Every month, my colleague Rosin Saez and I, and a few fellow staff members, assemble “What We’re Eating Now” for Seattle Met's Taste section, a roundup of bites with some sort of timeliness factor—new restaurants, additional locations, recently debuted menu items. That sort of thing.
For our newly minted December issue (an incredible dive into Seattle's music scene courtesy of arts editor Stefan Milne), we reversed course to celebrate restaurants that hit big anniversaries this year. We struggled to narrow down that list of deserving contenders, so let’s take this moment to check in with some other places that have weathered the city’s flush years and lean eras to celebrate milestone anniversaries in 2018.
Loulay: 5 Years
Seattle Met’s 2013 Restaurant of the Year is now apparently also a fragrance? This year, Thierry Rautureau worked with local perfumer Molly Ray to create a fig, green tea, lime, and bergamot-based eau de toilette called Loulay. If food’s more your thing, Loulay recently brought on a new chef, Mike Landon.
Poppy: 10 Years
Jerry Traunfeld’s genius move—10 vibrant Northwest bites, presented in the fashion of an Indian thali—felt revolutionary in 2008; today it’s hard to imagine Seattle before Jerry Traunfeld. Earlier this month, the Broadway restaurant rolled out a new Tuesday night deal: a two-person thali, plus Poppy’s famed eggplant fries or a bottle of white, red, or sparkling wine for $35.
Spinasse: 10 Years
Chef Stuart Lane has carried on the legacy that began with Justin Neidermeyer a decade ago, then got cemented with Jason Stratton’s long and illustrious tenure. Today the stands of eggy tajarin pasta remain impossibly golden and delicate, and the family-style tasting menu at once relaxed and special.
Hot Cakes: 10 Years
If you want to get all technical, a decade ago, former Theo chocolatier Autumn Martin was selling her bake-able jars of molten chocolate cake at the Ballard Farmers Market. Today, of course, Hot Cakes has two brick-and-mortar locations that also serve beyond-decadent milkshakes (even boozy ones), cookies, and cocktails that walk the sweet-boozy line with care. But Martin still keeps a firm eye on the portability of what she does; she celebrated the 10-year mark with three new take-and-bake cakes (smoky s’mores, peanut butter cups, and strawberry pie cake).
Lark: 15 Years
It could be the elegant Northwest creations. Or the space that’s been home since 2015, with its regal banquettes, cozy mezzanine, and firmament of tiny lights suspended from the ceiling. Maybe it’s chef John Sundstrom, at once one of the most talented and gracious members of his industry. However you tabulate it, Lark remains as current and beloved now as it did in the days of its original 12th Avenue dining room.
The restaurant that began in Belltown now occupies one of the most charming spaces on Capitol Hill. Announcing the comings and goings of Marjorie chefs used to be a sport among Seattle food writers in that heyday of incremental restaurant coverage. But we’ve all chilled out a bit, and so has Marjorie, finding its rhythm as a nicer-than-average destination for the grateful neighborhood (thanks in large part to chef Francisco Ruiz). Owner Donna Moodie’s line of memorable plaintain chips also seem on a slow but steady path to world domination.
Assaggio: 25 Years
Amazon didn’t yet exist in 1993, when Mauro Golmarvi opened this Italian spot on Fourth Ave. Flash forward a quarter century and Assagio is a mix of devoted longtimers and a younger crowd who work in all the nearby Amazon towers. Mauro, and his food, manage to charm both groups alike.