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The iconic mural has been restored at Fat's.

Image: Facebook

It’s the Central District.

If you’ve spent any time driving around or through the gentrifying neighborhood in recent years, you can’t have missed its explosion in restaurants.

Standard Brewing and the Atlantic on Jackson, to be joined (target: February) by the brick/mortar of the mobile outfit, Wood Shop BBQ. A bunch around Seattle U, from Seven Beef to Lark’s brand new pizza joint, Southpaw, to the relocated Nate’s Wings and Waffles. Not to be confused with Fat’s Chicken and Waffles, which opened in the husk of the late, great Catfish Corner, which got reborn, a few streets over, as Jackson’s Catfish Corner.  

(Which isn’t on Jackson; that’s the owner’s name. It’s on 21st.)

And the list goes on, from family friendly (Feed Co. Burgers, Central District Ice Cream Company) to the high-end (L’Oursin French fare) to the seafood-market-with-poke-counter Seattle Fish Guys—plus the bunch I’ve undoubtedly overlooked.

Not a lot has been written about the Central District’s burgeoning restaurant scene, in part because many Seattleites are so deeply troubled over the gentrification it represents. A tech-borne tide of incoming homeowners leads to rising property values—which leads to new restaurants, more rising property values, and longtime residents pushed out of a neighborhood that for many is deeply connected to their identity.

A few writers around town have thoughtfully suggested that genuine ties to the neighborhood (in this Seattle Times piece on Seattle Fish Guys) or cultural continuity with the neighborhood and former tenant (in this Stranger piece on Fat’s) make some new restaurants easier for a gentrifying neighborhood to embrace than others. When/if longtime Central District icon Ms. Helen’s Soul Food (now a delivery/catering operation) gets reborn as Ms. Helen’s Soul Bistro…the CD will be welcoming back an old friend.

With other places…the issue's just a whole lot more complicated. Earlier this year, a couple of activists posted "Karmic Infraction" signs on new businesses around 23rd and Union. "Violation: Being an Unapologetic Gentrifier," the sign read, in part.



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Editor’s Pick

Seattle Fish Guys

$ Seafood 411 23rd Ave S

Some seriously delightful expats from Mutual Fish and City Fish opened a seafood market in a nondescript building at 23rd and Jackson that is so much more th...

Editor’s Pick


$$$ French 1315 E Jefferson St

Parisian bistros inspired this den of wood wainscoting and curved brass chairs at 14th and Jefferson, but chef JJ Proville recasts classic French dishes with...

Central District Ice Cream Company

$ Dessert, Ice Cream 509 13th Ave

Darren McGill and Kristine Martin-McGill come up with flavors as they go at the ice cream counter now tucked into their own Happy Grillmore burger joint, whe...

Feed Co. Burgers

$$ Burgers Multiple Locations

Scott Staples's family-friendly burger chainlet wields big flavors (caramelized onions, blue cheese and watercress, a turkey burger with surprising personali...

Jackson's Catfish Corner

$$ American/New American 123 21st Ave

The erstwhile classic CD fried catfish house is reborn a few blocks over, in humble digs. 

Editor’s Pick

Fat's Chicken and Waffles

$$ American/New American, Southern/Creole/Cajun 2726 E Cherry St.

A thread of the original Catfish Corner’s Southern legacy continues on at this prime Central District corner via fried chicken atop old-fashioned thin waffle...

Editor’s Pick

Nate's Wings and Waffles

$ American/New American 1224 E Jefferson St

A trio of partners headlined by basketballer Nate Robinson have consolidated their chicken and waffle venture to a single student-friendly location near Seat...


$$ Northwest, Pizza 926 12th Ave

Lark’s original home on 12th Ave is now a casual pizza tavern, serving John Sundstrom’s interpretation of pizza: sturdy wood-fired crusts somehow both chewy ...

Editor’s Pick

Seven Beef

$$$ Steak House 1305 E Jefferson St

Eric Banh, whose Monsoon and Ba Bar are very Vietnamese, has opened a visually stunning steak house that isn’t, really, at all. Seven Beef stands for the tra...

Standard Brewing

Brewery 2504 S Jackson St