The evolution of Spring Hill

My first stab at writing a restaurant ‘review’ was about West Seattle’s Spring Hill. Looking back on that post, it wasn’t one of my stronger posts and it didn’t do too well at talking about Spring Hill. Since then my voice and style has changed, so I’m going to take another stab about the place. This is because, over the course of the last year, Spring Hill has evolved and become an unbelievable restaurant that should be propped up with the other greats in Seattle. In short, they have become one of the best restaurants in town.

And it’s not just Spring Hill’s food. Which is unique, delicious, and a reflection of chef Mark Fuller’s vision and talent. If you’ve been paying attention (or are an obsessive food nerd like me) you’ll notice all of the cool stuff they’ve been up to. Which is why their status has vaulted in my mind. From trying out new things with their menus, to hosting great events, and surrounding themselves with unbelievable talent, Spring Hill has elevated their game and should be recognized for being aggressive with their business.

Here are three cool things about Spring Hill:

  • The talent

It starts with the chef/owner Mark Fuller and his wife Marjorie. Mark runs the kitchen while Marjorie deftly patrols the front of house. To say that Chef Fuller has received a bushel of accolades would be an understatement. Named one of Food & Wine‘s best new chefs of 2009, he continues a tradition of Seattle chefs named to this prestigious honor. He’s also been named one of the 10 most exciting chefs to keep an eye on by Style Caster. All of it is well deserved.

As a graduate of Tom Douglas University, he’s also been able to recruit fellow alumni. He’s added Garrett Melkonian to his team. Garrett was formerly the executive pastry chef for Tom Douglas Restaurants and has wanted to start carving his own path. This next step to Spring Hill is part of that evolution. There are plenty of food people around town readily anticipating what Melkonian has in store for us. Add me to that list as well.

And it’s a collective thing. The press that Mark, Marjorie and the team have received over the past year has been dizzying; Bon Appetit’s 10 Best New Restaurants of 2009, Travel + Leisure’s 50 Best New Restaurants, and more.

  • The Monday menu

To say that Spring Hill serves delicious food wouldn’t be serving them justice. What I think is very cool is they are finding ways to be creative in serving their customers. Let’s start with the first business day of the week – Monday. On what’s notoriously a slow restaurant night, Spring Hill has tweaked their offering to make it an event. It started about a year ago with making it their spaghetti and meatball feed. Meatballs the size of baseballs. Sign me up.

In December the restaurant added fried chicken to Monday evenings. Fried Chicken from Mark Fuller’s Spring Hill. Fried food heaven is within our grasp. Check the stats, for $80 you get; two whole chickens, dumplings, cornbread, brussels sprouts, potatoes, and salad. Bring three other friends and you have a gastronomic feast. We went and were swooning over the food. The fried chicken was as tasty as expected and the sides were polished off quickly, in fact, we walked away with leftovers. I loved it so much I’m already looking forward to going back. Just be sure to make a reservation.

When you combine the chops of the kitchen crew with comfort food like spaghetti ‘n meatballs and fried chicken, you have a restaurant that’s always on my Monday radar.

  • The embrace of social media

One area where Spring Hill has really been progressive and creative in is the world of social media. This is where I think they are revolutionary. A lot of restaurants are on Twitter, Facebook, or have their own blogs, but I think Spring Hill is different in that they take the time to use these tools to build relationships. They have a blog, but it’s their Twitter presence that is really great. Chef Mark Fuller even has one! They share details about events, menu, staff, etc. But the personal touch that makes Twitter so intoxicating is where they shine. All of these factors show why they are one of the best at staying nimble in the converging worlds of social media and restaurants.

And the events! I love the events at Spring Hill! I’ve been to some great ones. Late summer, the Foodbuzz folks hosted a dinner for some Seattle-area bloggers and Spring Hill was the venue. It was a great gathering and it was an honor for Spring Hill to welcome us. Next up was the David Chang event hosted by Kim Ricketts in December. Kim hosts these great events with authors, chefs, etc (I loved the one with Eric Ripert), and the David Chang event at Spring Hill was no exception. It was fun to be around other people that love food and Spring Hill brought the noise. Heck, David Chang went nuts over the place during his stay in Seattle. The other awesome event that Spring Hill hosted was a food photography class put on by Seattle Bon Vivant with Penny De Los Santos. Penny is an exceptionally talented food and travel photographer who taught a class on shooting food at Spring Hill. Very cool; it put the plating of Spring Hill’s dishes in front of an audience in a way that kept the restaurant top of mind. Brilliant. In fact, here are a bunch of the flickr shots from it.

There you have it. Three awesomely cool things that Spring Hill is doing. You should go visit to see what Chef Fuller is cooking as Marjorie welcomes you. Maybe if you ask nicely Mark will shuck an oyster with a screwdriver for you.

Spring Hill on Urbanspoon

Photo courtesy of SeattlePI.com
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One thought on “The evolution of Spring Hill

  1. Great round-up of why Spring Hill is bounding above other restaurants in this city, Frank! I was luck enough to try brunch at Spring Hill this last Saturday. The saimin is really something, even if I still can’t pronounce it correctly.

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