Brighton: A Food Court of Religious Options

Part two of our series looking at neighborhoods that might not be neighborhoods.

Unlike last week’s neighborhood, Top Hat, Brighton is shaped like a top hat, albeit a bent one. Brighton, located just off the Othello Light Rail Station on Martin Luther King Jr. Way South, is the kind of diverse neighborhood where you’ll find a crawfish joint near a Buddhist temple down the way from an Ethiopian cafe. You’ll find a McDonald’s too, but they’re everywhere.

Like many somewhat obscure neighborhoods, no one’s completely sure what to call Brighton. This piece of earth has gone by South Seattle, Rainier Valley, Brighton, and now, increasingly, Othello—a pretty good name for a neighborhood, but if you’re going to go the Shakespeare route, the best name is easily Titus Andronicus. “Welcome to Titus Andronicus.” See, it sounds cool.

Schools and parks are often major determining factors in neighborhood branding wars (worst reality show ever). The name Brighton took a hit in 2010 when Brighton Elementary School was renamed Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary, and then there’s the Othello Playground. The arrival of light rail a few years ago had the potential to be the deciding factor. One can picture the train being beckoned like a puppy between the pro-Brighton crowd and the pro-Othello crowd, going back and forth uncertainly on its tracks. Obviously, Othello won out. I guess the “Hello Othello” signs along MLK kind of point to that.

Along with its array of eateries, Brighton is a virtual international food court of religious-observance options, with houses of worship catering to nearly everyone: the Duoc Su Temple (Buddhist), Rosehill Missionary Baptist, Minyan Ohr Chadash (orthodox Jew), Vietnamese Presbyterian Church, Community of Christ, Muslim Housing Services, and the Maranatha Adventist Church, among plenty of others. Depending on when services start, you could easily experience three or four different covenants in one day.

And there’s ample opportunity to mess up your best Sunday clothes with innumerable food options that I would have refused as a picky kid, but enjoy now. Standouts include the Huong Que Deli and Cafe, The Cajun Crawfish, Thai Savon, Rainier Restaurant and BBQ, Cafe Avole, and Huarachitos. Of course, there’s also the nondescript Zest’s Fast Food, which is sometimes referred to as Zesto’s, though I don’t have the energy to delve into the Zest/Zesto’s thing after all that Brighton/Othello malarkey.

Should you move here? Between the school, the park, the light-rail station, and countless diverse restaurants and temples, Brighton crosses every base that being a great neighborhood requires. If you’re looking for a bite or a God, head on down.

NeighborHuh? is a four week series celebrating Seattle neighborhoods you didn’t even know were neighborhoods.

More in News & Comment

Paul Allen, shown in 2015. Courtesy of the Herald
Paul Allen Dead at 65

Microsoft co-founder, developer, and philanthropist routinely struggled with cancer.

Le family attorneys Linda Tran and Jeff Campiche stand on either side of Tommy Le’s parents, Hoai Le and Dieu Ho, at the Dat Lat Quan Vietnamese restaurant in White Center on Oct. 14. Photo by Josh Kelety
‘We’re Not Going to Give Up’: Vietnamese Community Rallies for Tommy Le

Over a year after law enforcement fatally shot the 20-year-old Burien resident, family and community members remain galvanized to seek justice.

County Officials to Use Downtown Seattle Jail as Homeless Shelter

The facility will house between 125 and 150 people, allow for 24-hour access, and likely won’t require that individuals be sober to stay there.

State Supreme Court Strikes Down Death Penalty

All nine justices found the use of capital punishment in Washington state unconstitutional and racially biased.

Incarcerated and Infirmed: How Northwest Detention Center Is Failing Sick Inmates

Inadequate medical care plagues immigrants at the facility, but ICE claims otherwise.

DNA Under Girl’s Fingernail Leads to Attempted Kidnapping Charge

Teen scratched man’s face after he forced her into vehicle near Kent

Executive Constantine Reforms Police Deadly Force Inquest Process

The changes come after community members and advocates called the system biased in favor of law enforcement.

Most Read