In the Kitchen With Mike Whisenhunt at Brimmer & Heeltap

Seattle restaurant Brimmer & Heeltap, which opened its doors in 2012, was inspired by community. The premise: “a neighborhood joint that everyone can spill into after work,” says Mike Whisenhunt, the concept’s co-founder and chef.

“The name came from my partner, Jen [Doak],” he says. “She really fell in love with the British pub, where it was more of a neighborhood thing, and it’s about the time spent from when it’s brimming full to the time that the heeltap is left, which is the little dribble at the end.”

But it’s the time in between that matters most.

Housed in a beautiful space that was once a grocery store, Brimmer & Heeltap’s venue is filled with a mix of clean, eclectic design no matter where you look — from the outside patio, to the bar, to the dining spaces. 

“We try to create a space that is clean and efficient and happy and fun and bold and playful,” says Whisenhunt.

It seems to be working.

Grilled pork shoulder steak

Grilled pork shoulder steak

Steak tartare

Steak tartare

“Our biggest challenge was the fact that we had never run our own restaurant,” says Whisenhunt. “We had a vision about what we wanted to do — I had a vision of the food, Jen has this amazing vision of service and making the connections with customers — and not only our customers, but our team here is really important to us.” A lot of hard work and vision allowed them to get to this point. And the resources available within the Pacific Northwest certainly didn’t hurt, either.

“Seattle has a bounty of produce and seafood, farmers… I mean, it’s literally just a booming business, and Seattle has great weather — we never are too hot, we’re never too cold. Seattle just has the best bounty that I can even imagine.”

In this “Table 42” vignette, we join Whisenhunt in his space and in the kitchen, where he shows us how to make Brimmer & Heeltap’s grilled pork shoulder steak (with Boston butt pork shoulder, brined in sugar, salt, chili powder, all spice, Baileys, thyme, and garlic) and steak tartare. 

Whisenhunt has traveled to various other parts of the country, but says he’s never felt at home anywhere else. And, in part, the same sentiment is given about his guests.

“I want people to walk away having a great time and feeling that this is their escape from their home or from work or wherever, and we want them to feel like part of the family here.”