Category Archives: Local Businesses

Seattle Met + Seattle Times on Marination’s New Columbia City Project

Photo: Seattle Eater

Photo: Seattle Eater

After a few years of sleuthing the scoop on the Esmay building, things seem to be pretty official with multiple media outlets now reporting the opening of a new restaurant from the owner’s of Marination at Rainier and Hudson.

Last week, Marination got in touch directly with a mini-press release explaining their proposed plans for their upcoming restaurant…and this week, there is already a crew of workers making changes to the building (most likely setting up the first phase–a full commissary kitchen for some of Marination’s other projects).

Both Eater Seattle and Seattle Met picked up the story and even included some of Columbia City Source’s ongoing coverage of the many potential plans that have fallen through.

Seattle Met picked up a few more details:

For two women who built their business out of a food truck, Marination owners Kamala Saxton and Roz Edison have a knack for turning uncommon older spaces into congenial bars and restaurants. Now the pair are expanding the Marination empire to Columbia City, turning the former Esmay Auto Rebuild garage just off Rainier Ave into a restaurant.

It doesn’t yet have a name. And while it’s not technically a Marination, it will share a distinct aloha vibe with the company’s other spots on Capitol Hill and in West Seattle…and the big blue truck where it all began.

A few favorite Marination dishes will show up on the menu, but otherwise company chef Angie Roberts gets to create an entirely new lineup of sunny Asian-Hawaiian fare. The restaurant will serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus weekend brunch. Saxton wants the place to function as a community center of sorts, a place for Little League banquets and casual meetups. Yes, it will be super family friendly, she says. “But expect booze-filled evenings.” There will be ample cocktails, plus the space has a massive attached parking lot that in Saxton’s mind “screams beer garden.” And these ladies would know—the patio at Ma Kai might be the most scenic beer garden in town.

Saxton and Edison were scouting for a commissary kitchen—a place to prep the food served on the truck and elsewhere—and decided to check out the 1947 garage, which had attracted initial interest from a few local chefs and a brewery in the past few years, but was still available. It had great bones and enough room for both a commissary and a full-on restaurant.

Since the space is bigger and more nocturnal than the Marination locations, and will serve a far broader menu than the truck, it felt right to give it a separate identity. Plus, she says she and Edison had a lot of fun opening Good Bar in a former bank building in Pioneer Square (see what I mean about cool spaces?).

The official word is the restaurant will open this fall, but Saxton dares to dream it could happen by late summer…all the more time to enjoy the beer garden. There’s also talk of a popup or two in the parking lot while construction is happening. Keep tabs on all this over at the Marination Facebook

The Seattle Times also picked up the new addition to the neighborhood:

MARINATION’S COMING TO COLUMBIA CITY, and it sounds like it’ll make the neighborhood very, very happy. The new restaurant from Roz Edison and Kamala Saxton doesn’t have a name yet, but it’ll be in the building formerly housing Esmay’s Auto Rebuild (3714 S. Hudson St.). They plan to be open for coffee and so forth in the morning, weekend brunch, and cocktails and dinner — the latter with an Asian-Hawaiian menu featuring local ingredients.

Edison and Saxton live in Columbia City and Seward Park, so it’ll be closer to home for them than their other spots (the various Marination incarnations and the swell-looking newish Good Bar in Pioneer Square). Edison says, “We’re excited about all the growth happening in this part of Seattle and we wanted to bring some aloha to it.” They anticipate opening next fall.

More Clues about Sea Salt

seasaltWhile we are all still waiting for more details on Sea Salt, the restaurant currently under construction at 4915 Rainier (the former Angie’s location), a new posting on Craigslist and Poached (a site for those in the food industry) provides a few more hints as to what’s coming to the neighborhood:

Sea Salt, a new modern American seafood restaurant and raw bar opening this spring in the heart of Columbia City, is seeking a Chef de Cuisine. This position offers a unique opportunity to help launch an exciting new addition to the South Seattle culinary scene.

The opening day menu for Sea Salt has been developed by a local consulting chef, and it will be the job of the Chef de Cuisine to see that the kitchen staff can consistently reproduce those dishes at a high level. Once the restaurant is open and running smoothly the Chef de Cuisine will assume some collaborative creative control.

Applicants to this position should possess excellent communication skills, and be capable of managing a competent and cohesive crew, as well as controlling food and labor costs, while maintaining inventory. We want to foster a positive, fun working environment, and we’re looking for an open minded individual who can lead by example and get the best out of their team. Must have three years experience as a Chef or Sous Chef. As we are a seafood restaurant and raw bar, experience with and interest in local seafood is essential.

This is a full-time, salaried position with quarterly bonus opportunities. Pay will depend upon experience.

If you think this might be you, please respond by emailing your resume as well as a cover letter.


