Seattle Pop-Up Tio Baby’s is now a permanent bar in Fremont
Former Westward chef Will Gordon’s pop-up Tio Baby’s has garnered a loyal following during his seven months cooking at Capitol Hill’s Rose Temple bar. Last summer, this was easily one of the best places to grab a snack after a night out drinking or smoking weed around the neighborhood.
Now Gordon is ditching high-end dining altogether to make the kind of food he’s loved since he was a teenager: wings, nachos, fries, and other bites you crave when you’re too tired or drunk to eat. worry about fine dining or Michelin star service, and all you want is something that has salt, fat, and a satisfying crunch. Gordon recently opened Tio Baby’s as a full bar on Stone Way in Fremont in the former 45-seat Bar Charlie space, bringing the same food he’s become known for to Rose Temple in another part of town.
Gordon describes himself as “a kind of line cook” who drinks a lot of White Claw and whisky, and he says that during his years working in the food industry (as Sous Chef of How to Cook a Wolf, between others in Seattle and San Francisco), he always felt like he was cooking food that he should cook, not what he actually wanted to cook. Although he says he enjoys going out to fine dining restaurants in Seattle, Gordon began his culinary career as a dishwasher at a Mexican restaurant on San Juan Island, where he grew up. And nothing has ever topped its staff meal at this restaurant – a plate of cheese nachos eaten from a cardboard box after a long shift.
After nights of cooking with tweezers at expensive Seattle restaurants, Gordon often hung out with his friend and former roommate Andrew Nienhaus, now his partner at Tio Baby’s. “We were smoking weed, watching TV and talking about how we just wanted to have this bar with killer nachos and chicken wings,” Gordon says. “Tio Baby’s is the bar we always dream of.”
Beyond wings and nachos, the bar offers snacks like candied peanuts, escabeche pickles, fries and queso, fries and salsa, and marinated olives from Castelvetrano, as well as entrees from vegetables like salsa macha, green beans and butter lettuce salad with plums, nigella seeds, mint. , and a whipped tahini dressing. There are also fast food-inspired dishes like a rib sandwich “intended to be a really good version of the McRib.” (Fast food is another of Gordon’s loves, and he once served his version of a Taco Bell Crunchwrap Supreme in a collab with Seattle pop-up Chachi’s.)
The drink menu, created by bar manager Russel Berry, is mostly summery and drinkable, like a White Claw, and focuses on classics like margaritas (all are under $14). Gordon says he wants his bar to be an affordable neighborhood spot where people can come several days a week. As a whiskey drinker, his favorite cocktail on the menu is the Louisiana Spring, which features Four Roses bourbon and strawberry lemonade.
The space’s decorations, which used to be quite subdued, with concrete floors, high ceilings, and exposed pipes, are now as fun and loud as the menus. A gold-framed portrait of Danny Devito as Frank de It’s always sunny in Philadelphia, by Seattle artist Craig Cundiff, hangs behind the bar. Two eagles fight over an El Camino in a mural on another wall. And the hallway to the bathroom is covered in orange and red wavy wallpaper. There is also a fire pit and several seats outside on the sidewalk.
It seems Gordon has found his calling as a chef at Tio Baby’s, and he has no plans for any new ventures or big changes to the concept in the future. But as it settles, expect burritos and rotating specials on the menu soon.