Work is proceeding apace at 121 Kirkland Avenue, the new and second location of Volterra, the highly regarded Italian restaurant in Ballard that will open its doors here early next month.
Chef Don Curtiss, who named the restaurant after the city in Tuscany and whose mother was Sicilian, gave Kirkland Patch a quick tour this week.
“Kirkland, I’ll tell you, it’s kind of emerging, I think,” he said. “It’s absolutely gorgeous here, the beach scene. I lived over here in the late ‘90s and I loved it then. We’ve wanted to get over on the Eastside. Customers have been asking us to do this since we opened in Ballard: ‘Why don’t you come to the Eastside! ’ ”
As Patch food and dining writer Curtiss and his managing partner and wife Michelle Quisenberry opened Volterra in Ballard seven years ago. They hope to open the new 2,500-square-foot Kirkland location in the first week of September. Curtiss has more than 20 years of cooking experience in local Italian restaurants, including Il Fornaio, Assaggio and Andaluca in Seattle. Volterra, Curtiss and Quisenberry have been featured on the Rachel Ray show and have won accolades and awards too numerous to list.
Curtiss and company will likely fit right in here in Kirkland; he’s friends with Chef Brian Scheesher, knows Chef Dylan Giordan an raves about Chef Holly Smith's food at . He’s already stopped in for lunch at his new Kirkland Ave neighboring restaurant , a Vietnamese-themed shop specializing in banh mi sandwiches -- and gives it a hearty thumbs up.
Quisenberry will manage the front of the store; Curtiss will work both front and back. “I’ll be working both on the line and greeting guests,” he said.
As of this week, the new Volterra remained a work in progress. But Curtiss has a clear vision and is pleased with the work so far.
The kitchen will be open and located right in the dining area. “We’ll be able to seat six diners right at the counter in front of the chefs,” Curtiss said. There will be a bar with counter and tables -- happy hour will be 4 p.m to 6:30 p.m. with its own menu.
At first the restaurant will offer only dinner and Sunday brunch, but will expand hours to include lunch as it settles in, probably by early October. Hours then will be 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to -11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday.