Over a year ago, Off the Rez, Seattle's first and only Native food truck, put in a bid along with 20 or so other vendors to run the new Burke Museum's cafe, says Mark McConnell, one of the Off the Rez owners. Eventually they put together a tasting and got the spot. Yesterday, Off the Rez announced on Facebook that it opens October 12, along with the museum's grand opening.
The cafe is, McConnell believes, the first Native-owned brick-and-mortar restaurant in Seattle. It'll serve certain signatures from the food truck, like its fry bread and Indian tacos, along with cafe staples (coffee, breakfast) since the space will be open 7 days a week, from 8am–6pm. But McConnell says to expect a greater focus on indigenous and precolonial food than at the truck, though he couldn't share specifics yet. (The full menu should be released during a preview on September 17.)
After the cafe, McConnell and partner Cecilia Rikard plan to open another location, as well. "The food truck has been a great tool to get around all over the Northwest and get exposure," he says, but they're "moving more towards the brick-and-mortar." They're still looking for the next location. For the moment, though, they're excited to move into the Burke. He and Rikard both grew up here and went to the University of Washington and to the museum as kids. "Coming back and serving our food there is really an honor for us."