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The name — Snapdragon — is new.
The look, too, has changed. A pair of large windows along the farthest wall will bring light into what had been a kind of Hobbit’s corner. One wall is now painted chartreuse, another maroon. Beer will be on tap.
But a pair of familiar faces will be behind the counter — greeting customers, serving up heaping plates of vegetarian fare and no doubt occasionally bartering meals for firewood, fine art or doggie daycare.
Adam Cone and Megan Hastings-Cone are returning to the restaurant business on Vashon, opening up Snapdragon where their previous eatery, The Monkey Tree, was once a going concern.
Giuseppe’s, an Italian restaurant owned by Doug Sudduth and his mother Rebecca Parks, closed a couple of weeks ago. Sudduth, meanwhile, says he’s thinking about taking on the Quartermaster Inn in Burton — although the owner of the property, Armen Yousoufian, said that’s unlikely to happen — or opening up a 50s’ style diner where Movie Magic once operated.
For Cone and Hastings-Cone, their decision to re-open a restaurant where their much-loved eatery once stood feels a bit like a homecoming — though they never actually left the Island. The couple continued to live here, commuting regularly to Seattle’s International District where they operated World Pizza with Cone’s brother Aaron Crosley-Cone.
“I’m so excited to participate again in my own community. I so look forward to hearing about everybody’s dogs and seeing their kids and finding out how the teens are doing,” Cone said.
Hastings-Cone said she, too, has missed The Monkey Tree’s many loyal customers. “It’s nice to come back to a space we know and love,” she said.
Cone is not walking away from World Pizza. But he’ll spread his time between the two operations, bringing his much-heralded baking skills to Snapdragon, where he’ll again make rustic breads, cinnamon rolls and other baked goods. Hastings-Cone will be the lead cook — a job she held at The Monkey Tree. Renee Mroczek, who also co-owned The Monkey Tree, is now a baker in Seattle.
Regulars will recognize some of the fare, they said — hearty vegetarian soups, sandwiches and gourmet fries. But in an effort at creating an operation that’s sustainable, they’ll offer fewer options and run it like a café rather than a restaurant, with customers ordering at the counter.
And in a perhaps the biggest shift, Snapdragon will be open until 9 p.m. five nights a week, where they’ll serve beer and wine, light fare and desserts.
Cone said he thinks it will feel a bit like a ski lodge in those evening hours — with food served après-ski style. In a concession to technology, the two said, they’ll also offer wi-fi and take credit cards.
The couple hopes to have a soft opening on Sunday, Feb. 12, followed by a grand opening in a month or so.
As for the name? That, they said, as they sat in leather chairs next to the gas fireplace Sudduth installed, was an inspiration from a couple of sources. After a year in Seattle’s International District, they now feel connected to that community, which just celebrated the auspicious lunar Year of the Dragon.
They also love the flower, they said, a hardy, country blossom “that returns Pheonix-like,” Cone noted, “much like this restaurant.”