Biscuits and gravy for $6.95 within the city of Seattle? Yes, that still exists.
Listen up, introverts: Prepare for plenty of conversation before pushing open the door to this small cafe on MLK Way. Your host, Doug McDonald, is co-owner of the cafe and its attached catering company, and he’s an outgoing soul from Nebraska who’s lived in the Seattle area since the early ’90s. The colorful Social Distortion posters framed with show tickets are his, as are the hefty record crate and turntable. Talk volunteer projects, music, food, Rainier Valley history, sports or all of the above — the welcome is genuine and you’ll be remembered when you stop in the next time.
The menu: It’s a short, familiar list where the espresso drinks are the biggest section; look to the daily-specials chalkboard for dishes like street tacos, pizza or spaghetti marinara. There are a few house-made baked goods each day, a short list of sandwiches (each comes on a different bread, from Texas toast for the grilled cheese to the caprese’s herbed focaccia), salads and one generously sized hot entree for breakfast (biscuits and gravy) and lunch (mac and cheese).
The cafe’s relation to the catering arm shows. First off, the notably low prices are likely possible thanks to that other revenue source, but however they make it happen, a filling breakfast with coffee for less than $10 in Seattle is worth celebrating these days. There’s beer and wine, not an expected part of the menu for a place with just three tables, and there’s talk of setting up wine tastings as the weather gets nicer. Every plate gets an appealing finish, like the house salad’s colorful cranberries, pecans and goat cheese; a sprinkle of diced scallions on the biscuits and gravy; or the chilled dishes for fruit at a nearby table. The downside relates to a common criticism for caterers: a tendency in the direction of blandness. Both the gravy and a French dip seemed underseasoned and needed doctoring with salt, pepper and hot sauce.
Seasoned in Seattle Café
5619 Martin Luther King Jr. Way S., (Hillman City) Seattle; open 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday; 206-723-5596; seasonedinseattle.com
Don’t miss: The warm cinnamon roll is pure, cinnamon-y joy with a quick powdered-sugar glaze that McDonald whisked up, joking that tableside glazing service had just been invented as he drizzled it on top. At lunch, the heaping bowl of vegan-friendly vegetable soup has bright color, flavor and texture from a mix of corn, stewed tomatoes and fresh vegetables; it’s a comforting and nutritious counterpoint to the provolone grilled cheese. The coffee is from small-batch roaster Conduit on Lake Union; both drip and espresso were excellent alongside a chewy chocolate-chip cookie.
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Prices: Biscuits and gravy ($6.95), cinnamon roll ($3.75), latte ($3) and drip coffee ($2) added up to a $15.70 breakfast for two, plus tax and tip. A later lunch for two included soup and sandwich combo ($9.95), French dip ($9.95), side salad ($4.75) and cookie ($2) for a total of $26.65 plus tax and tip.