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P-I: Friday, December
holidays! Treat yourself to one of these delicious gifts
I've come up with a collection of
sweet treats and other goodies you deserve to give yourself -- now
or anytime. All come from "research" (I have it tough,
don't I?) "compiled" while dining out in 2004. I hope
you enjoy them as much as I did, and do.
Queen Anne, 232 First
Ave. W.; 206-691-0232; www.buckleysseattle.com
The hand-formed bacon burger ($8.95) with peppered bacon and sharp
Tillamook cheese on a Macrina Bakery bun, served with tomato
slices, slivered red onion, leaf lettuce and your choice of
thin-cut fries, coleslaw or salad.
September 17, 2004
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER RESTAURANT CRITIC
Queen Anne is a mythical phoenix of sorts, rising from the ashes
of two failed establishments. Proprietor Tim Buckley decided to
open his own place after the Belltown Pub, where he managed and
bartended, shut its doors a year ago. The spot Buckley leased on
Lower Queen Anne was available because Kitchen 232, a promising
full-service restaurant, quietly folded before most diners even
knew it was open.
Here, the past and present merge.
Many of Tim Buckley's long-time colleagues have joined him at his
new venture. The menu -- due to undergo some changes to its dinner
entrees -- resembles the last menu from the Belltown Pub.
Darn. The thing that really needs
changing is the decor. The bar side of the room seems publike
enough, with its olivine walls, sports-tuned TVs and Guinness
signs. It's the dining room side, with its newly added faux
library feel and cheap-looking booths, that seems out of place.
The clash of competing chandelier styles is particularly
Having a restaurant crew that has
worked together a long time and is familiar with a menu is a
definite plus for Buckley's. These guys are professionals; they
clearly know the friendly, comfortable atmosphere they want to
create and how to achieve it. The place has a good-natured feel to
I feel welcomed when I arrive and
appreciated when I leave.
Pub food isn't fine dining, but
that doesn't mean it can't be good. I like the food at Buckley's
for what it is. My biggest complaint? Too much thick gooey
Gorgonzola sauce in too many dishes, specifically: the pork chops
dinner entree ($13.95); the triple spread appetizer ($8.95), which
also features a zingy red pepper-feta and soothing
spinach-cilantro dip with grilled pita triangles; and the penne
pasta dish with chicken ($13.45) -- although the last is the most
tolerable, thanks to diced tomato and other ingredients in the
Buckley's appetizers represent
shareable bar-style fare. Buffalo wings ($8.95) transport me back
to Syracuse, N.Y., where, as a graduate student, I regularly
feasted on feisty wings from a place called Ventura's. Buckley's
are bathed in a snappy, vinegary, sinus-clearing sauce possessing
the proper orangish-red hue; feature an even assortment of both
"drummettes" (aka legs) and wings; and come with celery,
carrots and blue-cheese dressing.
I'm also impressed by Buckley's
deep-fried calamari ($8.95), served hot, lightly battered and
lightly seasoned. An "aioli drizzle" looks and tastes
like unadulterated mayonnaise; fortunately, it isn't really
needed. The deep-fryer also does a good job with onion rings
($7.95) -- large, piping-hot, puffy-battered rings served with
chipotle ranch dressing. Buckley's also makes a fine pub hummus
($7.95) served with pita and garnished with calamata olives and
The hand-formed bacon cheddar
burger ($8.95) is a treat. In fact, the whole plate is pleasing:
ripe tomato slices, slivered circles of red onion, leaf lettuce; a
black- and white-sesame seed bun from Macrina Bakery; and your
choice of thin-cut fries, not-too-sweet coleslaw or salad. An
Atkins-following accomplice tries the blue cheese burger ($8.95)
in a low-carb wrap filled with sauteed onion and melting Oregon
blue cheese. It also works well -- although I like that Macrina
bun far too much to make the switch myself. A grilled portobello
mushroom sandwich ($9.95) uses a much thinner slice of this hearty
steaklike mushroom than I expect; it seems skimpy and unfilling.
