Seattle chef Matt Dillon was a panelist on KUOW's Week in Review on Friday. The session of the weekly news roundtable was hosted live at Dillon's Little London Plane. Many link Dillon's decision to open Bar Sajor in February 2013 to the start of the neighborhood's recent food and drink resurgence. When host Bill Radke asked the chef why he decided to open restaurants in Pioneer Square, Dillon responded, "it's beautiful, why wouldn't you be down here?"
Dillon said he spent time in the neighborhood "going to punk rock shows" and at the original Elliott Bay Books in the 80s and 90s and has seen it as a cultural hub.
It's an old part of town and it has been neglected by the people that are outside of it...the people that are inside have put years of work into making this neighborhood viable.
Dillon said he probably would have moved his Capitol Hill restaurant Sitka & Spruce to Pioneer Square years ago, but the timing "didn't feel right."
All the dirt, urine, grime, and unfortunate people that are down here? I'd rather be part of that community and try to do more and stand back in my Phinney Ridge house.
Listen to the whole conversation via KUOW.