This Week in Seattle Food News: Communion Says Hello, Manu's Bodega and Lecosho Say Goodbye, and Manolin Reopens with Bagels and Smoked Fish

December 4, 2020
Kristi Brown and Damon Bomar's highly anticipated restaurant Communion, which opens in the Central District this Saturday, serves "po' mis," a cross between a po' boy and a banh mi. (Communion)

This week, Kristi Brown and Damon Bomar's highly anticipated "Seattle soul food" restaurant Communion opens at last in the Central District, Manolin reopens with a bagel and smoked fish pop-up, and Quality Athletics becomes a comfort food extravaganza with pizza from Trophy Pizza, fried chicken from Cookie's Country Chicken, and smash burgers and hot dogs from Burb's Burgers. Plus, two beloved restaurants are saying goodbye for good: Manu's Bodega has closed permanently, and Lecosho will follow at the end of the month. Read on for that and more essential updates. For more ideas, check out our food and drink guide.

NEW OPENINGS

Communion
At long last, chef Kristi Brown of That Brown Girl Cooks and her son and business partner Dampn Bomar will open their much-anticipated "Seattle soul food" restaurant Communion in the Central District tomorrow, December 5. The fact that the restaurant and bar is located in the former site of Liberty Bank lends even more meaning to the opening of a Black-owned business in a heavily gentrified neighborhood: The building was home to the region's first Black-owned bank, opened in 1968 to offer financial support to African-American homeowners and counteract racist housing segregation practices. Brown derived inspiration for the menu from her food memories of the Central District as well as Chinatown-International District. Offerings include barbecue shrimp and grits, chicken wings, berbere grilled chicken, po' mis (a combination of a po' boy and a banh mi) with fried oyster mushrooms and catfish, and fried catfish "hood sushi." There's also a retail area with jarred cocktails and Brown's beloved black-eyed pea hummus for sale. Bomar will run the bar program and will add brunch once dine-in is possible. 
Central District
Pickup or delivery

Cookie's Country Chicken and Burb's Burgers
Here's your new one-stop shop for comfort food. Earlier this summer, chef and restaurateur Joshua Henderson's Pioneer Square restaurant Quality Athletics opened a pizza shop called Trophy Pizza, serving cheesy pies and pasta dishes. Now, they've added two more concepts to the mix: Henderson's fast-food concept Burb's Burgers, serving smash burgers, grilled cheese, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, fries, shakes and sodas, and sundaes, and Brian "Cookie" Chandler's meme-loving fried chicken pop-up Cookie's Country Chicken, which has opened a permanent location in the space and is serving boneless chicken "tendies," a fried chicken sando, and country fried cauliflower nuggets. There's also a combo deal with three pieces of fried chicken and your choice of three sides, including mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, collard greens, fruit salad, waffle fries, and red beans and rice. Should you want some sauces for your chicken, there are five to choose from: "sunny sauce," barbecue sauce, honey mustard, "rowdy ranch," smoky sauce, and Louisiana hot sauce.
Pioneer Square
Pickup or delivery

La Rue
On November 21, married couple Alex Villa and Danae Alexander officially opened this hip Parisian-style creperie and espresso bar in a small space below the building occupied by the dispensary The Reef. The menu includes the "Fun Guy" (a mix of wild mushrooms with gruyere and Jarlsberg cheese mix, Siberian garlic, and leek confit), "Blacker the Berry" (homemade organic Farmer’s Market blackberry jam with ricotta and lemon zest), Nutella with strawberries or bananas, and the "Classic" (organic ham, gruyere and Jarlsberg cheese mix, and an organic egg).
Capitol Hill
Pickup

Local Bigger Burger
Capitol Hill is now home to a Local Bigger Burger, not to be confused with the Portland-based Little Big Burger chain that opened a location in the neighborhood in April 2019. The Green Lake-based fast-casual burger spot (formerly known as Teddy's Bigger Burgers) has opened a location in the former space of the Broadway Blue Moon Burgers, serving burgers, hot dogs, corn dogs, tots, fries, fish and chips, chicken, shakes, and salads.
Capitol Hill
Pickup

