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Image via Farestart

I dropped in to Farestart for lunch the other day, and found myself glad I wasn’t on the clock. (Well…okay, since a restaurant critic is always on the clock I’ll recommend the salads, especially the roasted beet with quinoa, as your best choices here.)

The point is: Farestart is the rare restaurant where quality of the food won’t be your only source of satisfaction. And since the quality of the food is generally solid—you’re golden.

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See what I mean about Farestart's salads?

Image via Facebook

Farestart’s mission is to feed the hungry and train the unemployed through restaurants and education programs which at once teach folks skills in food services industries and provide food for those who need it. Farestart’s three dining rooms (in addition to the downtown one at the gateway to South Lake Union, there’s another in the Rainier Valley and a third at Beacon Hill’s Pacific Tower) showcase the fruits of trainees’ labors, which makes for just about the most inspiring lunch you can get downtown. Evenings, higher-end Farestart dinners are prepared by Seattle’s notable chefs volunteering their efforts.

For those who want to quantify their inspiration, some tasty numbers Farestart crunched for 2015—the year it graduated more students than ever in its 27-year history:

  • Out of 203 graduates, 91 percent got jobs within 90 days and 75 percent were still employed six months later.
  • Among the adult graduates, the average starting wage increased 13 percent.
  • Students played key roles in making and delivering over 800,000 meals to the most vulnerable, including school meals to low-income childcare centers and after-school programs.
  • Farestart also provided over 350,000 meals to homeless shelters, healthcare facilities, transitional housing programs, and hospice and respite centers. These were delivered 365 days of the year.


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