Island Soul’s Theo Martin on Seattle Job Growth

Island Soul’d owner, Theo Martin, was highlighted in a recent Seattle Time’s article on local hiring. Click here to read Janet Tu’s “Local Hiring Should Outpace US Job Growth this Year:”


Theo Martin, owner of Island Soul restaurant in Columbia City, is planning to remodel and expand the restaurant’s bar because of the economic recovery. (John Lok/The Seattle Times)


It’s happy hour at Island Soul Restaurant in Columbia City, and the place is bustling.

The bar stools and tables in Theo Martin’s Caribbean/soul-food eatery are crowded with folks downing fish tacos and jerk chicken wings, beers and rum drinks, even though it’s still early evening on a weeknight.

 That’s a far cry from a few years ago, when the Great Recession cut sales by 50 percent, and Martin laid off half the staff and barely avoided foreclosure on his restaurant building.

Now, with the economic recovery under way and an influx of young, high-tech workers into the neighborhood, Martin’s sales have bounced back above pre-recession levels, he’s rebuilt his staff, and he’s planning to remodel and expand the restaurant’s bar

“There’s confidence now,” he said. “When the economy was bad, even if you weren’t unemployed, you felt unemployed — you felt that something was going to happen. Now there’s confidence in people’s being stable at work…”

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