Go Eat! A restaurant built around the wine

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By Julien Perry

A new Italian restaurant and wine bar is bestowing good fortune upon West Seattle.  It's called "Beato."

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"Beato in Italian means 'blessed,' " says owner Brandon Gillespie, who opened Beato in December in the former space that housed both O2 and Ovio Bistro.

"I had collected Italian wine for almost 10 years and so I had a huge collection that I basically wanted to build a restaurant around."

Born and raised in Seattle, Brandon gave up his job as an International Equities trader to attend cooking schools in both New York and Italy.

"And then I took eight months after that and just traveled from north to south, working in different kitchens in different restaurants in Italy and just kind of learned as much as I could about food and wine and Italian culture."

Brandon moved back to New York to work for Italian Wine Merchants, a boutique wine retailer co-owned by Mario Batali.

"Because I just knew that's the only place where I'd be able to combine business, wine and food everyday."

So what is it about the Italian culture that appeals to him?

"I'm not Italian, but I'm very comfortable with the wines, I'm very comfortable with the food, and for no explanation that I can give you, it just really appeals to me and it just makes sense - the way that they cook, the way that they showcase the freshness of the product, the simplicity of the food."

With the help of his head chef, Nick Devine, Brandon creates a menu of rotating dishes that are Italian-inspired.

"We use a lot of Italian ingredients, we read Italian cookbooks, we talk a lot about Italian culture and food and wine and what the different regions do. But the ingredients come from the Northwest."

With less than 50 seats in the place and a recent 3.5 star review by the Seattle Times, Brandon has his work cut out for him.

"You get this instant gratification of having these people say, 'Man, that was delicious! This bottle of wine - I've never tasted a Sandro Fay Sforzato before. Where'd you find this? This is great!' As long as I can continue to make people happy like that then that'll keep me going."
 
Places Brandon likes to "Go Eat!": Lark, Harvest Vine, Vios
 
For more information:
 
http://beatoseattle.com/
 
http://www.italianwinemerchant.com/

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