Possibly named after the Maple Saw Mill that complemented the shore of nearby Lake Washington, the Seattle neighborhood of Maple Leaf continues to attract families and couples seeking an escape from the turbulent crowds of downtown and nearby neighborhoods. Not unlike other localities throughout the city, Maple Leaf is home to several parks, a few taverns, some restaurants, and privately-owned retail businesses. Today, it is also the new home of The Shambles, a one-of-a-kind conflation of butcher shop, restaurant, and bar.
Founded by co-owners Matthew Brady and Joel Klemenhagen, the principal goal of The Shambles is to provide guests an opportunity to relax while savoring in-house charcuterie (e.g. aged: bacon, ham, sausage, terrines, galantines, ballotines, pâtés, and confit, primarily from pork), paired with inspired cocktails, local craft beer, or maybe a glass of wine or cider. In addition to a sit-down experience, The Shambles also hosts a countertop takeaway section, featuring many of their menu items, made in-house, to enjoy at home or abroad.
And the name? Well, The Shambles is an 11th-century description for one of York, England’s, oldest streets where butchers sold their wares. Unfortunately, the back-of-the-house slaughterhouses and butchers are long-since departed, replaced by commercial progress and grocery markets. Which is probably why Joel and Matthew conceived of paying homage to meat markets of old.
Get to know the family.
Starting at the tail of the business (to coin a butcher phrase), chef Seamus Platt conducts operations in the kitchen. With almost 2 decades of culinary experience, Platt is tasked with not only managing a mouth-watering menu but also The Shambles's archive of aged charcuterie and pickled edibles. If the name sounds familiar, then you’ve been a guest at Mollusk (now Dexter Brewhouse), Grin, Doe Bay Cafe, or Ubuntu (the deceased Michelin-star rated vegetarian restaurant). Those curious will be assured to know most if not all the menu will come from locally-sourced farms. Based on the current menu, The Shambles has found their muse in meat. Oh, and vegetarians take heart, as Platt is committed to making those who’d rather pet than eat their furry friends, feel welcome at the table with unique recipes devoid of meat.
Managing the head and body of The Shambles, co-owners Brady and Klemenhagen will answer any questions associated with the bar, kitchen, or its onsite butcher block. As evident during a recent visit, it’s clear that Matthew is excited the opportunity to serve guests, while Joel was more excited than a golden retriever when narrating the menu to us.
Approaching the bar, one is greeted by over 32 draft faucets, featuring both cider and craft beer. On the other side shelves of liquor stand at attention, waiting to be used in the next cocktail recipe. Much like the co-owners, each side of the bar reflects the character of the owners. On the draught side, Brady hopes guests will appreciate his attention to not only serving up a variety but also a willingness to seek out unique ales and lagers, including trending styles like New England-style IPA or the comforting Saison. On the cocktail side, Klemenhagen incorporates a love of spirits, including scotches, whiskeys, and tequilas. With almost 30 years combined experience in retail and hospitality, guests will have no issues finding something to pair with Seamus’s recipes. Maybe it’s the reclaimed wood from an old barn, the Edison bulbs, or the speakeasy bookshelf but there’s something warming about what Joel and Matthew have birthed in the neighborhood. One thing’s for sure if the duo was evoking an English-pub vibe they hit the nail on the head.
A night in the life of a guest at The Shambles.
Starting with the small plates (e.g. Appetizers) and Charcuterie (Meats & Cheeses)
From $4 Candied Almonds (with tandoori spice) to Steak Tartare (arugula puree, olive-brined egg yolk, grilled toast and ground to order), there isn’t a single item we didn’t want to try. But who has that kind of money? Instead, we selected Seasonal Crudites (with crème fraiche) for $8 and a three-person cheese and meat assortment for $33.
Reviewing the recipes in the Large Plates section of the menu, guests will feel at home with both the affordable pricing and selection.
Prices start at $14 for sandwiches like the Smoked Chicken (paired with slaw, pickles + side) or Fennel Confit on Ciabatta (with goat cheese, curried figs, pesto + side), to a plate of Crispy Skin Salmon (with polenta, giardiniera, salsa verde) at $28. If your craving something meatier, the Butchery Block offers things like a $22 Bavette (ala carte with chimichurri) to the 25 Day Dry Aged Pork Chop (ala carte and paired with 16 oz, apple mostarda) at $26.
With each dish ordered and sampled, we experienced everything from inspired thoughts of fresh-from-the-garden (like the seasonal crudites with creme fraiche) vegetables, to an east coast deli (when sampling the pastrami on rye with swiss, and pickles), to life in a candlelit belgian cafe as we enjoyed select cheeses and charcuterie. Even the beer selection coerces you, to pair food with beers like Ecliptic Calisto Belgian-style Tripel, Urban Family Orchard Reflection, or Boneyard Diablo Rojo.
The Shambles opens this Saturday.
With a tentative public opening on Saturday, January 20th, The Shambles will host guests from noon to 9 pm (Sunday thru Wednesday) and 12 pm to 11 pm Thursday thru Saturday. The Shambles is located at 7777 15th Ave NE, in the former home of The Little Gym, in Seattle’s Maple Leaf neighborhood. For more information, including up-to-date menus and future brewery events, visit http://www.delimeatsbar.com.