Everett’s Flying Pig sells to new business partners

EVERETT — The Flying Pig Food and Beverage Co., a fixture on Colby Avenue for the past 10 years, is under new ownership and management this week.

Joel Starr, who co-founded the Flying Pig, has sold the business to HB Hospitality LLC, a new partnership that includes decades of food industry experience.

Regulars to the restaurant and bar shouldn’t expect big changes, reassured Omendra Jayasundara, one of the new owners.

“We’re going to continue Joel’s concept here,” said Jayasundara, who lives in south King County.

The new ownership has brought in Raun ­Sutton, former executive chef at the Doubletree hotel in Southcenter. He said he wants to learn what the Flying Pig’s clientele likes before refreshing the menu. One of the things that’s impressed him, he said, is the range of customers the business attracts.

Starr said he’s confident he’s handing off the business to a good team.

“These guys have been very complementary and understanding in what the Flying Pig is about,” he said.

When Starr and a business partner launched the Flying Pig in 1997, downtown Everett’s dinner and nighttime crowds were scarce. But the restaurant established itself well before the opening of the Everett Events Center helped to bring a bigger after-hours population to the downtown blocks.

Originally a brew-pub, the Flying Pig took out its brewing operation in 2005 to create a larger dining space. That move also allowed him legally to open Tailgater Joe’s sports bar on Hewitt Avenue.

In the meantime, Starr’s been active in advocating downtown Everett’s growth, as well as in charitable causes.

He’s not leaving downtown, either. Starr said he wants more time to focus on Tailgater Joe’s and his family. He said the sports bar, something he’s wanted to do since even before opening the Flying Pig, will grow in the near future.

He also will be a consultant to the Flying Pig’s new owners. To ease the transition, which was announced to Flying Pig employees on Sunday, his wife Kerri will remain involved with the Flying Pig until the year’s end.

There’s also a chance the Flying Pig name could expand. Jayasundara said HB Hospitality is open to the idea of opening other locations under that name.

“Joel’s created a name brand in the area that we plan to continue and take to the next level,” he said.

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