Behind the Fork: A chat with owners Michael and Joey
Updated: Nov 23, 2019
Have you ever wondered why is it called ‘The Pretty Fork’ - you know it’s delicious but what's the story behind the company taking Seattle by storm? Well, when Joey Manley and Michael Watts invited their closest friends and family to Poco Wine & Spirits in June of 2014, there’s no way their guests could know what they were in for. And that was the point. Michael and Joey were introducing Seattle to a new way of enjoying food and in the years since they have disrupted the way diners go out to eat with progressive dinners and personalized events.
How did you come up with the idea for TPF?
Michael Watts: Dining out is huge, but it’s become routine. You hesitate to try a new restaurant because the service might be off, it might be busy, and you become stuck in a rut. We remove all those blockers so people can just have a good time.
Joey Manley: We give people the opportunity to experience food without the worry about where to go, what to order or how to split the bill. We communicate all dietary restrictions to the restaurants so diners can have a truly carefree experience exploring new neighborhoods.
How did you come up with the name?
JM: So that is a funny story. At the beginning of our relationship, like any new couple, we would have the most random talks. In one of them, we decided that Michael is the “smart” spoon and I am the “pretty” fork and we joked for a while about how we should get tattoos of a fork and a spoon. A few years later 2013 in San Antonio we marched into a random tattoo joint and now Michael has a spoon on his right outer calf and I have a fork to match on my left outer calf.
We love our tattoos. We view them as a symbol in our relationship. This was well before The Pretty Fork had even been a thought in our minds, and I was still working at the Hard Rock Café in downtown Seattle. When we thought about ways to shake up the restaurant industry and started thinking of names, and the Pretty Fork just fit.
What’s your favorite Seattle restaurant right now, and why?
MW: Cuidad in Georgetown. They are a meat and vegetable-focused restaurant. When you walk through the heavy metal door that opens into what must have been an old garage, you think, this could be a speakeasy, with faded paint and an open kitchen in the back. It has a warm, comforting feel like the old town Guadalajara. You sit down at heavy wood tables and see a largely meat-focused menu. You’ve got to get their tasting menu. It’s only $45. We got flank steak, grilled octopus, smoked figs and a slew of other incredible treats. It was the perfect amount of food. Every bite was flavored nicely but wasn’t overdone. It was simple, it was classic, and we were in love.