Distraction is a brilliant addition to any business. An example comes from the Cracker Barrel, a big box chain of faux-southern restaurants and "country stores" dotting American highways. A lot of kids across these United States spend Sundays at Cracker Barrel begging for giant lollies and crawling on rocking chairs while they wait with their parents for a table.
One reason to be glad you live in Washington: There are no Cracker Barrels within our state's boarders. Another: Instead of browsing maple syrup bottles, parents can school kids on the likes of Murmur and Teen Dream while waiting for eggs and bacon at Easy Street Records and Cafe. It's a right remedy for tweens inundated with Mr. Bieber and Ms. Swift.
Easy Street opened its cafe 12 years ago in West Seattle, long before cupcake shops and schmancy fried chicken restaurants set up shop along the California Avenue retail core. A wait is inevitable on weekends, which is why the espresso bar and listening stations are a godsend when you're killing time with antsy kids. The place is loud and its walls are oversaturated with eye candy. It's also cheap, with most entrees hitting the six to nine dollar range.
Kind of like picking a wine based on the look of the label, it's easy to be swayed from one Easy Street dish to another based on title alone. Menu items are named with a hearty nod to a musical icons: There's the Woody Guthrie Farmers Omelet and New Wave O's Rancheros, to name a few. Portions demand an empty stomach or a few hours break before they're polished off. The Horton's Heat Hash is a spicy, melty mound of corned beef, bacon, and potatoes that was made for globs of ketchup. Even picks from the section of the menu designated "for lighter appetites" are oversized, like the Thin Lizzy: For four and a quarter, a pair of eggs and cheddar are stuffed into a burrito with sides of salsa, sour cream, and hash browns. The flavors etched into the griddle soak in the eggs while they're cooking, making a dish that could easily be prepared at home inexplicably better.
Sadly, Easy Street's cafe-less Queen Anne location closes January 18 after 12 years of business. Before the space becomes a Chase bank branch, haul the kids by and browse the aisles, or take them to see Yo La Tango on closing day. Thankfully, with a 15 year lease, the West Seattle Easy Street store and cafe will be around until 2028. You might be able to take your grandkids for brunch by then.