Old Salt Fish and Bagels
Seattle's burgeoning bagel scene has a new contender: On December 3, the dearly departed Fremont restaurant Manolin reopened with a new concept by chef Elisabeth Kenyon, who formerly worked as the head chef at Manolin and now leads the kitchen at Rupee Bar. The pop-up features plain, sesame, everything, and poppy seed bagels, cream cheese spreads, house-smoked fish, and smoked fish and veggie bagel sandwiches, as well as espresso.
Fremont
Pickup

CLOSURES

Hotel Sorrento
According to their email newsletter, the historic Capitol Hill hotel is set to close for the winter, along with their recently opened all-day restaurant and bar Stella.
Capitol Hill

Oddfellows Cafe and Bar
Linda Derschang's longtime Capitol Hill staple is closing temporarily after Sunday, December 6, but worry not: It will reopen in early 2021 with a new "permanent street patio" featuring a deck, roof, and heaters.
Capitol Hill

Lecosho
The beloved Harbor Steps gem is closing at the end of the month. Co-owner Jill Buchanan, who also owns Eve in Fremont, told Eater Seattle that the restaurant was facing decreased business due to COVID-19 and also was unable to reach "agreeable terms" with the space's landlord after its lease expired. Buchanan remains hopeful for a comeback someday in the future but currently has no plans to re-open. Charles Mudede once sang the restaurant's praises, writing, "Not only does the food here agree with me, but the space's north-facing windows do too—the way they seem to fly above the falling steps...More recently, I stopped by Lecosho on my birthday. I wanted to eat there all by myself. That is how much I dig this place. I thought that the best way to commemorate the day I was born was not with other people talking about this and that but in the silence of consuming this restaurant's rich foods and wines." If you'd like to experience it for yourself before they close, the restaurant is currently open for takeout or for outdoor dining on a heated and covered patio.
Downtown

Manu's Bodega
After seven years of business, this Latin American comfort food spot in Pioneer Square, which closed in March due to a building issue and stayed closed due to the pandemic, is now closed permanently. Chef and owner Manu Alfau's other locations—a taco window, truck, and Oro Kitchen space inside Gold Bar—are temporarily closed, and Alfau is set to open a pizza and gelato restaurant in Evergreen Park in Bremerton in 2021. Chef Adam Paulin, who previously spent time at The Masonry, will oversee the menu.
Pioneer Square

POP-UPS AND EVENTS

Washington Pint Day
Breweries across the state will sling exclusive brews in Blindtiger Design custom glassware for Washington's Brewers Guild's Washington Pint Day. Pick up a glass to cherish forever, or stop by a select location offering socially distanced drinking.
Various locations, Friday-Saturday

Swedish Chef Magnus Nilsson In Conversation with Edouardo Jordan
In celebration of his new cookbook, Fäviken: 4015 Days, Beginning to End, world-renowned Swedish chef Magnus Nilsson will join JuneBaby's Chef Edouardo Jordan for a talk hosted by the National Nordic Museum. Tickets include a copy of Magnus’ new book.
Online, Sunday, 11 am-noon

Virtual Author Talk: The Book On Pie by Erin McDowell
Get some pro pie crust tips and filling ideas from Erin McDowell as she cooks a recipe from her new book, The Book on Pie (natch), live on Zoom.
Online, Monday, 5-6 pm

Author Talk: Classic German Baking by Luisa Weiss
Italian American, Berlin-residing cook and writer Luisa Weiss, the progenitor of the popular food blog Wednesday Chef, will present her new cookbook, Classic German Baking, alongside local writer and podcast host Molly Wizenberg. While they chat over Zoom, they'll also be making Biberle (a festive almond cookie) using the recipe from the book.
Online, Wednesday, 10 am-11 pm

