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Eden Hill Provisions

Round Two on Queen Anne, part 2

Last month we shared Maximillian and Jennifer Petty's opening of Eden Hill and how that customer-driven evolution had them create Eden Hill Provisions. This month, we talk about the atmosphere at Provisions and two areas they'd like to grow.

Max and Jennifer wanted to create an atmosphere good for both adults and kids at their new spot. They used the firm Best Practice on the interior, the same firm that did the original work for Cupcake Royale. Four small rocking horses were added for kids to play on. "One of my favorite questions was when someone asked if the kids have to sit on the horses while they eat," says Jennifer. Laughs Max, "That's our whole point with this place, no one has to do anything!" They want their staff to be knowledgeable but not stuffy; coming to Eden Hill Provisions is fun, not necessarily an "experience." Originally, they planned to have a burger-to-go window. "It didn't turn out the way we envisioned on paper. That space is better suited to staff use and most people walk up to the host station to pick up their orders. Takeaway food is something we may grow into. We have an online ordering system where you choose your food and the time you want it. We didn't turn it on for a while because we felt we couldn't keep up with demand. Now you can use it."

Exhausted yet still having fun

The other thing they'll grow as they go along is the provisions part of the concept. "Our favorite store up here, Three Birds, closed. They had lots of gift-y kind of things, so Jennifer added things like tea towels, cards, and baskets; things that are great for hostess gifts or when you need a little something to take to someone," explains Max. "Another good memory for me is when I was dating Jenn and a place called Mercantile was near her house. We could eat there or pick things up to go. A friend here once said if I ever sold the foie gras cake batter, he'd buy it. All of these things made us want to have a market to offer various items. I've started bottling hot sauce and we sell our vegan honey." For Thanksgiving, Jennifer is putting together baskets that can be pre-ordered. "They'll have biscuits, butter, jam, wine. We won't do whole dinners; again, this is just a little something you can take to someone's house and add to the meal. On our menu, items we sell are printed in green. If someone likes something, they can pick it up on the way out."

Bottom line, the whole idea is more fun, less stress. For the guests, absolutely. For Max, Jennifer, and staff, not so much. "It's funny because it's our second place, we have a following, we have relationships in the industry, but it took off faster than we ever imagined. We've had to double our staff and orders. It hasn't calmed down at all since we opened in September. It's twice as hard as Eden Hill was. On a recent Saturday, we served 250 people between brunch and dinner. The restaurant seats 35. It's a great problem to have, but exhausting," says Max.

The seriously fun chicken nuggets in box, photo courtesy of Eden Hill Provisions

Looking back over the past four years, the surprises they've had have less to do with food than relationships. "We thought Eden Hill might be our one shot, so no apologies and we did it all," says Jennifer. "It was so intensely personal. We've had to learn we can't please everyone and if someone doesn't like the food, it doesn't necessarily reflect on Max." Max laughs, "Yes, I'm still working on that one. We also didn't imagine how important our customers and neighbors would become to us, more than anywhere I've worked before. What we do speaks to people and it's important to them as well as us. They talk to others about us and it has blossomed friendships. I've always been close to people I work with, but at Eden Hill, we've really become family. We confide in each other and go to a movie every week."

The other surprise they've had is how much things changed when they had kids. "I've always worked a lot, but now I want to spend time with them. In the long run with this second restaurant, I'll be able to create work schedules that I'm not on. Then I'll work where needed vs. having to be someplace every night. We want our kids to understand what it means to work hard, but we want to show them the balance, too. And it changes you to realize it's not just your future, you have someone else to think about." Jennifer adds, "Although Eden Hill was a little disjointed being tasting menu and a la carte, we could have reigned it in and coasted." Max laughs. "I'm not a coaster."

While using the Eden Hill name for both spots shows the connection, it has resulted in a little confusion. "We have people show up at Provisions and ask for the tasting menu or show up at Eden Hill and want something a la carte. Some people have thought we closed one and opened the other," says Jennifer. "We want people to understand the difference. Eden Hill is tasting menu only, Thursday through Sunday, 5 courses for $85 or 12 courses for $160, and we plan to keep that price point even as we change seasonally. We have wine and non-alcoholic pairings that can be added. People make their booking online and we require a deposit that is applied to the final bill. Our servers all wear suits. We've definitely upped the experience, although we still take walk-ins. Provisions is much more casual, and we see a lot of Eden Hill regulars here. A lot of people don't want to leave the neighborhood for these kinds of experiences. We see friends come in for a burger at Provisions, and then have their anniversary celebration at Eden Hill. Just what we were trying to do!"

Eden Hill
2209 Queen Anne Ave N
Seattle, WA 98109

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

Connie Adams/December 2019

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