Bottomfeeder: Midway Donuts and the 3 a.m. Food Group

The only thing missing is the Slurpee.

Highway 99 goes through many moniker permutations as it winds through greater Seattle. At some points, it's just Highway 99; at others, Aurora Avenue or International Boulevard. But only Pacific Highway South gives the weathered road that oceanic, top-down, road-trip feel that it yearns for—but so doesn't deserve.While the City of Seattle's crackdown on the stretch of 99 that borders Fremont, just north of the Ship Canal, has garnered all the attention of late (see Vernal Coleman's "The Inn Crowd," Sept. 9), the road gets no less desperate as it winds into south King County. The no-tell motels are still pervasive, as is the plethora of convenience stores. But past the airport, a fresh spin on the latter emerges: the convenience restaurant. Here, teriyaki places aren't just teriyaki places, nor are burger places just burger places. Rather, teriyaki places are teriyaki-burger-gyro-fish-'n'-chip places, and burger places are burger-teriyaki-gyro-fish-'n'-chip places. Of the five core 3 a.m. food groups, the only one missing is the Slurpee.Down where Pacific Highway South meets Kent–Des Moines Road is a small restaurant called Midway Donuts. Only on closer scrutiny do you see that its sign includes, in smaller print, gyros and Philly steaks. And once inside, you find that they too serve fish 'n' chips. Next door is an auto-repair shop, and the restaurant looks to have at one point been a Baskin-Robbins. They still stock the signature pink straws to back that assumption.In terms of quality, the food was as all-over-the-place as the menu. The salad that came with the gyros was drowned in so much vinegar dressing that any other component was indiscernible, and the gyro itself was mediocre. The Philly steak, however, was more than serviceable—the meat was tender and juicy, and not overwhelmed by the accompanying cheese, peppers, or onions.Saturday morning served as a reminder of why "Donuts" dominates the restaurant's sign. Behind the register were two dozen freshly baked varieties to choose from. The buttermilk bar caught my eye. It was so good I wanted it to last forever, to be longer than the longest Philly steak ever prepared. It took me back to a time—a time before bagels—when the local donut shop reigned supreme.mseely@seattleweekly.com

 
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