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Things happen in Lake City. Big neighborhood news in the last weeks included a pedestrian tackling a suspect bolting away from a police officer, SDOT

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Elliott Bay Brewery's Lake City Public House: A Pretty Big Deal

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Things happen in Lake City. Big neighborhood news in the last weeks included a pedestrian tackling a suspect bolting away from a police officer, SDOT announcing that it's replacing a pair of crosswalks on the main drag, and city leaders meeting to consider a neighborhood high-octane beer ban for the publicly inebriated. But what's just occurred is--hands down--the biggest and brightest change Lake City has seen in years. Elliott Bay Lake City Public House & Brewery, you are warmly welcomed.

On opening night, Elliott Bay had an hour and a half wait during peak dinner hours. The next night, it took nearly 30 minutes to snag a table. People came out of the woodwork, and a new, all-ages, pray permanent, meeting place has been created in a neighborhood that badly deserves it. But does the food live up?

The Lake City location sits between Toyoda Sushi and a dance studio, with access from a parking lot in back that offers a good view of brewing equipment. The room is ambitiously big, with built-in booths and tables accommodating two tops, families, and larger parties wrapping around a bar area. Kids get their own menu, crayons, and--between passing buses, flat screens, and big portions served fast--a lot of eye candy. Wood floors, neutral colors, and natural light work to make the space feel a little more intimate, but allow wiggle room so that families and couples don't bump elbows.

Elliott Bay already operates tried-and-true locations in Burien and West Seattle. Both are examples of how smart it can be to start breweries in areas that aren't already flooded with similar businesses. And although the Lake City kitchen will have inevitable kinks to smooth out in the coming weeks, the formula of what's worked before is likely to make an easier transition.

The menu covers all the bases, then multiplies them. Sweet potato waffle fries are served with an addictive cherry ketchup good enough to eat with a spoon. There are salads, whatever, but the real magic happens under the menu's sandwich and burger lists. Standouts include the ground elk burger topped with (here we go again) cherry aioli, onions, bacon, and Swiss. Happily, the menu contains the option of ordering battered cod or seared Ahi tacos, depending on your fried food tolerance.

Pick from a dozen burgers, including The Green Chile with cheddar jack and chipotle mayo, or The Shroomer with Swiss and a mound of hot mushrooms. Both come with a side of with fresh, mildly guilt-reducing slaw. To complicate matters, thick cut steak fries reminiscent of the best East Coast boardwalk spuds hit the right salt balance and are tough to stop eating. Beers are brewed with organic barley, and a large rotating list ranges from pale ale to stout.

Elliott Bay dishes up malted banana blueberry hotcakes and salmon scrambles as a part of their weekend brunch menu. Wash it down with the Red Light, the brewery's version of a Bloody Mary--tomato juice mixed with an organic light brew is served with a stick of house-made pickled veggies. Have one. Then, if you've got the gumption, scoot over and say hello to your neighbor.

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