By Rosin Saez, with Rashi Bhogal
May 27, 2016
Whether known for a plethora of diverse cuisines, such as the restaurants and markets of Rainier Valley, or for a strong cultural history, like that of the International District, Seattle’s neighborhoods each unquestionably have a unique character. And with so much to do and see, we’ve decided to create an insider’s guide to some of Seattle’s ethnically diverse areas—a neighborhood day-trip planner if you will.
Ethnic Seattle will be spotlighting a new neighborhood each month—almost like a local bucket list—describing the ins and outs of some of our favorite spots. From cafes to markets, bars to clothing stores, restaurants (we’re constantly eating in the name of good journalism) to, heck, even kombucha taprooms (totally a thing), we’ll be covering it.
Without further ado, our Neighborhood Spotlight on the Central District.
This independent coffee roaster has three—soon to be four—locations across the city, and their very first cafe landed in Central District in 2008. After opening up shops in the Capitol Hill and Roosevelt neighborhoods, owner Barry Faught is bringing Broadcast Coffee back to its roots.
Yup, Central District will see its second spot, but this time it will serve as Broadcast Coffee’s headquarters, housing a roasting facility, production space, and a small cafe as well. Look for coffee tastings aka cuppings, classes for brewing at home, and some basic barista classes in addition to the usual cafe offerings. And last, but certainly not least, there will be a back patio upon which to sip coffee that was roasted a mere few hundred feet away. Classic Seattle. It’s slated to open this fall, but in the meantime the Broadcast Coffee on Yesler is still the CD go-to.
Perched on E Union Street a few blocks down from Noble Spirits Seattle lies Magpie, a children’s clothing store which features its own line of products made in house. Magpie strives to use vintage fabrics and recycled organic goods manufactured in the U.S. The merchandise is focused on contemporary, functional, and multipurpose designs made for everyday use. The store also features fun toys such as craft kits, art supplies, and puzzles as well as a ton of classic children’s books—makes sense since their motto is to encourage creativity in children.
Check out Magpie for its closing sale, most items will be marked off by at least 25%. In addition to clothes and accessories, the store will also be selling fabrics and sewing equipment. No word yet on when the store will shut its doors but the sale can be expected to go from two weeks to a month. Stay tuned to Magpie’s Facebook for any updates on the shop and its pending closure.
2002 E Union St, (206) 860- 6035, Tue thru Sat 10–5, closed Mon & Sun, website
Fat’s Chicken and Waffles
A fairly recent addition to the corner of Cherry St and Martin Luther King Jr Way, Fat’s Chicken and Waffles opened up in fall of last year. It was formerly occupied by the beloved Catfish Corner (which is hoping to return to the CD again soon), so it certainly has some very soulful shoes to fill. Luckily with dishes like shrimp and grits, red beans and rice, fried catfish sandwich, and of course the titular chicken and waffles, this restaurant delivers on the New Orleans–style fare.
Other than food, Fat’s also serves ear candy, that is, DJ nights on Tuesdays from 6 to 8. Local DJs spin music while diners fill up on chicken and waffles—a beautiful, multi-sensory meal.
Here you’ll find brunch on the weekends serving shrimp and grits with eggs, biscuits with andouille sausage gravy, Fat’s eggs benedict with fried green tomato, and more. Happy hour runs Tuesday through Friday from 3 to 5:30: $2 Rainiers, $4 wells, sweet tea and vodka or whiskey for $4, plus a handful of satisfying small plates. See the Fat’s Chicken and Waffles website for more details on food and drink, and their Facebook for info on DJ nights.
ARTS & CULTURE
The Northwest African American Museum
The Northwest African American Museum which opened in 2008, is certainly worth checking out. Whether you’ve visited before or not, there are always new exhibits to see and exciting things to learn through the museum’s educational programs. Over Memorial Day weekend, discover your family’s civil war history with the help of volunteers from noon to 4 on May 28 and 29. The museum incorporates history, religion, art, and culture to illuminate how these factors have influenced African Americans in the Pacific Northwest. Pro tip: The first Thursday of every month is free so be sure to check out their latest exhibit, Posing Beauty in African American Culture.
NEW IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD
Not too far from Magpie, is the new Communitea Kombucha. That’s right, a bona fied kombucha brewery, or kombuchery, and tasting room just off Union marks that we’ve reached peak hipsterism…and we love it. While you’ve likely been able to take home bottles of their kombucha from local markets and grocery stores, or perhaps even tried it on tap at Oddfellows Cafe, Sunlight Cafe, Blossom Vegetarian, or at the Central Co-op, now you can visit them at 2409 21st Ave.
Kombucha, if you’re wondering, is a delightfully effervescent probiotic drink full of beneficial bacteria that creates a slightly sweet (while still low in sugar) and tangy flavor during the fermentation process. When you stop by to try a glass of fizzy booch, there are also some humble snacks to nosh on: think nuts, cheese, fruits, and crackers. Owner Christopher Joyner has been brewing kombucha since 1993, and opened Communitea Kombucha in April of this year. Check it out Monday through Friday, 11 to 7, and on Saturdays from 3 to 7. You can purchase bottles of their very delicious and organic kombucha by the half liter, liter, and two liters as well as starter kits to make your own brew at home!
Meskel Ethiopian Restaurant
Some would describe Meskel as the best Ethiopian food in the city, and it’s easy to see why upon walking into the restaurant. Patrons are immediately welcomed with exciting spices such as cardamom, turmeric, and nutmeg wafting through the air. The dining room has a cozy atmosphere with its brightly colored red interior; it’s almost as if you’re dining at a friend’s home rather than a restaurant. While several dishes are served with beef, Meskel has something for everyone: Try the ever-popular doro wot, chicken stewed in spices and served with homemade cheese. Or perhaps the yebeg tribbs, lamb sauteed with onions and served with a fresh salad. The shero consists of chickpeas cooked in a rich berbere sauce, which is a special Ethiopian mix of spices, and is a hit with customers as well. And probably the biggest perk: Their outdoor patio is open for lounging on warm summer days.
2605 E Cherry St, 206-860-1724, closed Mon, Tue thru Fri 4–11, Sat & Sun 11–11pm, website
Whether you want to nerd out on the microbiology-level and talk wild, mixed cultures or just feel like drinking some damn fine beer, Standard Brewing is the place to do it. Since opening in 2013, owner/brewer Justin Gerardy (former Vito’s and The Hideout bar manager) has grown his one barrel brewing system into seven barrel system, which means—yay!—more beer. The upgrade in production also included “a plethora of oak barrels for aging and sours,” reads the Standard Brewing website, and a fenced-off patio—all perfect for warm weather imbibing.
They also keep a diverse lineup of 12 beers on tap with usually a new release each month, though this month there were three! Look for a new Mosaic single hop Kolsch described to have “all of that fruity, funky Mosaic hop goodness and that crisp Kolsch yeast profile,” per their website. And they’ve brought back the popular Tan Lines IPA which is a more subtle and easy-drinking India pale ale for summer. Also on tap: a basil saison, an altbier, or “old beer”, which just means it’s made in the traditional German style, a West Coast IPA, an imperial stout on nitro, and more.
While there’s no food served in the taproom, customers are welcome to bring their own food; a smart move if you’re going to be tasting some of that West Coast IPA. Lastly, this is a kid-friendly brewery, hooray for beering while working on a 12-piece puzzle with junior.
Next up on Ethnic Seattle’s Neighborhood Spotlight: Columbia City and Rainier Valley. If you have a favorite business, restaurant, or shop in the neighborhood, feel free to drop us a note at email@example.com.