Union Provisions turns to Nathan Thurston for help

Wade Spees/Staff Thursday, July 17, 2014

The troubled Union Provisions has hired Nathan Thurston as a consultant, a publicist for the downtown restaurant says.

According to Diana Barton of The Reynolds Group, Thurston is working on “several positive changes for the concept.”

Thurston, formerly of Stars Restaurant, is quickly acquiring a reputation as a fix-it man about town. Since leaving Stars a year ago, Thurston has been brought in to rejigger the menus and streamline the kitchens at The Americano and Basico, where he helped hire chef Bryan Cates. “Thurston Southern equipped me with the skills necessary for a smooth transition,” Cates is quoted as saying in an online blurb for Thurston’s company.

Barton wouldn’t elaborate on Thurston’s specific task list at Union Provisions.

Union Provisions opened in July, and was immediately swarmed with diners drawn to its attractive windowed façade and promised fun spins on West Coastal cooking. It’s now notable mostly for its depopulated dining room, which is hard to hide behind the expanses of pane glass on the corner of King and Morris streets. “It’s usually nearly empty, even on a recent Friday at 6 p.m.,” City Paper’s Eric Doksa wrote in his November review.

Doksa visited Union Provisions, owned by first-time restaurateurs Ben Russell-Schlesinger and Robert Young, a few months after the first major attempt to recalibrate the restaurant’s fortunes: Sous chef Chari Skinner took over for opening executive chef Shane Whiddon on Aug. 27. The switch didn’t make a significant dent in online complaints.