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…”

Esmay Rumor’s Continued: Future Marination Restaurant After All

532640_482152555160135_1462361460_nA couple of weeks ago, I reported that the Esmay building on Hudson (right across from the Greenhouse) was getting converted into a commissary kitchen for Marination’s beloved Hawaiian-fusion restaurants and food truck. As can be imagined, the thought of a prep-only-no-restaurant business in a prime location right in the heart of Columbia City’s business district left a lot of neighbors wishing for more.

Well, good news for everyone craving tacos and sliders: after digging a bit more and discussing the matter with a few people in the know (including Marination directly), a restaurant is definitely in the works for the Esmay building. Public permits and notices submitted to the City of Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development indicate that the project will be done in two stages–the first will be the originally planned commissary kitchen…from there, a second phase of construction will take place, converting Esmay’s into a full restaurant. The following correction notice (where the city had some questions about why a commissary would need a seating area) clarifies the plan:Ordinance Structural Correction Response

While the details of what the restaurant will be are still unclear (Marination currently has three establishments: Marination Station (Capitol Hill), Marination Ma Kai (Alki), and Marination Mobile (food truck)), I’ve been told that a big project is in the works with outdoor seating, a possible beer garden, and major changes to the building listed as part of the plan.  0413_marination-1367007802

So, stay tuned…as we all know,  many potential plans have existed for this site (brewery, burger joint, etc.) and none have come to fruition. This one, however, seems to be the furthest along in the planning stages (type in 3714 S Hudson to see what’s been submitted thus far). While there’s no confirmation on what the restaurant will actually be, we do know for a fact that a commissary is in the works, a restaurant is planned as a second phase, and that Marination is behind it.

Columbia City Bakery’s Evan Adres Nominated for James Beard Award

The list of chefs, bakers, restaurants, and bars that have made the semifinals for a coveted James Beard award have been announced. Evan Andres, baker and owner of our own Columbia City Bakery,  is in the running. Getting nominated essentially means you are recognized as one of the best in the country. Here’s the official announcement:JBF_AWARDS_MEDALLION-BLOG

They’re here! Below are the semifinalists for our 2015 Restaurant and Chef Award categories, from Outstanding Restaurant to Rising Star Chef of the Year.

Scroll down to see if your favorite restaurant or chef is in the running. (For a refresher on how these names were selected, read this.) And don’t forget: we’ll announce the final Restaurant and Chef Award nominees, as well as the nominations for our Book, Journalism, Broadcast Media, and Restaurant Design Awards, at the James Beard House in New York City on Tuesday, March 24.

The 2015 James Beard Awards gala will be held at the Lyric Opera of Chicago on Monday, May 4. The Foundation’s Book, Broadcast & Journalism Awards Dinner will take place at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers in New York City on Friday, April 24…

…Outstanding Baker

Evan Andres, Columbia City Bakery, Seattle
Leif Bjelland, Le Petit Outre, Missoula, MT
Joanne Chang, Flour Bakery + Cafe, Boston
Andre Chin and Amanda Eap, Artisan Boulanger Patissier, Philadelphia
Judy Contino, Bittersweet Pastry, Chicago
Cheryl and Griffith Day, Back in the Day Bakery, Savannah, GA
Abe Faber and Christy Timon, Clear Flour Bakery, Brookline, MA
Mark Furstenberg, Bread Furst, Washington, D.C.
Zachary Golper, Bien Cuit, Brooklyn, NY…

Update on the Esmay Building: Marination to Convert Space into Commissary


Although it will be made right here, don’t expect to actually be able to eat this in Columbia City.

Vacant for years (even after an extensive structural remodel which seemed to be prepping it for a restaurant), the Esmay Building has long been the subject of ongoing rumors. With its good bones, exposed beams, great vintage signage, and key location right in the core Columbia City historic business district (directly across from Greenhouse on Hudson), many neighbors have hoped for another business or establishment that could be another major draw and key part of the community. However, it looks like the potential for any brewery or burger joint is gone.

The Seattle Department of Planning and Development is showing new documentation for the space to officially get converted into a commissary kitchen for Marination. For those not familiar with the business, Marination operates two restaurants: Marination Station on Capitol Hill and Marination Ma Kai on Alki. Marination’s original food truck, Marination Mobile (a.k.a: Big Blue), also has a dedicated following, was once voted America’s best food truck (somehow by Good Morning America’s viewers?), and even had a short stint in Columbia City where the new PCC is now going in.

Looking at the initial forms that have been publicly posted (click here…type “3714 S Hudson” in to search), the proposals and permitting do not appear to have any plans at all for using part of the building for a restaurant space.

I’ve got an email in to the owner of Marination to see if there is any hope for tacos in the neighborhood’s future… from the looks of things, I wouldn’t get your hopes up.

Closed: Corazon Taqueria

After about a year and a half of being open, the owners of Corazon Taqueria posted the following today to the Corazon Facebook page:

Today is the last day we’ll be open! Although it has been a great ride..we are looking forward to a vacation  Come and enjoy your favorite burrito or tacos! Thank you all for your support and friendships! We will still be catering and working on some new exciting projects!


