Food News

This Week in Seattle Food News: Taku Is Returning, Simply Soulful Is Moving, And a Queer-Owned Vegan Doughnut Truck Is Coming to Ballard

April 23, 2021
April 23, 2021
Today, Seattle chef and Top Chef: Portland competitor Shota Nakajima is slinging fried chicken curry sandwiches with fellow "cheftestant" Byron Gomez at his restaurant Taku, which is reopening in May. (Taku)

In this week's batch of Seattle food news, the pizza pop-up Dantini Pizza has moved into Batch 206 Distillery, and Top Chef: Portland "cheftestant" Shota Nakajima's Japanese street food restaurant Taku will be returning in May with a brand-new concept. Plus, Simply Soulful is moving to the Central District, the Fairmont Olympic Hotel is unveiling a new bar, and a queer-owned vegan doughnut truck is coming to Ballard. Read on for all that and more food scene updates. For more ideas, check out our food and drink guide.


Dantini Pizza
Garrett Fitzgerald's popular minimalist pizza pop-up, which specializes in 16-inch American-style pies laden with local ingredients, has a new permanent home. The operation is moving into the space inside Batch 206 Distillery, where it will be able to increase its output thanks to more space and an incoming pizza oven and mixer. Preorders are available but optional. Starting this weekend, the spot will begin serving slices on the weekends with limited indoor seating on a first-come, first-served basis. There's also ample outdoor seating at Holy Mountain Brewing, available for reservation through their website. Private dinners for groups will be available at Dantini Pizza through Instagram DMs.
Pickup, outdoor seating, or limited indoor seating

High Tide
The South Lake Union coworking space and social club The Collective is opening its private restaurant High Tide to the public through Labor Day. As the name suggests, the restaurant serves a seafood-centric menu, with dishes like Dungeness crab nachos and Baywater Shellfish oysters. Outdoor patio dining and limited indoor dining are available by reservation, and the restaurant also has a takeout window.
South Lake Union
Pickup, outdoor seating or limited indoor seating

Olympic Bar
The swanky Fairmont Olympic Hotel, which began a $25 million restoration in January 2020, will debut its brand new lobby bar on April 30. The new bar will serve a local and seasonal menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as afternoon tea on weekends beginning on May 8 (just in time for Mother's Day). 
Limited indoor seating

KJ's Bar
Bartender KJ Dykema has taken over the Capitol Hill sports bar Kessler's (where she previously worked for years) and reopened it under a new name. The menu will feature simple pub grub like hot dogs and pretzels.
Capitol Hill
Pickup or limited indoor seating


Dough Joy
A colorful queer-owned, vegan doughnut truck is headed for Ballard. Christopher Ballard and Sean Willis, founders of the self-published vegan magazine Outbound Herbivore, are planning to open Dough Joy, which they call "Seattle’s only 100% plant-based yeast-raised donut truck," in May, across from Cycle Dogs. Offerings will include the "Basic B" (a plain glazed doughnut), "Petal to the Metal" (rose donut with pink marbled icing), the "Cereal Killer" (a cereal milk donut topped with Fruit Loops), and the "Faconator" (a maple donut with crispy smoked coconut bacon), as well as coffee. 

Simply Soulful
Beloved soul food cafe Simply Soulful, known for its signature sweet potato pies and other comforting specialties, is slated to move out of its current Madison Valley home and into the Central District's Jackson Apartments building in late summer.
Central District

Many Seattleites have been tuning to Top Chef each week to cheer on Seattle "cheftestant" Shota Nakajima as he competes in the current season of the popular Bravo reality competition series set in Portland. Shota revealed in a press release this week that his Japanese street food restaurant Taku, which opened on Capitol Hill just before the pandemic but was forced to close, is returning on May 5, with a new focus on karaage-style fried chicken. He's also planning to open the restaurant sometime next week. If you can't wait until then, he and fellow Top Chef: Portland competitor Byron Gomez are teaming up to offer a takeout window pop-up at Taku today, and he'll be teaming up with Gomez and contestant Sara Hauman, a Portland-based chef, to offer a private pop-up dinner for charity this weekend. Check out our interview with Shota for our Tell Us Something Good Column, where he shared some of his favorite recommendations for everything from local restaurants and cafes to foraging spots.
Capitol Hill


Rainier Beer launches a hard seltzer line
The brand Rainier Beer (once a Seattle classic, now owned by the behemoth Pabst Brewing in California) has debuted its first-ever line of hard seltzers. Flavors include huckleberry, apple, and lemon. 

