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Eden Hill Provisions

Round Two on Queen Anne, part 1

When Chef Maximillian and Jennifer Petty opened their first restaurant on Queen Anne in 2015, Eden Hill, they created an atmosphere and menu that would appeal to those wanting either a nice casual or sophisticated experience. What happened next was not only a surprise but led to the opening in 2019 of Eden Hill Provisions.

Eden Hill opened in late September with an a la carte menu that allowed Chef Max to go with his fun, experimental side that avoided labeling. Seasonal dishes could be eaten on their own or guests could put together their own tasting menu. In October, they responded to guests saying, "don't make me pick!" by offering a pre-set, $55 five-course tasting menu. The first day, 90% of the tables chose the tasting menu. "From then on, all the reviews said, 'if you go, you have to do the tasting menu.' In 2016, Max was a James Beard semifinalist for Restaurant & Chef and Rising Star Chef of the Year," recalls Jennifer. "Those things led Eden Hill to pick a direction and it became a tasting-menu-only spot." Adds Max, "We opened one way, but it just kept getting fancier as we responded to what guests wanted. We tried to get families in with brunch, but it didn't work in the small space. Half of me was still creating dishes that were more like something I'd eat at home or take to parties or make for kids."

Opening oyster plate at Eden Hill

Because Eden Hill was Chef's platform for doing "fancy" food, he started thinking about finding a way to use the dishes he'd created that didn't fit Eden Hill's style. When he and Jennifer started their family, they took another turn toward "simple" food. "Simple" is not really a term applied to Max's cooking. As straight-forward as a dish may seem, there is a great deal of intention and prep applied. When Cupcake Royale decided to leave their Queen Anne location just down the street from Eden Hill, Max and Jennifer took the spot to bring to life the more casual side of their restaurant.

Since having kids, they haven't found a good place on the hill to get a cocktail for them and food for the kids in a comfortable atmosphere for all. "We wanted to offer a menu that kids and picky adults would enjoy, and others could find more inventive dishes," explains Jennifer. Max adds, "We're the same as other parents. When we're out with the kids, we really don't care what's behind the scene. You just want to make sure the kids like it. So even though I approach food the same way and put the same amount of thought and work into the dishes, no one needs to think about that as they eat."

Wanting food to be familiar and approachable, they worked a long time to get the burger, Big Max, just right. They then turned their attention to chicken nuggets. "It took a long time to get it right. I wanted to know that the nuggets could sit cold for 30 minutes and have the same crunch as when they were just cooked. We emulsify them in chicken fat. We've changed what we dredge in, using more of a tempura-style, like we do for wings. It's a lot of prep, but we serve them in a paper box with fries for kids. It reminds people of McDonald's although it's not simple to make. A lot of our items are like that: we make something simple like French fries that people really don't make at home. Most people don't have fryers at home. Our top three sellers are the Big Max with fries, cauliflower "chilaquiles" and Kettle Corn Brussel Sprouts - all fried. So, fun and simple things people won't make at home. I want to let out my indulgent, inner demon and do those fried items!" In fact, they've had to purchase a second fryer and change the kitchen set-up to handle the flow of these popular items.

The Big Max

A few items they opened with have been taken off the menu, like the crab and sea scallop lasagna and the onion soup. "Both are great. I make a really good onion soup. It was the first thing I learned when I worked at my sister's restaurant. But I can't be here every day to make it to order and it's important for things to be consistent. The lasagna was a lot of work, steaming the scallops. Other items have taken off and we just don't have the time for in-depth prep. We were a little too ambitious at opening."

They've never had a kind of "snack-y" restaurant. "I have people ask me how I stay thin working at Eden Hill. I've had two pregnancies there and I never get anything to eat," laughs Jennifer. Max agrees. "What can I say, 'have a lamb shank'? Now we can grab a burger or have some fries and actually eat at work."

Eden Hill
2209 Queen Anne Ave N
Seattle, WA 98109

Eden Hill Provisions
1935 Queen Anne Ave N
Seattle, WA 98109

Connie Adams/November 2019

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