A Delaware native, Tom Douglas started cooking at the Hotel DuPont in Wilmington, Delaware before heading west to Seattle in 1978. From house building to wine selling to railroad car repair, Tom tried his hand at several jobs before settling on the restaurant business as his final career choice. Never having attended a culinary school, Tom's cooking knowledge comes mostly from dining out across America and Europe, using his "taste memory" to recreate and develop recipes in his own style.
Starting with the acclaimed Cafe Sport in 1984, Tom's cuisine helped define the Northwest style. Tom's creativity with local ingredients and his respect for Seattle's ethnic traditions have earned his four restaurants a place on the national culinary map. In November 1989, Douglas left the comfortable confines of Cafe Sport to start his own restaurant, Dahlia Lounge, which soon became one of the Northwest's premiere restaurants, winning wide acclaim both regionally and internationally. Tom won the James Beard Association Award for Best Northwest Chef in 1994. The Dahlia moved in May, 2001, to a newly renovated building just one block up the street from the original location on 4th Avenue, and Tom's retail bakery, Dahlia Bakery, opened in 2001.
In February,1995, Tom and Jackie Cross, his wife and business partner, opened their second restaurant after an extensive remodel of the old Cafe Sport location in the Pike Place Market. Etta's, named after their daughter Loretta, allows Tom to showcase his unique cooking style using the best seafood available.
Tom and Jackie opened Palace Kitchen in March, 1996. The Palace offers a menu more rustic in style, with a wood-fired grill offering nightly rotisserie specials. As much an up-scale bar as it is restaurant, Palace Kitchen is a lively downtown favorite with Seattleites, serving a full menu until 1:00 AM, seven nights a week. Palace Kitchen was nominated by the James Beard Association as one of the country's best new restaurants in 1996.
Lola, Tom and Jackie's fourth restaurant, opened July, 2004 with a Greek inspired menu combining local Northwest ingredients with Mediterranean freshness and simplicity. In his second cookbook, Tom wrote "Jackie & I have several 'new restaurant' fantasies, and one idea that we have been discussing for years is opening a Greek restaurant in Seattle." With Lola, they've done just that.
Tom Douglas' Catering and Events offers Tom's catering clients the same outstanding experiences they have come to expect in his memorable restaurants, while also overseeing concessions at both the Paramount & Moore Theaters. The Palace Ballroom, a banquet space, opened in November of 2004. With it's exposed brick walls and vintage windows, it's a welcome spot for any feast or fete.
Tom Douglas' Rub with Love spice rubs, introduced May, 1999, are available in eight different flavors for everything from salmon to steak to chicken. Currently, the Tom Douglas Seattle Kitchen product line also includes two different flavors of Tom Douglas Redhook Barbecue Sauces and three flavors of Tom Douglas Seattle Kitchen Teriyaki Sauces. Tom's first cookbook, Tom Douglas' Seattle Kitchen (Morrow/Harper Collins,2001), was honored with a James Beard Association Award for Best Americana Cookbook. Tom's second book, Tom's Big Dinners (Morrow/Harper Collins, 2003), features his secrets of home entertaining.