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The chicken everybody wants at Thackeray.

This month in the magazine we look at Thackeray, the latest property from the folks who brought us Purple, Barrio, Meet the Moon, and more. It’s huge, geared for crowds, and distinguished by menus filled with what a person might describe as “crowd-pleaser food”: crispy chicken wings, charred broccoli, chopped salad, braised short rib, caramel apple crisp, that kind of thing. Food that fulfills the expectations of the broadest possible contingent of diners.

As opposed to artier restaurants filled with, as I wrote, the “nasty bits, raw stuff, and inventive edge that connoisseurs go around praising.”

There may be no more meaningful dividing rubric within the world of restaurants—even more than the classic categories like casual/formal or expensive/cheap—and not just because it mirrors the populist/elitist divide currently on the ascendancy in our public sphere. Every time we choose a restaurant, it’s a mini-declaration of what role we want food to play in our lives. Yes, food will nourish and sustain us—but do we want it to do that by comforting us or by challenging us?

Seattle, overrepresented by educated, globe-trotting sophisticates with disposable incomes, sustains a natural constituency of connoisseurs who choose the latter—and the extraordinary restaurants that serve them. But for those who prefer the former? Where do they go?

Say hello to Thackeray. And its siblings. As for other full-service restaurants in Seattle whose menus hold a high percentage of items beloved by a high percentage of the populace…I’m thinking Butcher’s Table, maybe? Tallulah’s? Lost Lake? Skillet?

What's your favorite Seattle crowd-pleaser?


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In this Article

Editor’s Pick

Skillet Diner

$$ All Day Breakfast, American/New American Multiple Locations

It’s the pleasant-looking character actor of Seattle dining—able to slay hangovers via pork belly and cornmeal waffles, make a kale salad feel decadent, and ...

Lost Lake Cafe and Lounge

$ American/New American 1505 10th Ave

If there were ever a cafe that could double as a set in Twin Peaks, it’d be this Capitol Hill spot, all retro seating and throwback stone walls, seemingly ri...

Editor’s Pick


$$ American/New American, Breakfast/Brunch 550 19th Ave E

When Linda Derschang sold her most grown-up property, a glassy marvel of midcentury good taste on 19th Avenue, the new owner retained Tallulah’s commitment t...

Meet the Moon

$$ American/New American 120 Lakeside Ave

You’ll have to beat back the hordes to snag a table in this folksy, raw-timbered Leschi favorite (from the owners of Purple and Barrio), but once you do you’...

Editor’s Pick


$$ Mexican 1420 12th Ave

It's cavernous and packed from brunch through dinner, but the real joy of Barrio lies in its cocktail menu—predictably attentive to tequila, but with some tr...

Editor’s Pick

Purple Café and Wine Bar

$$ Small Plates Multiple Locations

There’s nothing else like it downtown: no other place casual enough for dropping in, festive enough for an occasion, visible enough to remain on the radar, a...