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Owning A Restaurant: Nancy's Dream, Stein's Nightmare

Nancy Leson
The Grill at Opus Co. on Phinney Ridge

WhenNancy Leson's husband, Mac, didn't get her a new toaster for their 21st anniversary, she bravely hid her disappointment.  But it all worked out better than okay when he took her to dinner at  their new favorite restaurant. 

"When Mac goes to a restaurant with me and says 'I love this place' and we can't wait to go back?  That's a huge gift for me," she said.

Credit Nancy Leson / KNKX
Lamb sausage with preserves at Opus Co.

"We went toOpus Co., just this tiny little place in the Phinney Ridge neighborhood.  Just 17 seats.

"Mark Schroeder, the chef and owner, is a really talented guy and he works with a small group of really talented people."

The food sure sounded nice.  When I asked about menuitems, she had me at Lamb Spam, but that grilled lamb sausage sure looks good.

My big thrill is that Dad's Diner, that great Anacortes place we talked about a few months ago opened  their Seattle locationback in July in the former space of Babirusa at 2236 Eastlake Ave E. to raves.  And yes, those are hand picked LPs under the polymer on the counter.  Can't wait to hit it on our next trip north from Tacoma.

Dad's in Eastlake

Nancy dreams of having her own place like Opus.  She says she'll have comfy seats and hire son Nate to do the cooking.  I can see several problems with that plan.

1. Hiring a relative.

2. Comfy seats means slower table turnover.  Are you sure you've thought this all the way through, Nance?

I have.  Which is why my dream joint, Dick's Hub Cap Cafe (Registered Nurse on duty) will forever remain just that.

"When in a restaurant always choose a table near the waiter." – Found on Sumarian cuniform tablet 

Dick Stein joined KNKX in January 1992. He retired in 2020 after three decades on air. During his storied radio career, he hosted the morning jazz show, co-hosted and produced "Food for Thought" with Nancy Leson and wrote and directed the Jimmy Jazzoid live radio musical comedies and 100 episodes of Jazz Kitchen.