETA: September.

You’re looking at it: Serafina’s new cicchetti bar, viewed from the courtyard

Front door access to the cicchetti though here.

Kaufman’s keen on naming the addition Serafina Cicchetti, but she’s been getting grief about the potential mispronounciation. “I may change it if I get enough resistance,” she says, noting the ciccheti bar (say chi-KET-ee) is to Venice what the tapas bar is to Spain: with the focus on the bar. “We won’t be having any fussy lollipop foie gras, or the one scallop,” she says. And while the menu is in the development stage, we can expect “real food — maybe sausages on a plate, housemade salumi, something wrapped, fried, roasted, marinated, clams, greens, little pizzetti. We’ll focus around a wood-fired oven and whatever comes from the Mediterranean, from tapas to mezze.”

Kaufman became sole owner of the two properties two weeks ago. Prior to that, she’d been in a real estate partnership with the present occupants, who moved in over a decade ago when Suyama moved out. “We were partners in both buildings because it was one parcel. I’ve been wanting to buy it for a long time,” she says.

Unlike the European charm affixed to Serafina — a classic brick building, the cicchetti’s future home is far more modern.

Serafina, lighting up the corner of Eastlake Avenue East and Boston Street

“With a slightly Northwest/Asian look to it, it’s beautiful, simple and clean,” Kaufman says.

“I want the cicchetti to look different, but tie-in to Serafina as well — maybe through color and fabric and lighting.” Plans call for 45 seats downstairs and another 45 on the mezzanine level. Inside the entrance we’ll find an open kitchen to the left. “It has all these little rooms and a gorgeous view of the lake.”

Today it’s an architect’s domain, soon an open kitchen.

A mezzanine, for private dining with a view.

The dual-story building will provide additional work-space for executive chef Dylan Giordan and his crew — and they’re beside themselves over the new project, says their boss. “Dylan has three sous-chefs, and they’re all working on this. When I showed them the garages downstairs, they were so excited. This will give us so much needed space.”

Nice view — of the lake, the rear alley and those garages.

The design for the cicchetti bar will be the provenance of architect Jay Deguchi — who once worked in the building with his business-partner, Suyama. “We’re going forward with the permitting now, and we’ll try to build as much as we can off-site, stage it and bring it in,” Kaufman says.

Susan Kaufman, celebrating with a glass of rosso

Meanwhile, adds the Brooklyn native and longtime Eastlake resident, “I just did something I’ve wanted to do forever” — formed a community council of customers and other local-folk. “Some are professors, teachers, foodies, people from different walks of life. And one of the things on the agenda” — for next week’s meeting — “is for them to help us develop the space.”

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