Restaurateur: Kelley Jones

Kelley of Hospitality Alliance shares his dining concept for Avenue that’s entirely new to Bellevue and puts the city on the culinary map.

Kelley Jones

We want the guest to be amazed at the space the minute they step inside. We want to appeal to all five senses.

Creating a Fusion Dining
Concept for Avenue

New restaurant concepts are redefining not just how we think about food but how we experience a night (or day) out. For an award-winning consulting company, creating a new restaurant concept can be as exciting and challenging as it is for a chef to come up with a new dish. In both cases, the aim is to create something that will be as exhilarating to the eyes as it is to the taste buds.

To create a dining concept for Avenue that’s entirely new to Bellevue and puts the city on the culinary map, Fortress engaged Hospitality Alliance, a national management, development and consulting company made up of experts in different areas of the hotel and food and beverage industries. “This restaurant concept for Bellevue will be similar to a Buddakan,” says Kelley Jones, co-founder of Hospitality Alliance. Throughout his career, the industry veteran has opened a number of celebrated restaurants, including the iconic Buddakan in New York and another one in Atlantic City. “What we are creating for Avenue is a high energy Asian fusion restaurant where the menu consists of large plates meant for sharing,” he says. “The concept is a communal vibe that encourages sharing and interacting.”

Before getting into the creative process for the restaurant, Jones and his team visited Bellevue on multiple occasions, eating and drinking their way across the city. “What we saw was a void in Asian vibe cuisine,” says Jones. From that observation, the team started generating ideas of what an Asian restaurant in Avenue could look like, sound like, smell like. “The exciting part of the project for us is to create something very special for the Bellevue community as well as for the hotel guests,” he says.

Jones describes vivid interiors that will pop with color, and beautiful screens that will be used to divide seating areas. “We always incorporate visual items that are Instagrammable,” he says. Sight lines will be thoughtful with interesting props and lighting. There will be exquisite fabrics and wall coverings, perhaps ornate chandeliers and gilded details to kick the senses into overdrive. Specially curated art pieces will add a sense of drama to a room made even more dramatic by the high ceilings and natural light that floods in. And, of course, there will be an open kitchen to tempt the senses of smell and taste. Day or night, the music programming will create a welcoming atmosphere, one that will make guests want to linger, enjoying every bite and every sip. “What we are after is a sense of wow,” says Jones. “We want the guest to be amazed at the space the minute they step inside. We want to appeal to all five senses.”

The restaurant will be a destination in its own right, one that lures couples looking for a provocative dining experience. But, he says, flexible seating that can accommodate large groups means the restaurant will be equally alluring as a place to go for big celebrations and everyday occasions, family outings and a night out with colleagues.

From seafood to dim sum and house specialties like, perhaps, whole Peking duck, the menu itself will be designed to be shared. The menu will be modern, inspired by traditions and vivid flavors from across the Asian continent but always focusing on products sourced locally. “We always tailor the food and beverage offerings to include local and sustainable ingredients. Our team also collaborates with local culinary and mixology talent on menu development,” says Jones. The end result will be a menu that surprises and delights, and where each dish will be presented like a work of art. After all, says Jones, “people eat with their eyes before anything else.”