"We have something for everyone," said one of the owners, Andrea Mizer. The Rainier Valley restaurant blends Thai and Hawaiian flavors, and doesn't skimp on the sauces.
Andrea and Mark Mizer opened their Buddha Bruddah food truck in December 2014, serving up mixed-plate lunches combining Hawaiian and Thai flavors. A brick-and-mortar location had been in the works since the beginning, and in April of 2018, they finally opened the doors to their bright, window-filled space on the corner of Rainier Avenue South and South Walker Street.
“We wanted to make sure we were bringing value to the neighborhood and we really wanted to be part of a growing neighborhood,” Andrea Mizer says.
She says they’ve received positive feedback from the neighborhood since opening — a crowd that during the day includes people working in the area, parents with kids and the retired community, and families at night. “I mean, we have something for everyone. That was our goal, to have a comfortable neighborhood place that everyone feels good going to and they can find a seat they love and food they love on the menu.”
The menu: The truck menu and the restaurant menu are pretty different; the biggest reason comes down to equipment. According to Mizer, everything on the truck is cooked on a flat-top grill, but in the restaurant they’ve added a pressure deep fryer, a char grill and a wok. This equals fried chicken, loco moco and wok-fried rice, in addition to popular truck favorites such as huli huli chicken and mac salad. Mixed plates share space with wok-fried noodles, fried rice, salads and desserts like coconut cream pie. Everything is made in-house.
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Don’t miss: The grilled guava chicken tastes like old-school teriyaki all grown up; perfectly charred with a nice level of sweetness. It comes as a mixed plate with two scoops of rice, mac salad and crunchy Asian slaw. The kalua pork has a dedicated following from the food truck, and one bite of the tender pork makes it easy to see why. Thai iced teas are reliably rich while the coconut water comes in an actual coconut, a bit of a gimmick for sure but still fun. Portion sizes are hefty — in fact, the woman working the counter said she often gets lunch and dinner out of a mixed plate — so keep that in mind when ordering.
One of the most alluring things about the menu is the sauce bar. Mizer said she was inspired by some of her favorite Mexican restaurants that have salsa bars. She first started offering the sauces when they opened the truck and it’s become a signature item at Buddha Bruddah. You’ll find crying tiger, chili in oil, prik man pla and more, in addition to sriracha and soy; spice levels are determined by a star rating displayed on a chalk board.
A tip: Don’t forget the kids. Mizer said one sticking point they had when finding a space was ample off-street parking, making sure people with strollers could easily park and get in. Additionally, there are changing tables in each restroom and a nook stuffed with toys and books for little ones to amuse themselves with between bites of garlic shrimp and loco moco.
Buddha Bruddah; Thai/Hawaiian; 2201 Rainier Ave. S. (Rainier Valley); open Monday-Thursday 11 a.m.-8:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; 425-827-2188; buddhabruddah.com