They keep coming, these cafes and fast-casuals around Seattle and on the Main Streets of other towns. Every single week. Remember when we announced 60 new openings last October? And 43 openings this February? These supersized lists are getting so absurdly long, we decided to break them up into smaller pieces to make them easier to digest. Below are openings around Seattle. The list of openings on the Eastside, the north and south end of King County will soon follow. Bar openings get their own listing in our regular Happy Hour roundup.
Windy City Pie has opened in Phinney Ridge. Owner Dave Lichterman started with just a takeout business, making pies out of a commissary in the South End before business picked up and he relocated to Interbay in a bar space that doubled as his takeout business. He has relocated to the North End where he has found space for a 60-seat restaurant, which was his goal.
Windy City Pie made our cut for one of the best pizzas in Seattle three years ago. Readers also anointed it the fan favorite in our pizza poll. Lichterman has delayed doing happy hour because locals have packed his spot. Go on Wednesdays and Thursdays or any day after 8:30 p.m. if you don’t want to deal with the madness. He’s added new toppings including “Italian beef,” which may remind some of that namesake sandwich. If you love the Detroit-style pies Lichterman does in Beacon Hill at Breezy Town Pizza, good news — he does Breezy slices at his new space also.
Along a similar note, Shawn Millard, who has been tracking the career trajectory of the Windy City Pie owner, got inspired to start a takeout only business in West Seattle called West of Chicago Pizza Company. Online orders only Thursday-Sunday 4-10 p.m. He’s currently operating out of a commissary but hopes to have his own place within 18 months.
West of Chicago Pizza Company aims closer to the traditional deep-dish style like Lou Malnati’s, while Windy City Pie hews closer to the caramelized-crust style of Burt’s Place. There, I said it. Chicago transplants can debate among themselves.
Ben Paris is the latest hotel bar/restaurant in a city suddenly littered with them. But this may be the most affordable hotel menu with burgers, chicken sandwiches under $15 and sides and small plates under $12. Plus, The State Hotel hired star bartender Abigail Gullo from the Big Easy to anchor its cocktail program. You can read more about her here.
Bangrak Market debuted in Belltown with an 80-item menu that is more ambitious than your usual Thai takeout. Skewer meats brim with charred, smoky flavors, and fried noodles are scented with that wok hei aroma, the hallmarks of hawker street food, which is what this bar/restaurant aims to be. My early visit a week after their opening was promising: a stellar Thai version of the popular Hainanese poached chicken and rice dish and the Northern Thailand curry egg noodle dish, khao soi Chiang Mai, held spicy, bold, bright flavors.
On Capitol Hill, El Xolo takes over the counter window inside the divey Nacho Borracho along Broadway East, hawking “Alta Northwest Mexican street food” and handmade tortillas. The short menu features only four tacos and housemade chips with guac and salsas. Have you noticed that restaurant tortillas now taste way better than what most Mexican corner spots cranked out five years ago? Most make their own corn tortillas in-house now, with a few even importing heirloom corn from Mexico and grinding the kernels every morning, producing these aromatic, moist tortillas that taste like, well, corn — unlike the tasteless, floppy supermarket versions that are the equivalent of eating cardboard pizza.
The Portland chain Little Big Burger opened at 12th Avenue and East Pike Street, a busy barhopping area, where it will go head-to-head with Katsu Burger & Bar. The burger chain also plans to open another location in Green Lake by mid or late May, according to its spokesman.
Sizzle & Crunch, which catered to the college crowds around the University District, now serves rice and vermicelli bowls to the Amazon lunch crowd. Most bowls are around $10 or cheaper. We named this one of the best cheap bowls in the city last year. Get the rice bowl with the charred, caramelized pork and the pork belly with the sauté scallions. Fish sauce goes better than the soy sauce here. It’s the Chipotle-style fast-food concept only with Vietnamese grilled pork, chicken and beef over rice or noodle or in banh mi. The spot is hard to find, though, tucked inside a building that once housed Ethan Stowell’s pizza spot.
BB’s Teriyaki Grill on The Ave also expanded in downtown, targeting office workers.
Anyone remember the Café Vizcaya in Wallingford from 20 years ago? It’s back — but on Beacon Hill; its menu focuses on Cuban comfort food and Spanish tapas.
La Palmera is the slick, two-story Mexican restaurant with an elevator. It’s located near the Mercer Mess, which may make for a good detour when you positively, absolutely can’t stand to sit in that traffic anymore. The drink special is a margarita with cranberry juice, a combo that is starting to pop up at bars around town. (Stop it. Just stop it now.)
City Teriyaki opened in Columbia City. Nearby in Hillman City sits Delish Ethiopian Cuisine. Sweet Alchemy Ice Creamery expanded to Ballard, about four blocks east of Skål, the Viking beer hall that debuted last month with all the buzz. Urban Pizza VIP does takeout in Greenwood and Retro Coffee has opened in the Madison Centre building in downtown.
Check back with us in two weeks for a roundup of new restaurant openings on the Eastside, the North End and the South End.