Two luxury event and catering spaces opened in May within days of each other, redefining the catering and special events expectations in downtown Bellevue. One is a remodel for a local restaurant group, the other a popular jazz club that relocated from Issaquah.
Cast Iron Studios is the remodeled former Barrio Bellevue space in the lobby level of , the largest LEED Gold certified residential building in the Northwest. , a jazz club and private event space, moved from Issaquah in early May in time for the that kicked off earlier this week.
Barrio Bellevue closed about a year ago after about two years in business to make way for Cast Iron Studios. At the time, Larry Kurofsky, owner of the Heavy Restaurant Group that owns Cast Iron Studios as well as the adjacent and , the closure of Barrio Bellevue, citing lower than forecasted revenue.
The Heavy Restaurant Group also owns Purple Café & Wine Bars in Kirkland, Woodinville, downtown Seattle and Barrio on Capitol Hill.
Cast Iron Studios can host up to 200 guests for a seated dinner or up to 250 guests in a reception format. Combined with the neighboring Purple Café & Wine Bar and Lot No. 3, capacity swells to 500 guests.
“We felt there was a need for (an event space) on the Eastside,” said David Yusen, director of marketing and public relations for the Heavy Restaurant Group. “There’s nothing like it on the Eastside.”
Menu options, catered exclusively by the Heavy Restaurant Group, range from Purple’s contemporary Northwest fare, to Barrio’s Tex-Mex style to Lot No. 3’s gastropub comfort food and everything in between.
"If you want a Romanian wedding, we have the talented chefs that can create a menu like that,” Yusen said.
Cast Iron Studios has already scheduled a series of cooking, beer, wine and cocktail classes through the end of July for $50 per person taught by Heavy Restaurant Group staff. For a complete schedule of classes, click here.
Cast Iron Studios also becomes the catering hub for the Heavy Restaurant Group, ranging from box lunches to off-site dinner buffets. The Heavy Restaurant Group also delivers room service meals to residents of Bellevue Towers, where the 300th condo unit (out of 539 in the building) sold in early May.
Meanwhile, two blocks southeast, Craig and Laura Baker are settling into their , their eponymous jazz club. Bake’s Place doubles as a private event space with capacity for up to 100 guests, with an option for outdoor events.
It is open for lunch on weekdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., dinner service Tuesdays through Sundays starting at 5:30 p.m., with shows starting at 8 p.m. and happy hour Tuesdays through Fridays from 3 to 5:30 p.m. For a complete calendar of Bake's Place events click here.
Chris Peterson is the executive chef at Bake’s Place. Previously he cooked at Café Campagne at the Pike Place Market, in Old Bellevue, and and in Kirkland.