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HoneyHole

To infinity and beyond

Or not. Or maybe. What we know is that the iconic HoneyHole sandwich shop on Pike Street has a sibling on E. Jefferson Street, and new owners. Kristin and Patrick Rye took over the shop mid-January 2021. Brothers Sean and Devon London started the shop on Pike in 1999. Hannah Roberts was a server at the original; she and Sean married, then bought Devon out when he moved to California. Sean and Hannah had planned to sell the shop before COVID hit, then decided to shepherd it through the pandemic, "as only they could," per new owner Kristin. Jefferson opened May 28, 2021.

Co-owner Kristin Rye

"I'd been looking for a business for 4-5 years," explains Kristin. "I looked at all sorts of things; this is the one that felt right." Her background is in finance and wealth management. "The benefit of that job is you know when to retire. For me, that was about 10 years ago. It's great because I can choose how to spend my time." Her first choice was a heritage breed of chicken brought to this country from Europe. She helped develop the standard of perfection for the breed and sold eggs through a local CSA near San Diego. "They are gorgeous birds that lay blue eggs. The people involved with them were cool and accomplished something. The birds are now recognized in the U.S.; I still have some. The things I did, keeping data and tracking information, apply to restaurants, too."

She and Patrick own real estate that she manages. She also bought a plumbing company as a way to help "the best plumber in San Diego." When it looked like he would have to close his company, she couldn't let it happen. "It's hard to find a good plumber. He's doing great now, and I find that it's helpful to know about plumbing when you own a restaurant."

Patrick got his education and degree in Material Science (thin films and composites) and taught himself to write code. General Atomics hired him as a software engineer. Blue Origin recruited him to "help make rockets and go to the moon!" That job brought them to Seattle.

Flank and turkey salads - Ranch dressing!

"This is a viable business," says Kristin. "It did well even through a pandemic. That's one reason it's a good fit for us. Also, they kept their key employees through a bad time. And the food is amazing. Once we ate here I knew I would like to be part of it. The decisions the previous owners made, the DNA of the company, are in line with what we believe. The high quality of ingredients; the care in how things are done; smoked hand-rubbed/hand-marinated meats in-house; Ranch dressing made from scratch."

Chicken used is all Halal, "So we know the quality of care given the chickens and that they are slaughtered humanely." Their produce is not certified organic, but their main supplier practices farming principles that are kind to the planet, and labor practices that are kind to employees. It's a local company run by a husband and wife whose daughter is one of HoneyHole's lead cooks. She has worked there for 5-6 years. "They've been with HoneyHole since go. These are the kinds of personal relationships we want with our partners. We want to support those with similar values."

One of Kristin's current projects is re-evaluating their meat sources. "We use top-grade meat and want to support local beef vendors. We're always redefining what 'local' means. Our beef comes from Nebraska and Colorado, so we've always been U.S.-based. But we can't change vendors without knowing that beef we get from Washington will be as high quality and taste as good in our sandwiches. One new beef producer says they are 100% carbon neutral. I'm not absolutely sure about that, but if the beef is good, I'd want to support someone getting closer to that goal. Our perspective is that we're not just feeding people, we're nourishing them by providing a great atmosphere, contributing to the community, and operating in the best possible way we can."

Tri-tip to dip in au just

Once the beef issue is settled, Kristin would like to start developing relationships with local vintners. Among her other businesses, she ran a few B&Bs that were near vineyards. She worked with wineries and chefs to create chef-paired dinners at the houses. "Seattle has such a bounty to share, and there are a lot of craft distilleries around. We want our bar to line up with our view of the restaurants-curate and develop more local relationships and find women-owned wineries and distilleries."

They looked at nearly 100 buildings before finding Jefferson. "When I saw it, I realized we would have few modifications to make in the build-out and could open by summer instead of maybe 2023. There's a private dining room that can hold about 25, a patio, and indoor dining. The proximity to our other location means there's a good symbiosis between the two. This space is larger and laid out more efficiently. Smoking is done here. It's an up-and-coming area with lots of development and residential traffic. Each week more people find us; one guest has been here three times this first week. A guy from Arizona who used to hang out at Pike brought his wife and kids in to check out the new space. They'd already eaten at Pike!"

Jefferson interior

As for the future, it all depends. There were staff members at Pike who wanted to grow. Opening a second location has given them opportunities. "We are so lucky to have a deep bench of people at Pike who were able to train new people. As we continue, if we have staff members looking for more, that organic growth is fine. Right now, it just feels great getting it off the ground despite being totally unqualified to do so. Our next step could be a third location, or a beef ranch, or maybe back to chickens!"

HoneyHole

703 E Pike Street
Seattle, WA 98122
206-709-1399

1305 E Jefferson St
Seattle, WA 98122
206-707-8280

thehoneyhole.com

The Emilio Pestovez: house made pesto, goaat cheese, smoked tomato field roast, sauteed onions, balsamic vinegar

 

Connie Adams/July 2021

 


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