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All You Can Eat

Trend-setting restaurants, Northwest cookbooks, local food news and the people who make them happen.

September 11, 2012 at 6:00 AM

Italian favorite Volterra heads east

VolterraExterior1.JPG

A walkable neighborhood. A close-knit community. A farmers market right nearby.

Sounds like Ballard, where Don Curtiss and Michelle Quisenberry opened Volterra restaurant to critical acclaim in 2005. Actually, though, it’s Kirkland, where the husband-and-wife team cut the ribbon Monday on a new 2,500-square-foot branch of the Italian favorite, decked out with art that includes Chihuly drawings and a Swarovski crystal chandelier. (Hey, Rachael Ray! You’ll have to pay another visit.)

Volterra 2.0, at 121 Kirkland Ave., came about because the Ballard original had large numbers of Eastside fans who said they’d come more often if only it was easier to reach. “The barrier to getting to Ballard from the Eastside has gotten a little harder every year,” Quisenberry said. Between the 520 bridge toll and Ballard’s ever-worsening parking, the opening seemed an “obvious” fit when they were ready to expand and the economy “started turning around.”

Kirkland had a similar feel to their home base, she said. The food should be the same in both locations, and the dining rooms have a similar feel, though Quisenberry calls Kirkland “the sophisticated older sister” in a modern building. Downsides: No big outdoor patio and no private room. Advantages? An open kitchen with a chef’s counter, and 25 free parking spots under the building.

Curtiss said he and Volterra’s chef de cuisine Andrew Gribas “basically are going to be back and forth” between the two locations. Gribas has been on the team since six months after the original location opened, and most other crucial staff members have also been around for years. Quisenberry and Curtiss will also tag-team between the two branches, so that each location will have a familiar face.

When will they ever see each other?

“We’ll meet every night at 10,” Curtiss joked. “We’re doing our part for the 520 bridge.”

Photo courtesy of Volterra

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