Restaurants aren’t just places that serve food. A good restaurant is one that recognizes the nuances of its mission to provide its clientele with a welcome that starts with the opening of the door and concludes with a sense of time well spent. A really good restaurant is a place where occasions are celebrated and friendships are nurtured, as an appetizing meal incubates conversation that rises to the level of the food that’s savored and the wine that’s shared.
The awards won by Bradly and Lisa Havens, a husband-and-wife team who didn’t let the economic downturn turn down their dreams of building a restaurant that, like the tandem bike they shared during 1900 miles of bicycling journeys, would let them do something together that would use their gifts and talents. In 2010, that something became the Tandem Dinner & Wine Bar, a boutique restaurant where a night doesn’t go by without a birthday or anniversary being celebrated, not to mention four marriage proposals.
When their current building ran into building code issues because the steps were ½ inch out of compliance, they were forced to close the loft, losing 33 seats. When they purchased a new stove, they found out that they needed $49,000 to install the regulation stove hood and fire suppression system. This enormous expense for a 30-seat restaurant could have been the end, but the Havens saw the silver lining in the rainy-day clouds. They had outgrown their original site and needed to expand and move to a new location with a bigger kitchen.
Their quest took them to the heart of Woodinville Wine Country, where they’ve secured a 10-year lease for a restaurant that will have more than 50 seats inside and 50 seats on the outdoor patio. To make that dream come true, and to bring the vitality of Tandem to a new site, they’ve embarked on a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to raise $75,000 by February 13.
The new Tandem will benefit from its wine country setting within Chateau St. Michelle Winery and minutes off the Burke Gilman Trail. And the surrounding community will benefit from all that Tandem brings with it: Saturday and Sunday brunches; daily happy hour; picnics to go; local and organic food that supports the local economy; five-course wine-pairing winemaker dinners that typically sell out well in advance; cooking classes; events like luaus, pig roasts, and fundraisers; food drives to help those in need; support for the local sports teams and music program; and of course, the menu that recognized Tandem as the “Best Fine Dining” of Northshore.
Tandem also brings nurturing to the dining experience. A customer brought his wife to the restaurant to commemorate the seventh anniversary of her surviving stage four pancreatic cancer. When Lisa learned the reason for their visit, she brought a celebratory glass of champagne for his wife. They were also introduced to the one of the best Zinfadels they’d ever sampled, so good that they drove to the winery to buy two cases the next day.
The ambience was amazing, the meals were exceptional, the service incredible, the portions large enough for a plate of leftovers. The customer’s review: “They finished up with a ‘Wow’ factor that I had never experienced in my 59 young years.” That was when the server told the couple that they could return the plate on their next visit to the restaurant. No doggie bag at the Tandem!
Crowdfunding support can rebuild Tandem into a restaurant where happy memories are always welcomed home. Help the Havens serve dining dreams on their menu.