Ever since the Kimball House team announced last fall that they would be opening Watchman’s Seafood & Spirits in the former Luminary space at Krog Street Market, aficionados of quality seafood and finely crafted cocktails have kept watchful eyes on developments. As renovations move ahead, the lineup of the Watchman’s staff is also taking shape.
Tapped as executive chef is Daniel Chance. He had worked about five years at various of Anne Quatrano’s restaurants, including Bacchanalia, the now defunct Abattoir and at Star Provisions before moving to its sister restaurant W.H. Stiles Fish Camp when it debuted at Ponce City Market in the fall of 2015. He departed there in December and has been working as a chef consultant role on a variety of projects.
“We knew he was passionate about seafood,” said Watchman’s partner Miles Macquarrie about Chance. “He has a lot of the same ideologies we do, especially regarding sustainable seafood.”
“I’ve had a lot of exposure to seafood,” said Chance. “My passion for seafood stems from going down to St. Simon’s and catching crab off the pier with my father to commercial fishing in Alaska in 2006.”
Even though Chance worked the fish station at numerous restaurants in his career, “I didn’t consider myself a seafood chef until Annie (Quatrano) was like ‘You’re good at seafood.’” It was then that she tapped him to as the executive chef at W. H. Stiles Fish Camp.
The fare at Watchman’s will be “mostly Southern sustainable – from south of the Chesapeake all the way down to east of Texas,” Chance said. The restaurant will offer roughly a dozen oyster varieties, with as many as possible sourced from the South, according to Chance. Besides the raw bar, diners can expect approximately a dozen small plates, six to seven large plates, eight side dishes and a small dessert menu.
Initially, it will only serve dinner, with lunch service to be added later.
Serving sustainable seafood dishes is one part of the Watchman’s equation. The other part is its beverage program. Adrian Fessenden-Kroll, who has worked as a bartender at Kimball House since it opened in 2013, will manage the Watchman’s bar. Also behind the bar will be Kate Flowe. Currently a bartender at Paper Crane, she was also among Kimball House’s opening bar staff. “That will a fun dynamic back there,” Macquarrie said of the duo.
“We have all the key pieces in place,” Macquarrie said, although he noted that a few employees from Kimball House may be brought over to Watchman’s to lend support. “We’re stocked with talent there right now.”
According to Macquarrie, Watchman’s is on pace to open the end of May or early June. “If we can hit it by Memorial Day weekend, that would be great.”