The Bang Bang Café gathers Belltown residents and workers in for breakfast and lunch.
It’s easy to miss the tiny Bang Bang Café because of the scaffolding on the residential building being spruced up above it, but this Belltown lunchtime gem is well worth the steep stroll down to the corner of Wall Street and Western Avenue.
Sisters Yukiko and Miki Sodos opened the cafe two years ago and since then it has become a popular hangout for neighborhood residents and workers, serving up bagels, breakfast burritos, grilled sandwiches and coffee from Seattle’s Lighthouse Roasters. Yukiko, an avid baker, makes many of the pastries on display in the case up front.
New Mexico natives, the sisters have incorporated that state’s famous Hatch chili peppers, which typically come roasted to bring out the flavor, into the cafe’s menu.
Another draw is the selection of vegetarian options, a nod to Yukiko’s belief that meat-eaters and non-meat-eaters should be able to dine happily at the same table.
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The menu: Since Bang Bang Café is strictly a daytime establishment, the menu consists entirely of breakfast and lunch options. The hearty “Bang Bang” breakfast burrito ($6.75) comes with eggs, beans, potatoes, cheese and a green-and-red Hatch chili sauce.
The lunchtime panini menu has offerings for meat lovers, as well as vegetarians, such as the hummus sandwich with roasted and fresh red bell peppers, avocado, tomato and Field Roast veggie sausage ($6.75). All sandwiches can be ordered in half size for a couple of dollars less, so I had half of a roasted turkey sandwich with Jarlsberg cheese and a mustard aioli ($4), plus a cup of the daily-special vegan chili ($3.50) and a slice of Yukiko’s house-made apple pie ($3.50).
What to write home about: The grilled, roasted turkey sandwich was simple and deliciously gooey, but the dairy-free mac ‘n’ cheese, a recipe borrowed from Yukiko’s husband, is a little scoop of heaven that is spicy, smoky and wonderfully crunchy from the breadcrumbs sprinkled on top. I ordered a cup of it to go ($3).
The setting: A gas fireplace adds warmth, both in temperature and atmosphere, while the Sodos sisters, often seen at the cash register or in the kitchen, bring a touch of Southwestern charm.
Summing up: Half of a turkey sandwich, a cup of vegan chili, a slice of apple pie and a cup of vegan mac ‘n’ cheese to take home came to $14, plus tax and tip.
Tyrone Beason is a Pacific Northwest magazine staff writer.