Dear Ludi's

Love Letters to Ludi's, the Filipino Diner Closing This Week

Chefs-slash-loyal-fans of the downtown diner that's set to shutter on August 31 say farewell to the garlic fried rice breakfast combos. For now.

By Rosin Saez August 26, 2019

The classic, the quintessential, the #13 breakfast silog combo: egg rolls, longanisa, a pork chop with sunnyside eggs, and rice. (Whiskey shot, optional.)

Back in April, Ludi's lost its lease. The owner of the longstanding downtown diner, Gregorio Rosas, has been looking for a new location to continue serving breakfast classics alongside Filipino favorites—longanisa sausage, garlic fried rice, ube pancakes—ever since. Then Rosas, who's been at the diner for 41 years, dating back to the restaurant's days as the Turf, took another hit: a kitchen fire forced Ludi's to close ahead of its final day on August 31. Seattle's community of Filipino chefs and business owners have circled around Rosas, who some lovingly refer to as Tito Greg, lamenting the loss if Ludi's doesn't find a new home.

Heartened by the support, Rosas has reopened Ludi's for its last week downtown, a swan song of lumpia and longsilog. As the closure fast approaches, we've asked some Seattle chefs and Ludi's loyalists to talk about their favorite Ludi's memories. —RS

I've been countless times over the years (ever since the name changed from Turf), but I've only ordered the #13 silog combo of egg rolls, longanisa, a pork chop with sunny-side up eggs, and rice with coffee—and the optional shot of whiskey. The staff would always know when I was having a bad day because they would silently slide a little bowl of corned beef hash my way, as if they knew I needed it. It's always been a safe haven for me when I needed to eat my feelings and reset my brain. I'll miss it very much. —Herschell Taghap (Read more of Herschell's writing in the March 2019 issue of Seattle Met.)

Ludi’s is a diamond in the rough. It really was one of those places that was really under the radar but we all knew was there and almost took for granted. When people asked, “Where do you go to eat Filipino food in Seattle?”, Oriental Mart was always the go-to, but Ludi’s was never out of the question. Two memories I have eating there that will always stay with me is the early meetings for the Ilaw Coalition. What better place to talk about the movement and our community then a place as great as Ludi’s? Also, there was many great meals I’ve had with my daughter, who was blown away to find out that there is such a place that she can get pancakes (ube pancakes at that) and longsilog and lumpia in such a place like a diner in downtown Seattle. It was an amazing moment for me to be able to expose her to seeing our food, food we both grew up on, in that type of place and really show her that we do have the opportunity to share our culture and food to the masses. —Justin Legaspi, sous chef at Bateau and recent Seattle Met Next Hot Chef

Garlic fried rice, corned beef hash, two eggs sunny-side up, side of longaniza, and that next-level addition—diced tomatoes in vinegar. I’ll never forget my last breakfast at Ludi’s. It was perfect in every way. It was my childhood on a plate, along with a conversation with Tito Greg at his counter that inspires our work at Archipelago every night. To the whole Ludi’s team, we can’t appreciate you enough for what you’ve done for the entire PNW community. —Aaron Verzosa, chef and co-owner of Archipelago

Chera, Geo [of Hood Famous Bakeshop and Cafe], and I and the producers from Marcus Samuelsson's show [No Passport Required] met and ate at Ludi's a month before the show was going to be filmed and they were scouting locations. We ate, we shared, we talked about our community and we built foundations of friendship. It was important and it is important to me that people experience what we talk about—not just read about it and not just see it. They need to feel it. Every time we go to Ludi's, that’s the feeling. It’s family. And Tito Greg and his daughter Rita have been core to that. He came out and talked with us, and just sat and told us stories. Stories of how he worked hard to get there. At the end he gave us presents and he told us, if we are blessed we need to share it with others and that stuck. We took Marcus Samuelsson there to film for his show No Passport Required
I showed up to Ludi's and Marcus was waiting. Tito Greg was there waiting and he was just so, so, so excited and happy that Marcus was there. He had done research and memorized all this information about Marcus and was reciting it to him. [Marcus] just looked at me and was like "Who is this?" And I was like, "That's Tito! He makes it his business to know and he wants you to feel welcome and so loved." Tito Greg once again left us with gifts, asked for a picture, and just shared his gratitude. —Melissa Miranda, chef, Musang
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