Climb into the wayback machine
for the Mandarin Chinese Salad ($10.95), a take on the classic
"Chinese chicken salad" popular 25 years ago. It's a
decent version; a bed of firm dark greens topped with sliced
grilled chicken, mandarin orange sections, snow pea pods, red
onion, chopped green onion, slivered almonds, crumbled bacon and,
of course, crispy fried chow mein noodles -- the thick kind
Chinese restaurants in New York City used to serve with hot
mustard and duck sauce before the meal.
The spinach salad ($9.45) is also
on target. It's a fairly traditional mix of fresh spinach leaves,
crumbled bacon, red onion and sliced mushrooms -- note: no
hard-cooked egg -- sprinkled with dolled-up pecans and pre-tossed
in a rice-wine vinaigrette.
A few baked-off-premises desserts
are available. I can't resist ordering a slice of red velvet cake
($4.95) and thoroughly enjoy forking through its layers of
red-tinged chocolate cake and thick cream-cheese frosting.
Anne's newest royalty
Buckley’s settles in
Twenty years ago when I moved to Lower Queen Anne for the first
time, the happening place to eat, drink and hang out was Duke's
— the original site of the once-locally-famous chain — at 232
First Ave. W.
was good, but Duke's fish and chips were almost to die for. And
the ambience was that nice mix — comfortable and yet somehow
almost stylish — that the old Seattle seemed able to pull off
with a lot less effort than what one often sees while dining out
is no more, but once again you can get some great fish and chips
in a fine neighborhood pub-eatery atmosphere at the old address.
on Queen Anne opened on the site about a month ago.
familiar with the old Belltown Pub (on First, between Bell and
Battery) which closed last September are already streaming up the
hill to Buckley's.
Tim Buckley, who managed the Belltown Pub for a decade, has opened
the new place bearing his name.
is a transplanted Seattleite who moved here from St. Cloud, Minn.,
in 1986 and has never left. He’s closer to home on the old
Duke's site since he's lived on Queen Anne Hill for the past
fact, according to Buckley, most of his 17-person staff also lives
in Queen Anne.
stresses friendly, "kind” service, and to that end he has
brought Chuck Gomez, Steve Gagnon, Tim Johnston, Harrison Hegberg,
Chris Dougherty, Terry Gildea and Pete Yeager along with him from
guys were the heart and soul of the Belltown Pub,” Buckley said.
“They're helping to give Buckley's a nice, warm feeling. My idea
is to make sure the food is good, the place is clean and the
feeling is welcoming. We're here to cater to the neighborhood. I
pride myself on this crew.
more to a place than just the building," Buckley added.
said, the jump to the old Duke's location wasn't hastily made.
spent nine months searching for the right spot," Buckley
chef will be Ben Resnick, who opened the Ikon Grill. His sous-chef,
Lorie Lockwood, who has worked at Rover's, amongst other eateries,
helped put the opening menu together.
homage to Duke's, Buckley's does carry fish and chips, plus a nice
clam chowder. But there's more to the menu than those old staples.
say our burgers and our sandwich and soup specials every
day," Buckley said when asked what he most likes to chow down
on from the current menu.
kitchen, open every day from 11:30 a.m. until 10 or so every
night, also cranks out five salads, six appetizers (including
Parmesan Cheese fries) and 10 sandwiches above and beyond the four
versions of a burger available.
5 p.m. if you want more than a sandwich and a side, there are 12
dinner items on offer, including everything from a peanut stirfry
to a rib-eye steak.
also a children's menu featuring six choices, all accompanied by
of the breads on Buckley's menu are from the Macrina Bakery atop
can come here in casual attire, and we have a great kids' menu. My
son's involved in Queen Anne Little League; I hope to eventually
sponsor a team," Buckley said. (Ally Buckley and Tim have two
kids, Spencer, 7, and Gianna, 3.)
also is offering weekend breakfasts.
hope to help out the 5-Spot and the Queen Anne Café [on top of
Queen Anne Hill] by relieving some of the congestion from [in
front of] their places," Buckley said laughing.
a fellow who, according to the Zagat Survey, served the best pint
of Guinness three years in a row, Buckley is offering 14 draft
beers, 13 bottled beers, well drinks, soft drinks and red and
are also widescreen televisions ("I'm a big sports fan")
and a penetrating sound system.
bartended 20 years,” Buckley recalled. “The Source magazine
named me the best bartender in Seattle in 1996. I have a passion
for this business. We'll go out of our way to take care of our
spent the first few days after Buckley's opened in the kitchen.
