Shaquille O’Neal-owned “fried chicken Shaq” (get it?) has opened in Renton, but not even the former Lakers great can steal the spotlight from a new pizza joint that has been so busy the kitchen won’t take anymore online orders until March. But we have the deets on how you can score its popular Detroit-style pizza now. Here’s our roundup of new openings on the Eastside, North and South End.

The Eastside


Mexican fast-casual chains, which were spreading near or in suburban strip malls in the North and South End, are rapidly expanding to the Eastside and Seattle. They’re not just competing with Chipotle, but also with the burger chains. The latest to expand is California Mexican Food, with its $6.29 taco lunch special and $7 burrito. The 24-hour drive-in restaurant also runs one of the better complimentary salsa bars around, with a handful of fiery hot options.

One of the year’s big seafood openings on the Eastside, Water Grill, a Southern California chain, expands to Lincoln Square. Water Grill debuted in December and boasts about 200 live shellfish in tanks, arguably more fresh bounty than any other seafood restaurant south of Richmond, B.C.

Vrindaavan Indian Restaurant and Bakery with vegetarian street eats (samosa chaat, lentil dumplings) and an Indo Chinese fusion menu, opens in Ross Plaza.

Other Bellevue openings: Jae’s Lunchbox is a grab-and-go Japanese comfort food joint from the same folks behind Sushi J. Thai Grill Restaurant, a takeout favorite in Kirkland, relocates near Bellevue Square. And Nana’s Green Tea, which has a big following at its Seattle shop, expands to the Old Bellevue district area, off Main Street.


Woomadang runs an all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue buffet in Bella Bottega Shopping Center, while DAK Korean Fried Chicken sets up east of Redmond Town Center. The Bengali spot The Turmeric Kitchen opens in the Totem Lake area.



Amarone Ristorante and Bar does fancy Italian, from lobster tail with spaghetti in a saffron sauce, to lobster-stuffed ravioli.

South End


O’Neal’s Big Chicken sandwich chain, which draws long lines at Kraken games at Climate Pledge Arena, expands to the retail complex, The Landing. O’Neal will open two more fried chicken franchises in Shoreline and Mukilteo by the end of the year, his spokesperson said.


One of the surprise hits, TacosLand is run by Victor and his son Hugo Sanchez who sling street tacos as well as the hard-shell, ground beef version that are a staple of cafeteria lunches (only, the meat tastes better here). Its specialty, though, is the Jalisco sandwich, ahogada, a sourdough sub stuffed with chorizo and then soaked in a peppery-tomato red sauce.


Like malls, airports around the country, including Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, have upped their game in the dining and drinking department. In recent years, big names such as the “Chef in the Hat” Thierry Rautureau have opened lounges or cafes to make your wait more bearable at Sea-Tac. The latest big name to open is Salty’s at the SEA, which runs a cafe and bar at the Central Terminal. Also new at the C gates is the Northwest comfort food Ninth & Pike Artisan Kitchen from the Bambuza Hospitality Group.


Chilli O Chilli serves what is arguably the hottest Chinese cuisine in the Seattle area, Sichuan food. And the popular boba chain CoCo Fresh Tea & Juice expands to Westfield Southcenter mall.

Federal Way

Sushi Hiro serves California and other standard rolls along with deep-fried and baked sushi rolls.



Gyro Flame and Saap Fusion open, the latter focusing on Southeast Asian fusion, along with classics such as papaya salad.

North of Seattle


A big score for downtown, Moto Detroit-style pizza has sold out every night. To streamline the ordering process, the pizza parlor takes orders online at slotted times. But management said all the slots are already booked for February, and Moto is so slammed that it won’t take any more online orders until March. But if you want a Moto pizza bad enough, go right when the doors open at 4 p.m. because the crew sets aside a few extra doughs for walk-ins. A big hit when it debuted in West Seattle during the pandemic, Moto plans to open a third location near Elliott Bay in Seattle and hopes to start serving at Mariners home games this season.

Harvest Wonton Noodle opened in late December and is one of the most talked-about new Chinese restaurants in the past two months. Try to avoid the weekend lunch and dinner rush since parking is tight. This Hong Kong-style cafe shares a modest parking lot with a handful of other restaurants at Brentwood Plaza strip mall. Besides its namesake noodle bowl, the crispy, golden deep-fried curry wontons stuffed with shrimp and pork are excellent.


The couple Nona and Jose Panlilio, who are behind the popular Fil Cuisine in Kent, open an outpost near H Mart. All their bestsellers are showcased at their new Filipino cafe, including the lechon kawali, the “porketa” and grilled meat skewers.

Also, two seafood spots debut in town: Toudai Sushi & Fusion and Sushi Hana. And He Brews Coffee opens across from Alderwood mall.

Mountlake Terrace

Customers who have been jonesing for West African cuisine have waited a long time for Hadiani African Restaurant, which does comfort food including fataya deep-fried pastry stuffed with beef and also nem, or stuffed shrimp spring rolls, a popular Senegal street food.