Miracle on 2nd
In 2014, New York bar owner Greg Boehm temporarily transformed his space into a kitschy Christmas wonderland replete with gewgaws and tchotchkes galore. Now the pop-up has expanded to more than 100 locations all over the world and will be returning to Belltown’s Rob Roy this year. The specialty cocktails are no ordinary cups of cheer: Beverages are housed in tacky-tastic vessels (a drinking mug resembling Santa’s mug, for example), bedecked with fanciful garnishes like peppers and dried pineapple, and christened with irreverent, pop-culture-referencing names like the “Bad Santa,” the “Yippie Ki Yay Mother F**r,” and the “You’ll Shoot Your Rye Out.” This year, the pop-up will be available for to-go orders only, with "a lot of amusing decor and twerking Santas to elbow bump as you walk through to pick up your take-home kits. Photo ops, a chance for a quick shot, and 15 minutes of holiday delight will all be yours!" Nearby sibling Navy Strength will host the spin-off holiday-tiki-themed pop-up called "Sippin' Santa," which asks you to "imagine Santa on a surfboard instead of a sleigh and palm trees instead of pine," with patio tables available by reservation and cocktails, glassware, and other kits available for takeout.
Belltown, November 24-December 24
Tues-Wed, 3-9 pm, Thurs-Sun, 12-9 pm

SPECIALS

General Porpoise
Renee Erickson's lovely filled-doughnut shop has introduced its newest seasonal flavor, gingerbread (complete with frosted snowflake designs).
Capitol Hill, Laurelhurst
Pickup

Mighty-O Donuts
The vegan donut chain is currently offering pear-glazed ginger spice donuts topped with candied ginger as well as strawberry jam-filled sufganiyots.
Various locations
Pickup or delivery

Salt and Straw
The artisan ice cream shop is getting into the holiday spirit with their yearly Holiday Classics series. This year's lineup: Dwanta's Teremana Spiked Eggnog (an eggnog flavor with Teremana’s Reposado, amontillado sherry, nutmeg, and salt), Cocoa and Peppermint Patties (a mint and cocoa base with homemade peppermint patty pieces), Gingerbread Cookie Dough (a "royal icing" ice cream with gingerbread cookie chunks and gingerbread cookie butter), and The Great Cookie Swap (a vegan flavor with strawberry thumbprint cookies, gingersnaps, chocolate almond bark, sugar cookies, and sprinkles in a macaroon-inspired coconut ice cream).
Ballard, Capitol Hill, Kirkland
Pickup or delivery

Temple Pastries
The recently opened Central District bakery will debut its selection of holiday treats, including brunsli cookies (a gluten-free Swiss cookie with almonds, chocolate, and spices), hazelnut brown butter linzer cookies, chocolate mint cookies, gingerbread wreaths, citrus gingerbread, cranberry thyme macarons, bourbon butterscotch macarons, eggnog macarons, and cranberry vanilla tarts, on Saturday.
Central District
Pickup

OTHER NEWS

Spice Waala announces upcoming Ballard location
The Indian street food spot Spice Waala, which began its life as a farmers market stand and opened its first brick-and-mortar restaurant in Capitol Hill in 2019, plans to open a second location in Ballard in January in the former space of the Boar's Nest. The new location will serve the same menu of kathi rolls, chaat, and snacks like masa aloo fries and bhel puri (savory rice puffs).

Musang named Seattle Met's restaurant of the year
Melissa Miranda's acclaimed Filipinx restaurant Musang in Beacon Hill has been named Seattle Met's 2020 restaurant of the year. Editor-in-chief and food writer Allecia Vermillion writes, "Musang is a destination, full stop, for its food. For garlic rice and roasted chicken adobo, and a dinuguan that manages to be both elegant and true to its pork blood stew identity. But it also shows us the possibility of what restaurants can become. Right now we need that just as much as comfort food."