Look who’s slinging pies on the Eastside these days: Seattle chefs Tom Douglas and Ethan Stowell are opening pizzerias in Kirkland and Woodinville, respectively. They’re among the dozens of chefs rushing to open their doors during the summer, the peak dining season when tourists and locals come out of their shell for T-shirt weather. But don’t take the full houses and long waitlists as signs that the shortage of cooks and the high food costs are behind us. Many spots below still post “help wanted” signs for cooks and servers on their front doors. So before you tap out a negative review on Yelp because your entree took too long or cost too much, have mercy. The challenges are an industrywide problem at the moment. Now, on with our roll call.



Xi’an Noodles expands to downtown, north of Bellevue Square. All those biang biang noodle dishes and dumplings patrons love at the Xi’an Noodles in Seattle will be on the menu at its new Belgate Plaza branch. (Don’t forget the complimentary sauce bar, especially the vinegar for your steamed dumplings.) The noodle house sits next to the Canadian chain Snowy Village, a Korean-based dessert shop that has been a hit around King County.

Nearby, What The Pho! opens on the first floor in Bellevue Square.

East of downtown, Cascadia Pizza Co. takes over the space of Bellevue Brewing Co. but will still serve beers from that brewery.

YangGuoFu YGF MalaTang, a popular hot pot spot in the University District, expands to Lake Hills.

L’Italiano Food Truck serves pasta and panini-pressed sandwiches in the parking lot of the Chevron gas station at 2444 Bel-Red Road.


In Old Bellevue, Macha Magic opens on Main Street.

Of course, there is always a wave of bubble tea openings. The headliner is the Malaysian boba chain Daboba in Factoria, the third location in the United States for this international brand. Daboba, with branches in Houston and Brooklyn, New York, is known for its roasted brown sugar pearl milk tea topped with a cheese foam.


Stowell opens a branch of his popular New York-style pizza spot Ballard Pizza Co. in the new Wine Walk Row, a retail-and-apartment complex in downtown. His 200-seat Woodinville branch includes a 1,000-square-foot patio with a firepit, and there will soon be plenty of foot traffic from Wine Walk Row, which will include six tasting rooms. Already opened are Valdemar Estates and McQueen Champagne Bar. Soon to open are tasting rooms from the wineries Barnard Griffin, L’Ecole N° 41, Montinore Estate and Landlines Estates. Stowell’s next Eastside expansion will be early next year when he brings a branch of his Tavolàta chain to downtown Redmond. He’s also an investor in one of Seattle’s most popular bagel shops, Rubenstein’s, which will open next door to the new Tavolàta during the winter.

The 100-seat Mexican restaurant Cava Azul opens in downtown, from the same team behind Agave Cocina & Cantina in Redmond and in Kent.

Just in time for summer, Swanky Scoop ice cream parlor offers 18 eclectic flavors from lemon meringue pie to cherry chocolate flake, all made on-site.


As early as next week, Seattle chef Douglas is expected to debut his pizza chain, Serious Pie, at The Village at Totem Lake. The 80-seat Eastside Serious Pie will also have a 20-seat outdoor patio for summer. Newbies to Serious Pie may scratch their heads, wondering why there’s isn’t pepperoni here. Douglas doesn’t feature a pepperoni pizza on his menu (though the kitchen can make you one upon request). Its bestseller is the fennel sausage pizza with roasted peppers and provolone cheese.

The Village at Totem Lake has been aggressive in recruiting many national and local chains to anchor its mall, including Portland’s Salt & Straw and Los Angeles chain Silverlake Ramen. Also opening later this month here is Hanoon, from the Seattle restaurant group behind the acclaimed restaurant Mamnoon on Capitol Hill.


Another Seattle restaurant, Kati Thai Vegan, has already expanded to The Village, offering all the takeout staples as meatless including pad tai, curries and rice dishes.

