Chef Matthew Woolen is leading our team in the Capitol Cider kitchen and creating delicious new dishes, while playfully tweaking some of our ongoing favorites. He has been creating sweet and savory concoctions for the past two decades including with the McCracken Tough restaurant group, most notably as the Chef de Cuisine at The Old Sage, and recently Zhu Dang. His philosophy is that as stewards of this earth we have a responsibility to use everything from the food we cook with and make people think about what and why they are eating something.  When he’s not performing his duties as chef, he’s working with plants, spending time with his son and enjoying nature. He’s crafted delicious new dishes like housemade turkey corn dogs (sweet or spicy) with apple mustard and hush puppies made with cornmeal and sauerkraut batter.

What’s your favorite dish at Capitol Cider?
I’d have to say my favorite dish is the sunchokes, celebrating the American sunflower. I love thistles and sunflower seeds. I’m pretty partial to the spice-crusted lamb ribs as well.  We’re offering that as a small plate, but guests can also get full racks of lamb with three-day pre-order,  and 1/2 and full racks of pork ribs as well.  And then I have to call out the pork belly BLT  — it’s only served at lunchtime MondayFriday.  We house smoke our pork belly and it’s served with red chile aioli, caramelized onion spread & crispy shallots, and of course lettuce and tomato on toast.


What can we look forward to on the menu in the future?
I’m looking forward to introducing more down-home cooking from around the world made with northwest ingredients. My vision for the menu was to bring new spices in, to create more small plates, soups and salads; and to really have fun with the pub or bar food aspect.


Where are you happiest?
In the woods and with my family.


What inspires you?
Ethnic food, spices, my Moroccan heritage, and anything that grows from the ground.