Sea Salt Update

seasaltConstruction has been underway for about a month now at the future home of Sea Salt, the new seafood restaurant that’s coming to Columbia City at 4915 Rainier Ave S (the new building in the former Angie’s location).

There’s still not much to report from earlier rumors and hints picked up from city permits, but Sea Salt now officially has a web presence.

A few weeks ago, went live with a basic “coming soon” message and a few tweets have shown up from @seasaltseattle including this one:

The only seafood and raw bar in South Seattle bout to come to Columbia City in Spring!

It’s not much right now, but it’s definitely something to look to forward to. For more info on what is known about the restaurant, click here.

Where to Watch the Suberbowl in the Neighborhood


Want to stay local? Here’s a roundup of where to watch the game on Sunday:

Ark Lodge Cinema Superbowl Potluck:

Please join us for this free family friendly event. We won’t be showing movies on Game day, so we can host this fun event as a community potluck. Please let us know if you are coming and just a hint, I love 7 layer dip.

The game will be projected on the screen in our 200 seat house and in the banquet room upstairs(no lift or wheelchair access) plus we will have a tv behind the concession stand on the main floor.

See you there! David

The Royal Room:

Looking forward to SuperBowl XLIX this weekend! The Royal Room will be hosting a viewing party for all ages serving $3 12th man tacos, a limited menu, and full bar! GO HAWKS!

Rookies (unless you made reservations, you are too late):

Attention 12’s! Rookies is completely full for our upcoming Superbowl party. Thanks for all the inquiries, but we are no longer taking reservations. Just a heads up…we are not going to be open to the general public! GO SEAHAWKS!!


…there’s a rather popular sporting event going on this Sunday involving a team that some Seattlites hold quite dear. Blue and green Jello Shots! Big screen TV! Food specials! We can’t wait! Join us!

Island Soul has the following invite up on their website…no word on if there are still tables available:

Island Soul

Be sure to use the comments to let everyone know if I missed anywhere…

Sunday 1/18: Morning Star Cafe Pop-Up Brunch at La Isla de Mojito

Tarik Abdullah, a current contestant on ABC’s reality cooking show, The Taste, will once-again be bringing his global pop-up brunch, Morning Star Cafe, to Columbia/Hillman City’s La Isla de Mojito this weekend, Sunday (1/18), from 9am-1pm. Abdullah’s pop-up has received a lot of attention as of late, earning him write-ups in both The Stranger and The Seattle Weekly.


From The Stranger:

This past Sunday I was finally able to check out Morning Star Cafe, chef Tarik Abdullah’s brunch pop-up held at La Isla del Mojito restaurant in Hillman City. Abdullah, who runs his pop-up under the moniker A DJ and a Cook, has been hosting brunch and late-night gatherings at different locations around the city for the last two years, but thankfully it looks like brunch has settled into La Isla for the next few months.

The vibe alone—decidedly South Seattle—makes Morning Star worth a visit: a diverse group of people, happier and more energetic than most early diners I’ve encountered in this city, sharing four communal tables surrounded by bright yellow walls and big picture windows. It was gray and rainy outside, but you would never have known.

Abdullah’s flavors are bold and wide-ranging, heavily influenced by North African and Middle Eastern cuisine, but also drawing from South Asia and the Mediterranean. The Morning Star menu is short and sweet, offering Abdullah’s interpretations of dishes like muesli, quiche, pancakes, shrimp and grits, and the classic American trifecta of sausage, eggs, and hash browns. Thee Combo ($13)—hash browns spiced with oregano and lemon, Tabil (a Tunisian spice mix with coriander and caraway) scrambled eggs, and Merguez sausage—deftly balanced its many strong flavors so they were exciting rather than overwhelming. In Gambas con Polenta ($13), the saucy piri piri prawns sautéed with peppers and onions—bright and piquant—were a wonderful foil to the creamy yellow grits atop which they sat… (click for complete review)

And from The Seattle Weekly:

Tarik Abdullah cannot be stopped! With only two episodes left in Season 3 of ABC’s “The Taste,” he’s still a contender for “America’s Best Undiscovered Cook.” (See Seattle Weekly’s interview with Abdullah here). Last week, Anthony’s Bourdain’s team took its first hit on the Latin-themed episode, but Abdullah was spared, leaving three members. Nigella Lawson’s team has already been completely eliminated and Ludo Lefebvre and Marcus Samuelsson each have two contestants left on their respective teams…

…If you miss him there, you can catch him at his pop-up “Morningstar” brunch series at Isla Del Mojito in Hillman City on Janurary 18th from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. A six-item menu typically features dishes such as Persian spiced french toast deep fried with pineapple compote and jerk spiced beef hash with roasted red peppers, squash and polenta. Entertainment will be provided by Kaffeine.