Bar Taglio is now Bar Solea, a new trattoria in downtown Seattle

ByShannon J. Cortes

Oct 11, 2022

Seattle restaurateur and chef Brendan McGill announced today that he is opening a trattoria serving Neapolitan pizza, antipasto, ice cream and roast meat, seafood and vegetables in the former Bar Taglio space on 1st Avenue in downtown Seattle.

McGill originally opened Bar Taglio, a pizza bar, in 2019 to meet the needs of downtown offices. But when the pandemic hit, tech workers started working from home, and Bar Taglio went through a series of pivots to try to stay afloat, the most recent of which was a Roman-style slice shop.

McGill hopes Bar Solea, which opens Nov. 1, will serve as a neighborhood restaurant for locals, while offering a menu exciting enough to make it an interesting destination for diners from other parts of the city. Earlier this year, McGill transformed Hitchcock, its original Bainbridge Island restaurant, into Seabird, an ambitious on-site only seafood restaurant, in a similar shift away from the pandemic-era focus on the fast service and take-out.

“Bar Taglio was exactly what I wanted it to be for four months in 2019,” says McGill. “I want a clear vision and start over with a whole restaurant like it was the first time I opened this space.”

The bar at Bar Solea.
Suzi Prat

Joseph Walter, a chef who worked for McGill at its Bainbridge Bruciato and Seabird restaurants, will serve as head chef at Bar Solea, and he and McGill have written a menu based on classic Italian flavors, with creative PNW twists, for the restaurant.

Bar Solea’s pizza will be neo-Neapolitan, quite similar to classic Neapolitan pizza, but with tweaks like using local wholemeal flour in the dough and baking at a slightly lower temperature for a crispier crust. Each pizza will be stretched and cooked to order. The tomato base of each pizza will be made with Solea tomatoes, the variety used in the best pizzerias in Naples. Toppings include classic Italian ingredients like prosciutto, buffalo mozzarella, coppa, and soppressata, as well as seasonal PNW ingredients like lobster mushrooms. McGill says Walter is one of the few chefs he knows who is as good at making pizza as any other type of food.

Antipasti will include salumi that McGill and Walter recently cured with meat from the mangalitsa pigs that McGill raises on its farm on Bainbridge Island, as well as other snacks like meatballs in tomato sauce, burrata with roasted squash and albacore crudo with beets, oil-dried olives and pickled red onion.

The forno (oven) menu will include roasted redfish, clams cooked in wine, lamb chops served with an anchovy vinaigrette and a dish of locally raised rabbit with a mushroom and tomato stew, pearl onions and bacon bits of pancetta.

McGill, a lifelong student of Italian cuisine, also uses Bar Solea to learn about ancient Roman cuisine, which was developed before Italian colonizers brought tomatoes and peppers from the New World, a time when fish sauce was widely used to season food in Europe. An example on the opening menu is a dish of roasted carrots with anchovy garum (roman fish sauce), golden raisins, cumin and pine nuts.

Tony Lombardi, the beverage director of the McGill restaurant group, has compiled a list of Italian wines (mostly from the Campania and Veneto regions) to pair with pizza for the bar, and Bar Taglio’s Negroni on tap ( which McGill calls a “Nitroni”) is always on the drink menu, along with a variety of spritzes, Italian amaros, Italian vermouths, homemade gelato, and espresso-based drinks. While Bar Solea is meant to be a dine-in spot, McGill wants people stepping out of the nearby Seattle Art Museum or going to a sports game to also be able to drop by for an espresso, ice cream, or coffee. amaro kick for a pick-me-up.

Restaurants in the neighborhood around Bar Taglio were among the hardest hit when the pandemic began. Now McGill says it sees a quiet renaissance as downtown slowly begins to wake up from its pandemic-induced slumber.

“Hopefully now is the time for this regrowth, because someone has to do it,” McGill said. “It’s the heart of Seattle.

Bar Solea is located at 822 1st Ave. It will be open from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Reservations will be available at Bar Soléa website.