Wine Flack Supreme

Getting the word out about the great wines grown in our backyard is a large part of the Washington Wine Commission's job, so the post of communications director, recently vacated by Stacie Jacob, is an important one. And the commission has found some serious feet to fill Jacob's boots: Regan Sheehy, most recently of Edelman Communications, has run campaigns for several prominent Northwest accounts including Brooks sporting goods, Seahawks Stadium, the EMP museum, Microsoft Game Studios, and the huge, gleaming new downtown library. The Washington wine industry's impact on our economy hovers around $2.5 billion annually, so despite its low public profile, the job is one suitable for a promoter of Sheehy's proven muscle. Game On In 2002, John Howie opened Seastar Restaurant and Raw Bar in Bellevue to nearly unanimous critical acclaim. Seastar's success in the intervening years has provided Howie with the clout and the resources to make the puddle jump into Seattle: Sport, a high-concept sports eatery in Seattle Center's Fisher Plaza, opens its doors Tuesday, Jan. 18. The tentative menu sounds like a compromise between Northwest fare and manly pub grub: Kobe beef burgers, thin-crusted pizzas (some featuring cured meats by Salumi's Armandino Batali), "all-meat Texas chili," grilled salmon, a variety of steaks, and a selection of "New York–style deli sandwiches" stacked with corned beef, pastrami, or turkey. When asked what makes his new place more than just a Fox Sports Grill knockoff, Howie told Hot Dish: "Fox is more like a [dance] club." Howie's aiming for something more like a sports buff's den at home. "We've got over seven large memorabilia displays to help bring some of the feeling that people have for sports, bring those feelings back up to the surface again, you know?" Sport's interior design epitomizes his vision. "We've taken the idea of how people are building baseball stadiums now," he explained. "Safeco Fields, Camden Yards—beautiful ballparks that bring in some nostalgia through their architecture and through the materials that they use." Sport offsets shiny technology (30- and 42-inch plasma and high-definition television screens) with the kind of stuff you'd find in your den: exposed brick, lounge chairs, and "warm leathers." As for his prospects in the unpredictable, historically volatile restaurant and bar scene that is Seattle Center, Howie isn't concerned. "There's 10 million visitors across the street every year," he says. "I only need to get a small percentage of those to be successful." Dry Spell January's a great time for drinking wine; but with nearly everybody in the industry taking a well-deserved break between vintages, it's a pretty bad month for writing about it. So Seattle Weekly's Sips column is taking the month off , too, to return in February. Food and/or beverage news? E-mail Hot Dish at

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