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Dinner theater comes to Schoolhouse

Famous chef joins staff

Chef Hal Sapadin

Chef Hal Sapadin is the new head of catering at The Collectors Cafe.

The Collectors Cafe by Jeff Switzer
Gourmet food and musical theater are coming to the Hollywood Schoolhouse in the month of July, featuring Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, performed by Rain City Productions.
   The Schoolhouse is also the new home for Chef Hal Sapadin, head of the new catering department in The Collectors Cafe and a 16-year veteran of the art of fine dining.
   As owner and manager of more than 10 restaurants throughout the country, Sapadin has received rave reviews for his gourmet food, including three-and-half stars for his pizza at Mercer Island's "Pizzaliano," a recent project where he quadrupled sales in six months and made John Hinterburger's Top 60 in 1994. Most recently, he was the consultant for Gilbert's Main Street Bagel Deli in Bellevue, getting it up and running.
   Sapadin also owned and operated six restaurants in Austin, Texas, including a gourmet establishment and a high-volume Italian restaurant. One restaurant, where he was Sous Chef and then Executive Chef, was rated in the Top 50 in the country by the New York Times.
   "Our goal is to be a true caterer, offering an unusual and unique setting for people to have parties in," said Sapadin. He noted that the Schoolhouse has Northern Exposure memorabilia, the jukebox from Happy Days, and the "most fantastic toy collection on the planet."
   "The combination of the setting, the drama, and the food make for a marvelous experience," he said.
   Tami Fairweather, event and marketing manager for the Schoolhouse, said that since the remodel, owners Jim and Rosemary McAuliffe have gathered a great many more items.
   "This (dinner theater) is a great way to get the community to come and see all of this," she said, motioning to the antiques. "And also a way to be more a part of the community."
   The Dinner Theater will take place in the Grand Ballroom. It is scheduled for July 7, 14, and 28, and will feature a live Dixieland-type band for the musical.
   Tours and reception are at 4 p.m., followed by dinner at 5 p.m. Cost is $40; tickets can be reserved at 481-7925.