Team Tom Douglas

Tom Douglas has been a force in the Pacific Northwest culinary culture for decades, and his presence continues to permeate the region with “low and slow” cooking, dynamic dining rooms, and seriously good pie. His most recent installment of the self-described “pizzeria with a bread baker’s soul” opened in August at The Village at Totem Lake.

Douglas’ first Serious Pie started serving in 2006 on Virginia Street between Third and Fourth Avenue in downtown Seattle. Since then, the Italian eatery has multiplied and created something of a cult following. The secret to its success?

“In crust, we trust,” says Douglas. “It's a fermented dough that has a lot of character. It's very hydrated, so it's crispy in the oven. We cook our pizza at a lower temperature than most pizzerias so that we get a firmer fix.”

Serious Pie now has three locations open in the area, including its original restaurant in downtown and one in Ballard. Douglas’ success outside the chain continues at other long-loved local haunts, showing his versatility as a chef and resilience as a restaurateur. His distinctly different offerings include the Carlile Room ⁠— serving swanky sixties and seventies vibes with modern American cuisine by the Paramount Theatre, Dahlia Bakery around the corner from the original Serious Pie, and Seatown Rub Shack and Fish Fry on the outskirts of Pike Place Market. (For a full list of open restaurants, visit TomDouglas.com.)

While Douglas credits crust as a unique draw that keeps people craving Serious Pie, he says his overall success is inextricably linked to the talent and dedication of the people around him.

“I have a few business partners. Some of them are part owners and others are directors…We have an ownership team because we've spread out a little bit,” he says.

Team “TD & Co.” includes his co-founder and wife Jackie, daughter Loretta as Managing Director and General Counsel (as well as namesake for his “Etta's” restaurant), Managing Partner and Chef Eric Tanaka, Director of Business Development Amy Richardson (who Douglas says “does all the imagining and dreaming of our places”), Operations Director Sean Hartley, Restaurant Director Brock Johnson, Finance Director Adriana Fox, and Serious Pie Director Tony Catini.

Since surviving the pandemic’s blows of shutdowns, gut-wrenching layoffs, and lingering unknowns, Douglas cherishes his staff and partners more than ever. 

“They take real pride and [spend] literally hours and hours and hours to make these places what they are…That's something I recognize more now. I'm not so clouded with all the things that I'm doing, and I see the effort going on day in, day out, in a more real way…This team is doing such good work.”

Looking ahead, Douglas is optimistic about the future of TD & Co. and the community it serves. Even during the dog days of 2020, he saw Seattle’s strength in adaptability.

“Seatown, when the pandemic hit, was the only restaurant that we owned at the time that had outdoor availability…I’ll never forget shucking oysters when it was 25 degrees out of a snowdrift of ten inches. I just shoveled off the patio, and we had our heaters on. You couldn't eat indoors, and the place was packed. People were just sitting there drinking hot chocolate and whiskey ciders…It just it gave me so much hope. And I think it upturned my emotional thinking that this is a temporary thing, this isn't forever, and that we'll be back.”

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