Pagliacci pays almost $4 million in class action lawsuit
The longtime Seattle pizzeria chain Pagliacci has settled a $3,750,000 class action lawsuit. A former delivery driver filed the lawsuit against the company in 2017, alleging that the company violated the state's labor laws by not distributing tips properly, not paying for car-related expenses, failing to provide adequate breaks, not properly disclosing to customers where delivery fees went, and making illegal deductions from paychecks.

Upcoming Seattle Kraken bar sued by the Kraken Lounge over name
In other lawsuit-related news, the University District's punk dive bar Kraken Lounge is suing the Seattle Kraken NHL team over its use of the name for its upcoming bar, claiming that the move risks irreparably damaging their brand. The lounge has apparently been dismayed by the announcement of the team name and says that the bar has been flooded with hockey fans wanting to take over the bar ever since.


Virtual Author Talk: Crying in H-Mart by Michelle Zauner
At this virtual event, Michelle Zauner, known for making dreamy indie pop under the name Japanese Breakfast, will discuss her searingly poignant new debut memoir Crying In H Mart, which details her Korean-American upbringing in Eugene, Oregon, losing her mother to terminal pancreatic cancer, and finding connection through food. She'll be joined by the Internet's favorite Korean mom, the popular YouTuber and cookbook author Maangchi.
Online, Friday, 5-6 pm

The Vineyard Cabaret- Gourmet Dinner & A Virtual Show
Tuck into a dinner box from Taste of Gourmondo while taking in a virtual show from Vineyard Cabaret, with opera, musical theater, folk, and jazz music performances from Elizabeth Galafa, Megan Renae Parker, Cheryse McLeod Lewis, and Sarah Fletcher.
Online, Friday-Saturday

Spring Nordic Market at Skål Beer Hall
Peruse wares from Nordic and Viking-themed vendors from Seattle and beyond, and take in some traditional live Nordic music. Finish it off with a shot of aquavit and to-go sausages from Skål's walk-up window.
Skål Beer Hall, Sunday, 12-4 pm

Virtual Author Talk: À Table by Rebekah Peppler
Food writer Rebekah Peppler, who shares snaps of her enviable lifestyle as an expat in Paris on Instagram and previously penned an ode to the French apéro hour with her debut book Apéritif, will chat about her new cookbook À Table, a fresh and relaxed take on modern, multicultural French cooking with recipes like croque madame, green shakshuka, and niçoise salad for a crowd.
Online, Tuesday, 5-6 pm

Seattle Restaurant Week 2021
Frugal gourmands everywhere rejoice over Seattle Restaurant Week, which happens twice a year and lets diners tuck into prix-fixe menus at restaurants hoping to lure new customers with singularly slashed prices. In the wake of COVID-19's devastating impact on the restaurant industry, this year's proceedings are going to be a bit different: Businesses will not have to pay a fee to participate, food trucks and pop-ups can join in on the fun, and restaurants can sign up whenever they'd like during April. Though three-course prix-fixe meals will still be available, the participating restaurants (over 200 this year!) will also have more flexibility over what specials and deals they'd like to highlight, and takeout and delivery will be emphasized more than before. Plus, with a new "Buy One, Give One" option, diners can now choose to donate $10 to the King County nonprofit Good Food Kitchens, which provides local funds to help restaurants and community kitchens (like Musang and That Brown Girl Cooks) prepare meals for those in need. This year's lineup of participating restaurants include acclaimed spots like Salare, Kamonegi, Mamnoon, Haymaker, and more.
Various locations, through April 30


Drip Tea
The hypebeast boba shop recently released a new strawberry shortcake soft-serve special, made with vanilla ice cream, fresh strawberries, and graham cracker crumbs.
Capitol Hill
Pickup or delivery

The funky cocktail lounge's newest spring special is an asparagus dish with house-made bacon caraway relish and gribiche.
Capitol Hill
Pickup, outdoor seating, or limited indoor seating

The Jewish deli and bakery is currently offering a spring roast chicken dinner with asparagus, roasted red potatoes, a spring salad (mixed greens, red onion, everything bagel croutons, and garlic-lemon vinaigrette), and an oat and rhubarb bar.