Happy New Year! Despite the many blows dealt to the restaurant industry in 2020, the Seattle food scene is already off to a strong start in 2021: The popular bagel business Rubinstein Bagels has launched its first shop, Capitol Hill's Indian street food spot Spice Waala has expanded to Ballard, and a new vegan restaurant has come to West Seattle. Still, there are some losses: Sadly, the Wandering Goose and Neon Boots have said goodbye for good. Read on for that and more essential updates. For more information, check out our food and drink guide.
NEW OPENINGS AND RETURNS
This new restaurant serving up gluten-free, vegan-focused comfort food like fried mushroom "chicken" and waffles and lentil "meatballs" opened in West Seattle on New Year's Day. Though the emphasis is on plant-based foods, the space will later also feature eggs from ethically raised chickens and local shellfish eventually, as well as a retail market.
According to a press release, Capitol Hill's popular fast-casual Italian pasta restaurant Dué Cucina launched an outpost at the Village at Totem Lake in Kirkland on December 29. Chef Filippo Fiori makes all of the ingredients, including fresh pasta, sauces, house-cured guanciale, and more, from scratch. Once space permits, Fiori will also bake the restaurant's focaccia and bread himself.
Andrew Rubinstein's bagel business, which gained a loyal following as a pop-up and later hawked its superb rings of dough through Ethan Stowell's now-defunct Cortina Cafe and a bagel delivery service, now has its very own brick-and-mortar shop inside Via6, near the Amazon Spheres. The menu includes bagels (of course) in flavors like shallot, rosemary salt, and jalapeño white cheddar, as well as coffee and bagel sandwiches. There's also duck fat matzo ball soup and a soup of the day.
Pickup or delivery
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, opens its second location in the former space of the Boar's Nest in Ballard today. The new location serves the same menu of kathi rolls, chaat, and snacks like masa aloo fries and bhel puri (savory rice puffs). The restaurant will also give out free rice pudding today to celebrate its opening.
According to a press release, the winery Tinte Cellars opened its new Seattle tasting room and event space in the former space of a scooter shop in Georgetown on December 18. The spot is now open for limited outdoor covered wine tasting and curbside wine pick-up. Visitors are asked to make a reservation in advance for their visit, but the release states that same-day reservations will often be available.
Pickup or limited outdoor seating
Chef Andrae Bopp, who launched the popular gourmet walk-up counter Andrae's Kitchen inside a gas station in Walla Walla, plans to close his original location on January 24 and will open a full brick-and-mortar restaurant called Mercado in downtown Walla Walla early this year. The new venture will serve the smoked meats and Mexican street food Bopp is known for and will feature a market and an outdoor patio.
Pho Bac co-owner Yenvy Pham is planning to open a new Vietnamese-inspired coffee shop called Hello Em inside the Friends of Little Saigon Creative space in January 2021. The cafe will serve Vietnamese coffee, panini-style banh mi sandwiches, and Vietnamese-inspired baked goods.
The psychedelic desert-themed Belltown bar that inspired a million red-lit bathroom selfies is no more: The atmospheric spot closed due to COVID-19 and issues with its lease. On January 4, patrons paid their respects with a candlelight vigil ceremony beside a Dolly Parton mural painted on the wall for the occasion.
Stimpy's Sports Bar
This Kent sports bar has been shut temporarily down for various COVID-19 violations in the last few weeks, including hosting indoor dinners.
The Wandering Goose
Capitol Hill's Southern cafe and bakery, beloved for its flaky biscuits and crispy fried chicken, has closed for good after eight years of business due to the impact of COVID-19. According to Eater Seattle, owner Heather Earnhardt has hinted at two other projects in the works and will continue to focus on running the historic Tokeland Hotel and Restaurant. For those looking to recreate her Southern comfort food at home, Earnhardt has a cookbook called Big Food, Big Love: Down-Home Southern Cooking Full of Heart from Seattle's Wandering Goose.
OTHER FOOD NEWS
Homegrown buys Savor Seattle
The local sustainable sandwich chain Homegrown, which launched an online store called Homegrown Goods with groceries and meal kits during the pandemic, has purchased Savor Seattle, a company that previously offered tours of Pike Place Market and has since pivoted to selling curated boxes of local food products. Homegrown plans to keep the name Savor Seattle, as well as most of the company's employees.
POP-UPS AND EVENTS
Rondo Japanese Kitchen First Anniversary Week
To celebrate making it through one decidedly tumultuous first year of business, the Japanese izakaya Rondo is now serving up a week of limited-time specials made with fresh, seasonal ingredients and will offer an all-day happy hour all week, with discounts on signature dishes like their katsu curry, mazemen, and donburi.
Capitol Hill, Friday-Sunday
Cocktails 102: Winter Punches Virtual Class
Survive the season by adding three new wintry punch cocktails (Milk Punch, Planter's Punch, and Lost Souls) to your arsenal with Stoneburner's virtual class. Optional ingredient kits are available.
The pie pop-up Grayseas Pies will sling some adorably diminutive mini pies. Flavors include Thin Mint and pear gorgonzola fig.
Distant Worlds Coffeehouse, Saturday
Virtual Author Talk: World Food: Mexico City by James Oseland
Follow along with James Oseland, Saveur editor and Top Chef Masters judge, as he demos a delicious salsa and a refreshing Michelada from his new cookbook World Food: Mexico City during a virtual conversation with professor and home cook James Zarsadiaz.
Virtual Author Talk: A Good Bake by Melissa Weller
The acclaimed James Beard-nominated baker and former chemical engineer Melissa Weller will discuss her new cookbook A Good Bake, which uses science to achieve impeccable baked goods, including croissants, chocolate babkas, and salted caramel sticky buns.
As per annual tradition, the cupcake bakery is offering "Velvet Elvis" cupcakes (banana cake with chocolate peanut butter frosting, bacon, and a banana chip, inspired by Elvis's favorite peanut butter banana bacon sandwich) in honor of what would have been the King's 86th birthday today.
Pickup or delivery
The organic and vegan donut chain has unveiled their new snowball hot chocolate donut, filled with cocoa and dusted with powdered sugar.
Pickup or delivery