jill, matt and mike at lecosho.jpg
Photo by Leslie Kelly
Jill Buchanan, Matt Janke and Mike Easton in the space that will soon be Lecosho.
Matt Janke, best known as the

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Grillaxin Catches Up With Matt Janke And Co. As They Get Ready To Launch Lecosho

jill, matt and mike at lecosho.jpg
Photo by Leslie Kelly
Jill Buchanan, Matt Janke and Mike Easton in the space that will soon be Lecosho.
Matt Janke, best known as the Matt from Matt's in The Market, has not dropped off the face of Seattle's culinary landscape. After a couple of years under the radar, he's teamed up with Jill Buchanan and chef Mike Easton for a restaurant that's the Chinook word for pig, opening in September. Matt's been blogging about the restaurant's buildout. Here's the back story on this venture.

SW: Matt, is it true you and Jill met at The Crab Pot?

Matt: Yeah, that's true. We were working there with Murray (Stenson). Who would have thought, huh? We've come a long way in 20 years.

Jill: We've only made it a half a block.

SW: How did this project come about?

Matt: We ran into each other last summer at a party and decided it would be a good thing to do. Then, we kept running into each other. She came back from Sun Valley and came into DeLaurenti to buy a bottle of wine when I was working there.

Jill: It was kismet.

SW: Mike, how did you come into the picture?

Chef Mike: I've been working in restaurants for 20 years now. I had just come back into town after living in Santa Fe. Before I left Seattle, I was working at Bizarro. I've known Matt for years.

Matt: A couple of years ago, there was a rumor that I was going to open a restaurant in Eastern Washington with Mike. We were thinking about it, but we're here. We've been talking about working together for a while.

SW: So, how long has the process of getting the place open been going on?

Matt: We started talking about it in November. We signed the lease at the end of May.

SW: What are the biggest challenges you've faced with the buildout?

Jill: It's actually gone very smoothly. They're extremely organized.

Matt: The issue with the floor, putting down a seal on the floor, was a curve ball, but it's not bad.

SW: What's going on with menu development?

Matt: We've been working on things together, kind of subtitled "Foods We Like." We have been prepping and testing recipes in a friend's kitchen. We have a solid idea about the direction we're heading. Using quality ingredients. Local ingredients. Nothing is limited to a particular cuisine.

SW: The name means pig, right?

Jill: It's less a pig theme than a Northwest theme. It's a Chinook word. Pig became an important part of the diet back when this was a major trading area.

SW: Will you have a smokehouse?

Chef Mike: We won't have a smokehouse, but I'm definitely going to be making bacon in-house and making sausages and charcuterie. But the menu will be seafood driven, as well since we're in Seattle.

SW: Don't you think it's a little odd that Seattle has this reputation for being such a seafood place, but the salmon comes from Alaska, the halibut comes from Alaska? What is our indigenous seafood besides oysters?

Matt: We have this great seafood availability in Seattle and it isn't so much that it's harvested here, but that it's coming through here on its way someplace else. In the old days at Matt's, people would come in and say why don't you have lobster on the menu? You know, lobster doesn't happen out here. But all the salmon and halibut and Dungeness crab comes through here. We are the hub.

Check back for part two of this week's Grillaxin Q & A for more of our conversation with the trio who are opening Lecosho next month.

 
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