Seattle’s Most Influential People of 2011 | Laura Olson and Chris Pardo


We couldn’t be more proud of our good friends and business partners Laura Olson and Chris Pardo. Not only do they make up 1/2 of The Social, but their expertise, skill and passion for new business ventures has them leaving their mark all over Seattle. So it’s really with no surprise that Seattle Magazine has included them in their Most Influential People of 2011 category.

Laura’s passion for both food and community has led to a range of unique and delicious restaurants around the city. Starting with Po Dog, Laura has since expanded Seattle’s dining palette with places such as Grim’s, Auto Battery, Manhattan Drugs and Detention. Chris’ expertise in architecture, business and modern design (he co-founded Pb elemental architecture in 2004) works hand-in-hand as the aesthetic principal in these establishments.

If you went to the Ruckus PRIDE events in The Woods or the series of birthday bashes we held in their Butterfly Lounge you’ve already experienced a taste of what these two have created together. Its exciting to see their drive, marketing savvy and passion pay off- especially after years of HARD work. Congratulations Laura and Chris- you deserve it!

Chris Pardo & Laura Olson

Seattle’s nightlife dream team, Chris Pardo and fiancée Laura Olson, know what it takes to create a successful business—and it’s a good thing, since they’re apparently unstoppable, opening three new Seattle restaurants and bars in 2010 and another four this year. “Since the first Po Dog [hot dog joint on Capitol Hill], we have always approached any business with the same rules: It has to be a place we would want to go on a regular basis, it has to be in a neighborhood we love and it has to offer products that fit a niche for the community,” says Pardo, cofounder of Pb Elemental architecture. One restaurant, Grim’s Provisions and Spirits on Capitol Hill, holds a special place in their hearts. “It was exciting to see each other’s ideas become reality,” says Pardo. “I think Grim’s has been a hit partially due to its intimate-sized rooms, but also by continuing the theme of offering high-quality ingredients and design in a reasonable price range that is accessible to all walks of life.” We also think the pair’s restaurants are a hit because they strike just the right pop-culture chord; in July, the pair opened Detention Restaurant and Bar, a school-lunch-themed restaurant in the University District. Up next? The Social, an 8,000-square-foot dance club, and steak joint Manhattan Drugs, both slated to open on Capitol Hill at press time. –Cayla Lambier

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