Kelnero to join Main Street’s bars and restaurants

Cocktail lounge coming to Edmonds
By Brian Soergel | Aug 09, 2018
Photo by: Brian Soergel Kali and Kris Kelnero hope to open their lounge on Main Street in Edmonds later this year.

Kali and Kris Kelnero are more than ready to jump into Edmonds’ rapidly growing bar/restaurant/lounge scene.

You may have spotted the progress of an outdoor patio at 545 Main St., which is part of the transformation of a single-level dentist’s office into what the Kelneros envision as a business the city lacks – a true lounge and cocktail bar.

The name? Kelnero, Esperanto for “bartender,” a name Kali and Kris like so much they adopted it for their surname after marrying in 2015.

“We picked it because we don’t mind having a last name based on a profession,” Kali said. “But we were both working as bartenders at the time, which is a pretty stupid last name. It’s kind of ‘woo-woo’ a bit, but, you know, we like international peace.”

It’s all part of a dream come true for the young couple – Kali is 32 and Kris 31 – who you may recognize from their bartending and serving duties at Shubert Ho and Andrew Leckie’s Salt & Iron restaurant.

After taking time off after their marriage to see the world, the Edmonds residents – Kali graduated from Edmonds-Woodway High and Kris from Mountlake Terrace High – worked and put aside money when they could, with an eye on their own business. They briefly considered the former Baicha Tea Room – now home to Barkada – but deemed it too pricey.

“So we thought we needed to think out of the box a little bit,” Kali said. “Buying an existing restaurant is just expensive. But we thought we could handle a remodel. So we were looking at any lease we could find.”

They found it, thanks to a for-lease sign spied outside 545 Main, placed there by Bryan and Cheryl Stewart, who also own the building next door, Stewart Family Chiropractic.

“They were really excited about their neighbor being a cocktail bar,” Kali said with a laugh.

The Kelneros stress that their business really does intend to offer a cocktail bar and lounge atmosphere, complete with heavy drapes, exposed brick walls, a piano, lounge chair and semi-private lounge areas for groups.

“It’s a lounge in the sense that people can stay awhile and not necessary just come in, order a drink and leave,” Kali said.

The are gutting the interior – it was a dentist’s office, after all. A main feature will be a long, wooden bar Kris is crafting.

“The bar is shaped in a way where people can talk to each other, but also have a little interaction with the bartenders,” said Kali, who envisions Kelnero being a place for celebrating birthdays, a date-night hot spot, or simply just to hang out.

Of course, Kelnero also could be a regular spot for those bar-hopping downtown.

Kali said that she and Kris, just joking around, thought their motto could be “It’s all downhill from here” – as Kelnero is at the top of Main Street’s business district.

The Kelneros plan to offer food – they’re converting a kitchenette into a kitchen – but emphasize that small plates will be on the menu.

The food will be regional, very Pacific Northwest-inspired, always seasonal. Options could include soups, salads, pasta, oysters, charcuterie and mushroom dishes to start. Nothing fried – the Kelneros say they only will offer healthy options and skip the happy-hour-style fare.

They plan to bring in John Perez from Bounty Kitchen in Queen Anne to take over the kitchen.

Of course, Kelnero will emphasize its drinks – and Kali and Kris plan a prodigious selection.

“You can really try something new with our cocktails,” Kali said, adding that she had someone in mind to be the main bartender. “We want to make it accessible for people to try things they’ve never tried before, and see things they’ve never seen on a shelf in Edmonds.”

They also will emphasize local beer and wine, in addition to select imported options.

Who needs Seattle?

Kelnero will join a number of establishments where you can order an Old Fashioned, Lemon Drop, martini and a bevy of signature cocktails, such as at 190 Sunset, Epulo, Daphnes, the Loft, Salt & Iron, Engel’s, Demetris, FIVE, and Anthony’s.

190 Sunset has Niles Peacock, an award-winning mixologist. Daphnes has Desmond Van Rensburg. But the former is a restaurant, while the latter is a tiny bar where the lively is Desmond a big attraction.

The Kelneros think they have a singular establishment in the works, one that will complement the others and add to what is certainly a revival in dining and imbibing in Edmonds.

Kali, who is on the front lines of the dining-and-drink scene, said she’s seeing more people from out of town coming to Edmonds. At the same time, locals who once may have driven to Seattle now have plenty of options here at home.

The Kelneros illustrate this perfectly.

“We went to Seattle for a Sounders game a while ago,” Kali said, “and it was just such the typical nouveau-going-to-Seattle experience, where we flew all the way down on the backroads, taking 15th to Elliott.

“Then to get from downtown to where the stadium is, it took like an hour and 15 minutes. So it was like two hours driving there. We were cranky, we go to this restaurant we used to love, and learned that it changed ownership. We just didn’t like it.

“And then we go to the game and spend $12 on a beer. Then we’re tired, and we still have to drive home. Just going to Seattle has become a pain.

“Now, there’s options for going out in Edmonds. And if you want a cocktail, there’s also options.”

 

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