Smallwares fans can taste the crispy leaves of chef Johanna Ware’s fried kale again: Wares is officially open at 2707 NE Sandy Blvd., inside The Zipper micro-restaurant complex. “I've only worked in fine dining, so I’m still getting used to a smaller space,” Ware says. “But all our regulars are coming in, and we're making it feel cozy.”
Wares turned on the lights on February 17, and with four four-top tables, it walks the line between a micro-restaurant and a restaurant. “Which will it be?” says Ware. “It’s yet to be determined.” All of the micro-restaurants at The Zipper also share communal seating, with indoor and outdoor options.
The full Wares menu is available online, and as promised, it includes ramen—specifically chicken ramen with a poached egg, chili paste, and pickled turnips—along with plates like Sichuan egg noodles, kimchi stew, and rice bowls. Specials have their own section, and today, Ware is doing a seared salmon salad, involving kimchi 1000 island dressing. Experimentation is clearly at the center of the new agenda, and the menu is a mix of small- and regular-sized plates.
Wares operates Tuesday through Sunday, from 11 a.m. to midnight. On Saturdays and Sundays, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., it serves Ware’s popular Asian-inspired brunch, in addition to the regular menu. And starting March 13, Wares will expand its hours to include Mondays, with dollar oysters at select times.
The only late-night food option at The Zipper, Wares may launch collaborations with the onsite bar, Paydirt, too. But it serves its own drinks, if you’d prefer to stay within its walls. Find a solid wines-by-the-glass selection focused on French producers, plus local craft beers in can-form.
When asked what she’s most excited for in the new space, Ware says foot traffic. “It’s such a central location. And it's amazing to see my whole restaurant at once. It's so manageable. We're going to push the limits.”