Edmonds, you’re in for a treat.
Rock star mixologist Niles Peacock returns to Salish Crossing with his own cocktail-centered, pizza-loving Kitchen & Bar, enjoying a hefty soft-and-for-real opening in September 2021. (The original March date was delayed slightly "due to some last punch-list items beyond our control [IG, April 29, 2021].")
Expect fireworks, or at the very least, the finest in molecular gastronomy and circus opulence, as signature cocktails fly out of the bar in a cloud of smoke and magical fairies.
Not exactly, but close.
Peacock, who helmed the bar and the bartending staff for Tom Budinick’s now-closed 190 Sunset — a few doors down — plans to unleash some exciting new craft cocktails, including one in honor of the town that first welcomed him back in 2016, and cocktail-friendly food that leans on a little science for fantastic special effects.
“We’ve got some really crazy stuff that we’re doing, pushing the envelope with the culinary side,” he previews, with a wink and a grin.
“We’ll be doing cocktails that are topped off with balsamic pearls that we make. We’re doing stuff using vapor bubbles. A cocktail shaken with beet powder dragon fruit on top of egg white… Gin, lime juice, vanilla syrup, dry-shaken with egg white, and topped off with butterfly pea flower powder and activated charcoal. We’re gonna definitely be having fun with it, and doing stuff that you haven’t seen us do yet, here, or in Seattle for that matter. That’s gonna be really exciting.”
Peacock also dove head-first into pizza-making territory, with a 128-year-old sourdough starter from friend, Sourdough Willy (Will Grant) in Kingston. “Best birthday present ever... ['Niles Peacock takes first in Pizza Expo' by Kathy Passage, My Edmonds News, March 28, 2022].”
Peacock would go on to win "Best Non-Traditional Pizza (Northwest Region)" at the world's largest pizza-only trade show — March 20-24, 2022 Pizza Expo — in Las Vegas, after a nearly-disastrous first try. The winning pizza, his popular "My First Date," a forward-thinking mix of dates, gorgonzola, mozzarella, olive oil, and swirls of balsamic reduction.
The ever-inventive cocktail/pizza king initially wanted to open two restaurants, his first Kitchen & Bar in Wallingford Dec. 2019 — done — and one in Edmonds later, where he lives. But the pandemic had other plans. Thanks to a beauty salon owner next door, who had a vision to expand, he says, he was bought out of his Wallingford lease and given the rare opportunity to open up where Evviva Woodfired Pizza once sat in Salish Crossing.
He ran with it.
The fashion-design-student-turned-mixologist and a small construction crew have been busy all February through April, and through the summer, repurposing, renovating, and tweaking the existing space in preparation for this grand return. Peacock dove right in, cutting angle iron, subway tiles, and his Wallingford restaurant’s communal table for back bar shelving, handling a lot of the work himself, save for the windows and doors. “Leave that to the professionals,” he quips.
The tricked-out bar oozes modern sophistication and Peacock’s own infectious brand of swank-meets-funk. Hence, the fog. “Something you will see here that’s a little bit different is, embedded in the live edge bar will be a dispenser connected to a medical-grade liquid CO2 tank, used for food sanitizing. When you press a glass down on it, it turns the liquid CO2 into a fog, that fog sanitizes the glass, and chills it, and,” he laughs, “it’s cool-looking.”
The food’s also getting the Peacock treatment. He promises to push the envelope on fun bar snacks and pizza, too, just like he did in Wallingford with the popular Nutella, blue cheese, and smoked sea salt dessert pizza (“we undercook the crust, so it’s doughy, like a pastry, right?”), “My Hot Date,” an unbelievably harmonious combo of oven-roasted dates, gorgonzola, and olive oil, drizzled with a balsamic reduction, “so good, sweet, tangy, salty,” and whatever else he — and you, his valued co-collaborator — can cook up.
Peacock’s taking requests to a whole other level. “We’re gonna get a lot of input from our guests for things that they wanna try and wanna see us do, and we’re gonna see how that goes. And [after] we...open, I will be using the feedback from our guests to create new menu items. Like, what’s on your mind? What do you want to try? Have you heard about something amazing that we should try, like, a cool combination for pizza, or this or that?”
Opening an Edmonds restaurant was a no-brainer for the man who once considered a career in fashion (he still designs…you should see his custom leather jackets and belts). Edmonds is not just a city, it’s a real community, where everyone’s on the same page, and the same side.
“I feel more at home in Edmonds [he lives two minutes away, near Ono Poke], in this community, than I do anywhere else,” Peacock affirms. “And, I’m more active and involved [here] than I am anywhere, with the food bank, going on my fourth, fifth year with them, and then, with the Edmonds Center for the Arts, on the board and a couple of committees there. I feel a sense of ownership and belonging, you know?”
As a business owner, it’s less about competition for him and his Salish Crossing neighbors than the support that comes with natural, organic “camaraderie.” During a visit one February afternoon — pre-opening — Peacock was inside 178 Sunset Ave. S. with fellow shop keepers gabbing away, and giving away stacks of Evviva chairs, in between hammering, cutting, and sanding.
“No matter what business [we’re all] in, there’s this kind of family friendship that people have,” he says. “More and more people are coming to Edmonds to see what we’re doing. You know that saying, 'The rising tide raises all ships?' I think that’s a real thing, you know? We have that going on here, including this property in particular, with this location.”
Niles cocktail shot & “Rye Here, Right Now,” Steve Parent Photography.
Additional images: Nutella, gorgonzola, blueberry, sea salt dessert pizza's ready for ya | Photo by Carol Banks Weber, The Pizza King doing his thing during an April 7, 2022 "Evening Magazine" shoot, following his first place win at the Pizza Expo | Photos by Brent Garner, brick by brick goes into Niles Peacock’ industrial pizza ovens | Photo Courtesy Carol Banks Weber.