Mr. D’s isn’t just the name of a restaurant, it’s a person. And that person is Demetrios Moraitis, a Pike Place Market restaurateur since the ’80s who’s become a household name for making frozen gyro-meat sculptures in the likeness of Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, among others.
About eight years ago, Moraitis opened a second, more spacious Mr. D’s with a full bar near Starbucks’ headquarters in SoDo, in the space occupied for ages by Lemieux’s, a diner’s diner that attracted a solidly blue-collar clientele. Shrewdly, the SoDo Mr. D’s has done nothing to scare away Lemieux’s base, other than temporarily closing for a few weeks this past summer when road construction along First Avenue South made the corridor commercially unbearable. Mr. D’s has kept American classics on the menu alongside Mediterranean fare; to wit, the house burger—the “Mr. D,” consisting of two-thirds of a pound of ground beef, bacon, a fried egg, and cheese—is probably not the sort of concoction Moraitis could sculpt into artistic gold.
If you dare to ingest the Mr. D burger, you’ll be able to work off a little weight by taking a Murderball-esque lap around the floor, as the chairs in the main dining room have wheels, like you’d find in an office (and judging from their vintage, Barney Miller’s office). But if you care to steer your stomach toward something a tad healthier, the Mr. D salad makes a satisfying option. You know those Greek side salads you typically get when you order a gyro? The Mr. D salad is a giant version of this, only with the gyro meat and tzatziki piled on top. All in all, it’s like an Atkins gyro entrée—perfect for lunch when you don’t have the luxury of drawing the blinds and taking an afternoon catnap while your boss is in a meeting.
Then again, you could always just repair to Mr. D’s bar, as lively in the middle of the day as it is at night—if not livelier. It’s not the sort of scene you’ll often find outside an industrial area; round-the-clock shift grids and the thirst built up by a day’s hard labor have a way of fostering such a perpetual flow of Jacks and beer backs.