Skillet Counter Classes Up The Armory

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Just about every carnivorous Seattleite who eats local has or has been meaning to splurge on a burger at Skillet. Now, with the opening of the new Skillet Counter at the Armory, tourists can 'stumble upon' the famed $12 beef patty in a bun, or opt for a toned down version minus the blue cheese and bacon jam for $10.

Skillet Counter's wide-open floor plan, featuring a few raised seats and tables, is light and shiny. The aesthetic tows the line between hip franchise and simple Northwest, with metal swivel stools and reclaimed wood.

The scaled down menu is as predictably indulgent and consistently good as ever, with the same tried-and-true big boy biscuits and pork belly and cornmeal waffles you'll find at Skillet's Capitol Hill post. Ordering a bowl of fiery tomato soup and pile of greens for dinner almost justifies ending up with a chocolate malt or pie in a bowl, with chocolate pudding, nibs, and a pinch of sea salt.

Kids can eat well here, with a menu that riffs off of the usual yawns found on children's menus across the planet, like buttery grilled cheese sans crust and a fluffy waffle, dressed up with a heap of fresh berries and mound of whipped cream. Breakfast for breakfast, or breakfast for dinner. Either way, kids can burn it off by weaving though the oversized Armory, playing tag to the base of the Space Needle, or kicking around in the International Fountain.

To be nit-picky, there are a couple of problems with Skillet's Counter. There's a carefully stacked collection of different sized skillets lining the shelves for show below the cash register. The weighty, stacked pans are begging for a meddling toddler to grab, drop on his sibling's head, or smash on her toe.

On a recent trip, the raised eating counter tracing the edge of the building was filled with diners. More than half of the group was digging into Subway foot longs, the rest into Skillet's burger and fries. If a four top unwrapped foreign BLTs on the table of a restaurant anywhere else in Seattle, a server would likely ask the patrons to leave in the most passive aggressive manner possible.

But none of the staff seemed to mind much. Because in context, that melding of food from vendors, ranging from Street Treats and Bigfood to Starbucks and said national sandwich chain, is less surprising, and even welcomed.

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