"Everything there [on the menu], especially the sandwiches,
is the way I want it," Buckley noted proudly.
bugs are already out of the system, but Buckley said that the
opening a month ago came as something of a surprise to him and his
think when we opened, we thought that with 10 years under our
belts everything would run smoothly. The first Friday we were
open, we were completely full. There was an hour ticket time [60
minutes from order to eating]. We got that fixed in two days and
now the ticket time is 10 minutes, so a businessperson can come
in, get their food and get back to the office. But we were
surprised [at first]," he said, smiling at the wonder of the
restaurant business, which is always a surprise in one way or
on down to Buckley's and we will do whatever it takes to take care
of you," Buckley said to a visitor who was leaving.
is a neighborhood place," he added and it was easy to believe
him when he said he wants customers to become regulars who
eventually become friends.
You won’t find throngs of pretty
people at this new pub, but if you’re looking for a place to
sit outside and relax in the sunshine, Buckley’s is the place
to go. The pub itself is tiny, so the tables in the small fenced
area out front are a better choice. Happy hour (4–7 p.m.
weekdays) features $2.50 drafts, $3 house wines, and $3 one-shot
wells. The beers are your best bet: Buckley’s keeps 14 on tap,
including a number of rotating selections. The appetizers are run of the mill, with the exception of the
impressively overstuffed chicken quesadilla and the pita bread
that arrives still warm, accompanied by various dips.
Presentation is classy and portions are large but not
overwhelming. 232 First Ave. W., 206-691-0232. LOWER QUEEN ANNE
Every neighborhood needs a place
where the staff recognizes you on your second visit, and that’s
what Buckley’s aims to be for lower Queen Anne. For years,
proprietor Tim Buckley worked his magic at the late Belltown Pub
-- he still pours one of the finest pints of Guinness in town,
complete with his signature Space Needle etched into the foam. The
varied upscale pub-grub menu is refreshingly straightforward -- no
cutesy sandwich names. Mushroom Swiss burger, chicken sandwich,
grilled Portobello mushroom, and turkey club are a few of the
options. All come with parmesan cheese fries, sweet potato fries
or cole slaw, and can be served in a low-carb wrap (which cancels
out the fries, right?). Salads, soups, pastas and meaty entrees
round out the roster, and your server will surely tell you about
the daily specials. Clientele ranges from moms and kids to
shirt-and-tie business folk to twenty-somethings spilling out of
Key Arena. Take an outside table and sip a pint on a sunny
afternoon, or slide into a high-backed wood booth for privacy.
Ambience is casual but classy, and sports fans are able to see a
T.V. from nearly every seat. -- Ginny Morey
for the full review
April 21, 2004
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER RESTAURANT CRITIC
No sooner did I promise to share updates on Buckley's (232 First
Ave. W.; 206-691-0232) than -- voila! -- updates magically appeared
in our offices beneath the famous neon globe. (OK, not really
so magically, unless the concept of "electronic mail"
still gives you goose bumps.)
Buckley behind Buckley's is Tim. Not to be confused with the same-named
deceased singer-songwriter father of Jeff, the deceased singer-songwriter
son, this Tim Buckley made his fame behind the bar at the now
deceased Belltown Pub and Cafe. Remember the "Space Needle
Guinness?" That was Tim's. He'd draw a tiny likeness of the
Space Needle in the foam of a perfectly drawn draught of the thick
dark ale we Irish call "mother's milk" or, when possible,
the new family-friendly, non-smoking pub on Lower Queen Anne,
Former Belltown Pub patrons will discover Tim won't be the only
familiar face at Buckley's for Belltown Pub regulars.
considered the unofficial "mayor of Belltown" (we'll
have to take his word for it), Buckley will bring a little bit
of the old 'hood to his new digs. He plans to carry on the tradition
of the much-loved Belltown Pub by keeping some of its core staff
and core values ("great food for a good value"; "fun
times"). Expect Buckley's to open May 1.