The summer of 2011 didn't suffer from a shortage of restaurant openings that excited local eaters; people lined up at Potbelly's, for Pete's sake. But a few openings were especially significant. Here, a list of the restaurants which could prove most meaningful for the Seattle dining scene.
I hate to lump these two eateries together, since I could blather on and on about either of them. But it's impossible to ignore the overlap between Mike James' carnivore's emporium and Mike Easton's pasta parlor. Both counter-service joints benefit immensely from a singularity of purpose; a genuine love for good ingredients and the unwavering belief that food matters more than fuss. It turns out that's a winning recipe for pasta carbonara and pastrami Reubens.
OK, so Marination Station settled down a few weeks before Memorial Day, but there's something undeniably summery about kalbi tacos and Spam sliders, whether they're served from a truck or a bricks-and-mortar restaurant. Marination Station and Skillet Diner this summer proved the best food truckers have the culinary chops--and loyal followings--to ride out the mobile food fad and elevate Seattle's food scene.
Tom Douglas opened three restaurants in South Lake Union this April, but his smart beer-and-pretzel joint has been the liveliest of them. The terrific tavern helped establish the neighborhood as an estimable edible destination, a trick Jerry Corso is now trying to pull off down in Beacon Hill. Both restaurants would be worth visiting wherever they were located, but the prospect of transforming areas stuck in culinary doldrums should excite eaters everywhere.
The Mariners this summer upped the culinary quotient at Safeco Field, reinventing the area behind the bullpen as a high-end food court and attractive bar. Even when the M's aren't playing well, the craft beers are still flowing and Bill Pustari's white pizzas are still hot. And Ethan Stowell's "frites" served with aioli may outclass the garlic fries served elsewhere in the ballpark.