You've probably seen the chef before, the rotund, bearded Michael Robertshaw, who's been on the line at Quinn's and Toulouse Petit. If you've been to Flying Fish while it was in Belltown, you'll remember GM Guy Kugel. And you've probably heard of Marcus Charles, who closed his underground Marcus' Martini Heaven in Pioneer Square and opened Juju Lounge in Belltown a couple of years ago, then helped take over the Crocodile Cafe when it sputtered and died. He also partnered with Mike McConnell to open a Via Tribunali pizza parlor in the Croc's back room, and, when that didn't work out (rock music and pricey artisan pizza may have the same customers but not simultaneously), Charles took over the pizzeria, too; it now serves American-style "personal pizzas" for $6.50.
And now, just a block down the hill from the Croc, Charles has struck again, taking over the space at First & Bell vacated by Flying Fish. This is Local 360, an ambitious venture that combines neighborhood coffee shop, lunch counter, bar and dinner house with an in-house bakery and an upscale mini-mart (butcher shop, dairy, etc.). "Ideally," says Charles, "ninety percent of our ingredients will be sourced within a 360-mile radius of Seattle." Lemons, limes and coffee won't make the cut, obviousl, but the booze in 360's Belltown cocktail qualifies: Mud Puddle Chocolate Vodka from Portland's New Deal Distillery shaken with organic milk from grass-fed cows. The Pioneer Swuare martini, made with Counter Gin (produced in Oregon by Washington's Batch 206 Distillery) had a delicate sweetness. No Campari, no Coke, all local.
Some intriguing things on the menu. For breakfast, there's steel-cut oatmeal from Shepherd's Grain for $4 (The Starbucks in the next block has instant oatmeal, for a buck less); a wild mushroom pot pie ($10) at lunch; at dinner, there's beef tongue hash topped with a fried egg ($9) and a braised rabbit ($18). At the bar, you can get three juicy bites of corned beef on a bed thousand-island slaw, a Reuben without the bread, for $6. The bakery is producing Local 360's breads and pastries; Caffè Vita supplies the coffee. The corner of Frist and Bell is a great location, and they've knocked out four windows on the Bell Street wall to let in plenty of light. Every reason to expect great things here.