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Former Portage Bay Café Chef Will Open Please Maid Café

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Food, fashion, and a love of anime will unite here

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A rendering of a Please Maid Cafe costume
A rendering of a Please Maid Cafe costume
Courtesy of Avalon Zanoni

Italian-Japanese cuisine will meet anime culture this fall in chef Avalon Zanoni’s (Portage Bay Café) Please Maid Café: The only maid café on the West Coast and one of two in the nation (the other is in New York City). A what café? Found primarily in Japan and Korea, maid cafés hold deep ties with otaku and gaming culture, Zanoni says, and they are distinguished by costumed servers who wait on customers as if they are their personal maids or butlers.

Please Maid will offer seasonal lunch and dinner fare including maid café classic omelette rice (in both American and French styles), as well as pastries, coffees, and teas between meals. See a sample menu here. There will be no bar service initially, but guests are invited to bring bottles of wine.

Regarding ambiance, a spirit of cosplay will prevail: Staff will create their own maid attire to wear, and custom maid outfits and other accessories will be available for purchase. Also expect considerable tableside interaction with maids, who will cut open omelettes, pour sauces, and "draw cute Moe character or animal faces in our housemade ketchup," Zanoni says.

Planning to open Please Maid in October, Zanoni is currently scouting out spaces in Capitol Hill and the International District to seat 30 to 40. She is fundraising through an IndieGoGo site, but says that investors ensure that the café will open on time regardless of what it raises online. Like Ivar’s and now Renee Erickson’s three restaurants, it will be gratuity-free "in an effort to create a new service model that allows for all employees to make a living wage," Zanoni says. Learn more about the upcoming space here.

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