Tom Douglas, who sounded the alarm and closed all of his restaurants when the pandemic struck last year, is gradually returning to downtown. The James Beard Award-winning restaurateur who received $ 10 million from the US Small Business Administration’s Restaurant Revitalization Fund, plans to reopen The Carlile Room in mid-August and then Lola, according to management. It also moved its two renowned brands to the former space of the Dahlia Lounge restaurant. The downtown Serious Pie, which reopened last year, has moved to this premier building. Douglas also knocked down the wall separating Dahlia Bakery and Dahlia Lounge to expand its bread and dessert business. Unlike the old little, claustrophobic Dahlia bakery it was more for take out, the new bakery is a sit down cafe with plenty of seating inside and out. The bakery operates Wednesday through Sunday, but management is rushing to hire more pastry chefs to open daily to take advantage of the return of tourists and office workers.
For its relaunch, Douglas launched a new sweet and savory line featuring meat pies and Fossette-esque focaccia, with lemon-rosemary and other toppings and spread options. For foodies, the triple coconut cream pie remains the most synonymous with the Douglas dessert brand, but OH Mochi Donuts are more popular. Many other mochi donuts have a syrupy, sweet or cloying taste in comparison. Douglas mochi donuts are coated with real berries; they’re also denser, while retaining that plush, stretchy texture that mochi fanatics love. And of course, the peanut butter sandwich cookies are back, a favorite of the late Nora Ephron.
On Phinney Ridge, Chef Brian Clevenger opens Autumn, showcasing their handmade pasta, seafood and vegetarian dishes. Fall, however, is more Mediterranean-inspired than its other bistros. Chef Nick Chiaro, a former sous chef at Canlis, will run Clevenger’s fall kitchen, which also runs six other restaurants in town. L’Automne with 39 seats can accommodate 16 more outside on the terrace.
Technically, Tio baby is a reopening since former Westward chief Will Gordon started this business six days before the pandemic and then had to shut down by state order as a safety measure. Tio Baby’s is back, operating seven days a week inside the Rose Temple Bar on Capitol Hill, making beer sponges like hot dogs, nachos, wings and queso waffle fries.
Look who’s also back: Jackson’s Catfish Corner. Anyone who has lived within earshot of the Central District has known about this opening since the big block party hosted by Catfish Corner last month. Besides its dish of the same name, there is fried snapper, chicken wings and chicken strips. Terrell Jackson now runs the soul food cafe created in 1985 by his grandparents Woody and Rosemary Jackson. The restaurant was sold in 2009 and closed in 2012 before Jackson relaunched the concept and brought back his family’s secret recipes.
You can now get jambalaya, muffuletta and other NOLA food, and to sip, a Sazerac or the French 75 at In the heart, located at the back of Lika Love Boutique in West Seattle.
Near the beach is Natalie is on Alki, a Vietnamese bubble tea and dessert restaurant that sells fresh cane juice and staples such as grilled pork rolls. Also on the call for bubble tea: Happy lemon in the university village and Tea sharing in West Seattle. If you’re a Boba newbie, check out Amy Wong’s Bubble Tea Primer here.
On Capitol Hill, the popular pop-up Pizza Blotto launches New York-inspired pizzas in the former Chungee space. Blotto has also set up a pantry nook to sell artisan products, including tortillas from Milpa Masa in West Seattle.
Nearby, another old pop-up, Karachi Cowboys, also marked a brick and mortar space for making mostly vegetarian Indian and Pakistani rice dishes such as red lentil curry.
Sushi Edition LTD opens a short walk from Cal Anderson Park, offering omakase takeout at the moment. LTD is located in the former space of the Cure Cocktail Bar, which now shares space with the Remedium Island Grill on Capitol Hill.
In Fremont, Brandon Marie, former chef of How to Cook a Wolf, runs the kitchen at Crumby Sandwich & Spirits, which offers craft cocktails and carnivorous sammies.
For late-night Belltown-hoppers, Chef Lupe Flores will drop vegetarian and meat tacos in the deep fryer for you now that her Lebanese-Mexican fusion pop-up Situ Tacos has a fixed address at Jupiter Bar.
Shikorina pastries Chef Hana Yohannes makes brown vanilla butter cakes, homemade strawberry Pop-Tarts and pies in the Central District, with an emphasis on local, organic and fair trade ingredients.
Dué Cucina opens its third fast-casual branch in Roosevelt to present its fresh pasta and bread. Roosevelt is its largest location, with a spacious kitchen that will allow the culinary team to offer more dishes than what is served at its Capitol Hill and Kirkland branches.
Seatango Foods is Lake City’s Argentinian bakery, specializing in empanadas, from traditional beef fillings to an American-inspired breakfast version stuffed with eggs and bacon. Also on the menu: South American sandwiches and pastries.
The pop-up Garzon also manages the food cart Ekeko to sell South American inspired “drink snacks”. Look for it every Thursday at Fair Isle Brewing in the Ballard Brewery District. Fair Isle Brewing has hosted some of the best pop-ups in town and featured many talented cooks including Melissa Miranda.
Joy Paste, Ballard’s vegan food truck, focuses on plant-based donuts such as ‘the faconator’ which features maple frosting topped with coconut bacon.
One of Seattle’s most popular Vietnamese soup restaurants, Pho Bac, expands with a downtown noodle house, featuring chicken, prime rib, shrimp and vegan pho. Soon, Pho Bac will also open a bar in this downtown space.
Japanese barbecue Niku Niku is the new tenant of the Asian Food Center near Bitter Lake on Aurora Avenue North. Niku Niku is part of the new wave of Japanese steakhouses, offering wagyu and other marbled cuts that you cook at the table.
The Korean fried chicken craze continues with the arrival of Mr. Chicken in the international district of Chinatown. In Little Saigon, Sushi Avenue opens at the Pacific Rim Center.
In North Seattle, Sunflower garden offers Chinese take-out, fried rice stir-fry, as well as lunch specials from $ 9.95 to $ 10.95, including Mongolian beef and orange chicken.
Erik Jackson and Alison Odowski, who upped the White Center dining scene by hosting many stellar pop-ups and guest chef dinners at their Good Day Donuts, opened a dessert counter at a store called Cakes + Trees in the central district. Look for lemon velvet (a lemon buttermilk cake with cream cheese frosting) and a banana cake with sea salt caramel frosting.
In front of this cake stand is Honey hole, which expanded near the Seattle University campus with a full bar and large patio. Good Day Donuts and HoneyHole both made our best sandwich roundup earlier this year. Read it here.
For Momiji fans who are tired of the long wait for a seat at this Capitol Hill sushi restaurant, there is now South Momiji Lake Union, located in Amazon’s Nitro North building.
The Pan Pacific Hotel welcomes the new South lake kitchen and bar, with steak for the expense account and the obligatory cheeseburger and fried chicken sandwich for the bar crowd.
Speaking of hotels, the chic Fairmont Olympic Hotel dimmed the lights and ditched the sleek Olympic bar in the middle of the lobby as part of its $ 25 million facelift. Bartenders released a new cocktail, The Seattleite (Olympic Honey Vodka, Amaro Montenegro, espresso, lemon), made from honey from the apiaries from the hotel’s rooftop garden.
On the front of the bagel, Loxsmith Bagels, a popular pop-up, has rented space during the day to operate from the Nacho Borracho dive bar on Capitol Hill, while bagelbop, specializing in breakfast sandwiches, debuts at Pike Place Market.
For those hot summer afternoons, Creamy Cone Coffee offers 12 flavors of ice cream at Rainier Beach, while Matcha Man & Taiyaki Ice Cream debuts in Georgetown.