Ten Restaurants Seattle Needs

Guaranteed successes, from ceviche to downtown wienies.

If you'd have asked me last year what restaurants Seattle needed most, I'd have told you late-night bistros. One Cafe Presse, one Tavolata, and one Quinn's later, that hole has been filled. This year, I polled several dozen staffers, freelance food writers, and friends about what this city needs now. Rejecting all the selfish "A good X restaurant in my neighborhood" responses, out of 100 suggestions I culled these 10 restaurant concepts. I guarantee all are surefire hits. No-brainers, even. Take these suggestions to your bank, show them to your loan officer, and e-mail me when you're about to open. Just don't screw them up and prove me wrong. 1. A restaurant specializing in Peruvian ceviche. Seattle loves raw fish. Peruvian cooks make magic with it. Why has this trend, huge in San Francisco, not taken off up north? (Bonus dish: lomo saltado, a Chinese-Peruvian stir-fry with steak and French fries.) 2. Chicago-style deep-dish pizza. Neapolitan, New York, whatever. Why no Chicago-style pizza here? The ingredients don't cost that much, you can turn tables quickly, and millions of Americans eat pizza three or more times a week. 3. A top-notch sub shop. I counted five requests from my pollsters for a shop selling East Coast hoagies with the works. Five. There are a lot of former East Coasters out there desperate for authentic subs. 4. More street food. Thanks to Hallava Falafel, Skillet Street Food, Wallingford's Rancho Bravo, and a dozen hot-dog stands for paving the way. Now Capitol Hill needs a real, Mexican-owned taco truck, downtown needs lunchtime hot-dog trucks, and Green Lake needs a knockoff of New York's Shake Shack. 5. A midpriced Slavic restaurant. This area has a big Russian community, tons of Russian/Polish/Slovak delis and piroshki bakeries, and even a pelmeni-pierogi stand in Pike Place Market. Why no sit-down restaurants? 6. A good coffee shop in southern West Seattle. Hey, Vita and Stumptown! Ever think about backing away from your Mexican standoff in Capitol Hill to expand to neighborhoods begging for you? What about you, Vivace? Lighthouse? Zoka? Southwest Seattle has a lot of love, in the form of hard cash, that it's looking to shower on a good cafe. Pizza delivery service, too. 7. A downtown Red Mill. In the business district, you can get cheap burgers and good expensive burgers, but no decently priced, kickass ones. If not Red Mill, how about a Red Mill copycat? I won't complain. 8. An artisanal, locavore ice-cream stall. As a half-dozen new frozen-yogurt shops are proving, there's a market here for cold 'n' creamy, and it shouldn't be all low-fat. There has to be at least one enterprising pastry chef out there who's sick of working with brutish hot-line cooks. 9. Real tapas. To quote Maggie Dutton, Weekly drinks columnist and fellow Spanish cuisine lover: "a true T-A-P-A-S bar, as in dirt-cheap, mostly fried, decent-to-better food, with small, cheap drinks and no seats." I'd add that your potential success depends on emphasizing both "fried" and "cheap." 10. The return of Frites. How could Seattle let the best late-night french fry stand in America get away?

 
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