The Hawaiian-mixed plate cafe Buddha Bruddah opens its third location in Kingsgate Plaza. Its family meal deal remains the best value around the Sound: $60 gets you 1 pound of kalua pork, 1.5 pounds of grilled huli huli chicken and large servings of garlic fried rice, mac salad and Asian slaw along with four vegetable spring rolls. It’s enough to feed a family of four.

Pochi Bubble Tea Cafe opens in the Juanita area.


Danji Korean Cuisine serves all the favorites such as mando dumplings, bibimbap and those trendy, sticky umami fried wings. Across the street sits Highlands Poke.

In downtown, 55 Sunset Coffee & Spirits does espresso along with all the bar staples: cocktails, wine and beer with flatbread pizza to fortify you between drinks.

One N Half Lab and Rabbit Rabbit Tea share space to do boba tea and Asian noshes such as Taiwanese popcorn chicken.


Los Chilangos Mexican Food & Catering, which has five food trucks around the Sound, has a brick and mortar, while the Belltown yakitori spot Shinya Shokudo expands to the Eastside, doing meat skewers, sandos, karaage chicken and udon.


South End


The best meal I had in the South End: Noodle House makes its namesake dish every morning by hand. Order its signature House Chili Noodles for thick, trampoline-bouncy strands, each coated in an umami-rich sweet and spicy sauce. Or go for its wok-fried cumin lamb dish. The noodle house may be hard to find because it’s literally overshadowed by the palisades of the Great Wall Shopping Mall nearby.

The teriyaki spot Asian Table also serves katsu, tempura, yakisoba and other Japanese lunch standbys.

XO Pot & Bowl specializes in soups and hot pots, but much loved is its filet mignon banh mi.

Bells Table does seafood gumbo and (forget about your diet) fried chicken with bacon mac and cheese.


See Fah Authentic Thai Cuisine boasts an 80-item menu with curries and noodles along with weekday lunch specials for under $13. Two miles southwest sits La Michoacana, the Mexican dessert spot.


Piacere Trattoria Italiana runs an extensive menu of pasta and pizzas, but dig deeper to find more interesting entrees from lamb shank with saffron risotto to a Tuscany stew with mussels, clams, scallops, branzino and calamari.


Also on the same street sits B-Town Halo Grill, with its massive comfort food lineup of teriyaki, smash burgers, tacos, pasta and salads.


After much delay, the Cajun-seafood chain Pier 88 Boiling Seafood & Bar debuts near Costco, with plans to expand to Lynnwood soon. Also opened is the bakery Nothing Bundt Cakes.

Federal Way

The bakery Wodo specializes in macarons, including some cheeky takes on the Ritz cracker and the Oreo cookie.


Lezzet Brunch specializes in Turkish comfort food including manti beef dumplings, though the kitchen also offers breakfast standbys such as eggs, pancakes and bagels and lox.


Salima Specialties has been a popular hangout for the Muslim community, serving “Halal Pan-Asian Street Food” with Vietnamese and Malaysian fare such as banh mi, chicken satay and a “vegan ham” made from tofu skin.

North End


The best meal I had in the North End: Las Brasas del Volcán does a mean carne asada, grilled skirt steak with charred edges, served in various dishes from tacos to stuffed jalapeño peppers. Its best take might be its enmoladas — enchiladas smothered in a mole sauce and topped with beef as a $15.99 lunch special.


Also, more Korean fried chicken comes to the North End with the arrival of Sodam Chicken in the North City Plaza Building.


One of the most anticipated openings this year, the high-end Korean barbecue chain Baekjeong has delayed its expansion to Alderwood mall until mid-August.

Until then, let’s talk burritos. During the pandemic, those fat burritos from Korean-fusion to the Tex-Mex variety seem to be popping up everywhere in the North End. The latest: Washington Burrito offers a dozen variations, many for under $7. Also, three new boba tea spots in town: TeaCo Teahouse, Happy Lemon and Tobi’s Tea.