It’s Not Exactly A Yacht Club, But The Food Will Make You Think It Is

Posted in Blog, Restaurant on Tuesday, April 09, 2024

Duke’s Seafood is a Seattle institution making Washington-grown fruits and vegetables the stars of the show.

It’s Not Exactly A Yacht Club, But The Food Will Make You Think It Is

While Duke’s Seafood is now well known for its sustainable seafood restaurants throughout the greater Puget Sound area, its story began in 1977, when Duke Moscrip opened a casual bar and grill on Lower Queen Anne Hill in Seattle. As Duke’s Bar & Grill became known for its clam chowder and fish and chips, Moscrip took action, opening a second Seattle location the following year.

Now, nearly a half-century later, Duke’s operates eight spaces in the area — an event venue plus seven seafood restaurants — including its South Lake Union eatery, which opened in 2019 in the same location where the short-lived, high-end Duke’s Yacht Club did in 1990.

When Duke’s Yacht Club didn’t have the same success as his other restaurants, Moscrip and his team quickly realized that the charm of Duke’s is its high-quality food, not a fancy atmosphere — and this ethos continues today. While the South Lake Union restaurant boasts gorgeous waterfront views and mostly organic, local ingredients, the vibe is decidedly relaxed.

“We don’t like to take ourselves too seriously here,” said Executive Chef Amanda Herrera, “but we’re serious about serving really good food, sourcing well, and giving you great drinks.”

As for sourcing, Duke’s is committed to serving fully sustainable seafood, from locally sourced shellfish to wild-caught salmon, cod and halibut; organic chicken and eggs; local, grass-fed beef; and Washington-grown produce at all its locations.

“Using more local ingredients, you do taste the difference,” Herrera said. “It’s nice to know that it’s not coming from across the country to get to you — you know what you’re serving.”

Customers notice that freshness, and it keeps them coming back.

“It’s the one place I go when I want a really, really good meal that’s fresh, that’s high quality,” said one diner, who was eating on the patio overlooking the water. “Dukes has got to be the quintessential Seattle seafood place to go to.”

When the Washington Grown team visited Duke’s, local asparagus was the seasonal vegetable, but Herrera was already dreaming about the additional Washington produce that would be in season in the coming months. “I’m really looking forward to zucchini season,” she said. “When the berries come into play here in the summertime, those will be featured on some seafood dishes as well.”

The restaurant also offers a boutique wine list comprising only Washington wines, including ones from Chateau Ste. Michelle, Mark Ryan Winery, and Treveri.

“We have cultivated relationships with a lot of Washington wineries,” Herrera said. “The large variety that we have here in the state — of the wines that we actually produce here — it really lends itself to be able to go with a variety of different foods.”

On the patio, one customer took a bite from a steaming bowl of fettuccine with wild salmon.

“It just feels like home when you eat it — honestly,” she said. “It’s just so good. We want to try everything because it all looks so good.”

Another diner laughed as she finished her meal.

“We did have stuffed shrimp, but now I’m stuffed,” she said.

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