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May 20, 2014 at 10:38 AM

Big changes for Lark restaurant & chef John Sundstrom

John Sundstrom file photo by John Lok/The Seattle Times

John Sundstrom file photo by John Lok/The Seattle Times

For 11 years, Lark restaurant has been a Seattle standout, “a celebration of fine food, shared with friends and defined by a sense of place.”

That part’s likely to stay the same. But most other things are changing, as lauded chef-owner John Sundstrom and his business partners, wife J.M. Enos and general manager Kelly Ronan, prepare to move Lark to a new location and add on three new businesses.

Just a few days after Ruth Reichl wrote how she had “always loved Lark for its simplicity, seasonality and bold flavors,” Sundstrom announced that the restaurant is scheduled to move a few blocks away by fall of 2014, to an expanded space (with accordingly expanded menu) in the newly renovated Central Agency Building at 952 E. Seneca St.

Sundstrom called the plans “Lark, grown up,” and described it in a press release as “echoing the original Lark’s design with flowing curtains and soft lighting, plus 25-foot ceilings.” It will have 54 dining room seats and a bar area with 22 seats.

They’ll also operate a new restaurant on the Central Agency mezzanine called Bitter/Raw, centered on a raw bar and charcuterie and a selection of amaro and aperitifs (that’s the ‘bitter.’) It’ll be open early afternoon through happy hours and late-night dining. Then, off the building’s main entrance at 1201 10th Ave., look for Slab Sandwich & Pie, offering slab pie, juice and espresso, “simple sandwiches” and takeout items including wine and flowers.

The building’s basement will have an events space for private dinners, receptions, wine tastings, and such.

All that, and covered parking available across the street.

It’s a huge move for the team, who, except for a brief ahead-of-its-time bar next door, had stuck with a single flagship restaurant, what had been “a blueprint for the new wave of Seattle’s chef-owned restaurants,” when nearly every other talented chef in town began opening multiple outlets. Plenty of their energy over the past few years had gone into an award-winning cookbook and app, one Sundstrom crowd-funded and self-published, calling himself “a pretty small player” in the restaurant world. Judging by talent and influence, we never would have described him that way. After this move, we doubt he’ll be able to say it himself.

Comments | Topics: J.M. Enos, John Sundstrom, Kelly Ronan

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