The Seattle pop-up scene has been vibrant for years, but it proliferated during the pandemic as cooks from some of the city’s best restaurants were laid off, or quit their jobs, and started their own roving operations. Bars around the Seattle area accommodate pop-ups, but the scene’s epicenter is at Ballard breweries like Fair Isle Brewing and Great Notion Brewing, which both host multiple pop-ups every week. Seattle chefs use pop-ups to try out daring ideas they might not risk if they were paying rent for a restaurant space; eating at them offers an early glimpse into what the city’s dining scene might look like in the future.
Here are 15 of the most exciting pop-ups in the Seattle area, listed alphabetically, with options ranging from Singapore-style black pepper Dungeness crab, to whole Turkish-style lamb roasted over applewood, to Taco-Bell-inspired beef crunchwraps, and more.
We’ll update this as more arise, but please let us know if there’s a spot that should be on this list by sending us a tip.
Charley Midency built a following in 2020 for his 9-by-13 pan pizza, including the popular Abuela topped with pepperoni, chili, ricotta, honey, and sesame seeds. But his menu has since diversified, with options ranging from chili burgers to Taco-Bell-inspired crunchwraps with braised beef to pozole. Chachi’s PNW pops up at a lot of bars and breweries in town, and updates are posted regularly on Instagram. @chachispnw
Street food purveyor Garzón recently launched Ekéko, serving what chef Jose Garzón calls “drinking snacks” from all over Latin America. Items include aji-tossed French fries and birria-style beef and cheese with salsa criolla on corn tortillas. Ekéko pops up at The Growler Guys in Lake City; the calendar is available on Garzón’s website. @ekeko.wa
Chef Berk Güldal grew up in Istanbul and met his partner, Katrina Schult, while working as the sous chef of SingleThread Far, a three-Michelin-starred restaurant in California. They moved to Seattle last year and have been serving traditional Turkish dishes like succulent medium-rare lamb kebabs wrapped in lavash and kokoreç (lamb sweetbreads and intestine) sandwiches. Once in a while, including on Jan. 30, Güldal cooks whole lambs over an applewood fire. The pop-ups are at Fair Isle Brewing in Ballard every Sunday from 12:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. or until the food sells out. hamdiseattle.com
Baker Eun Hye Lee takes influences from her Korean background and expertise in French baking techniques for this new dessert pop-up. Items include canelés in flavors such as milk tea and Jeju matcha raspberry, as well as a financier-madeleine hybrid filled with a citrus chocolate ganache (which Lee dubs “fideleines”). Right now, Haru can currently be found at local cafe Tougo Coffee and has popped up at Broadcast Coffee. @haruseattle
Owner Kryse Panis Martin has found a great deal of demand for her excellent pints of ice cream, which come in fun flavors such as Wu Tang Forever (French vanilla with butter pecan and chocolate) and marshmallow pandan. Pick up is usually at Beacon Hill coffee shop The Station and preorders go quickly, but new flavors are added regularly. @kyrse_icecream
This pop-up is dedicated to Latinx-Caribbean soul food, with a menu boasting mojo pork, pollo frito sandwiches, and mac and cheese with chicharron crum, as well as hearty sides of red guisado beans and rice. Diners can find Lenox Future Primitive Brewing in White Center. @lenoxwa
Virginia Rachel Ranti’s pop-up delivers decadent seafood feasts with Southeast Asian flavors, like whole Dungeness crabs with Singapore-style black pepper and chili sauces and elaborate seafood boils. Ranti was born in Jakarta but grew up in Singapore, where she absorbed the cuisine of hawker centers — dishes like laksa (spicy curry noodle soup) and Hainanese chicken rice — which she occasionally serves through her pop-up. Preordering is required via Instagram message or text. @marimakanseattle; (206) 228-8466
Masakan does monthly pop-ups serving Malaysian dishes like beef rendang with glutinous rice balls, curry puffs made of potato in flakey pastry shells, and murtabak, crispy roti stuffed with caramelized onions and minced beef. Locations shift, and updates are posted on Instagram. @masakanseattle
My Friend Derek’s
Derek Reiff, a web developer by day, sells some of Seattle’s best Detroit-style pizza out of his studio in Fremont. The options (cheese, pepperoni, mushroom) are straightforward, but the care Reiff puts into developing the even crumb in the crust and crisp layer of cheese around the edges of the square pies makes the pizza exceptional. Pizzas are available once or twice a week, and preorders fill up quickly. myfrienddereks.com
Jacob Helmolz DeLay, a cook at Rupee Bar, told The Seattle Times he serves dishes using local ingredients from the ocean, something he picked up working with chef Rachel Yang of restaurants Revel and Joule. His pop-up menu, available for preorder on Instagram, includes dishes like kale Caesar salad with ikura and bonito dressing and a potato dish made with kombu and hijiki (a sea vegetable) though dishes change for each pop-up. Other options include a pork belly sandwich with Sichuan peppercorn and caraway kraut. @scoundral_sea
Selva Central Goods
This pastry pop-up is all about Central American pan dulces inspired by the roots of baker and owner Mayra Sibrian. The menu includes Salvadoran pound cake, plantain muffins, and semitas with guava and hibiscus-chia jam filling. Find Sibrian’s confections at various farmers markets and at Resistencia Coffee, Rey Amargo, and Grumpy Bean. @selvacentralgoods
For this growing pop-up, Seattle native Alex Dorros cooks up Peruvian dishes influenced by his travels around South America, with help from his mom. The menu rotates often, but past meals have included ceviche, seafood stews, braised vegetables with Peruvian herbs, pepper-based sauces like aji amarillo, and plantain chips. Most recently, it has popped up at Fast Penny Spirits in North Queen Anne. @siemraseattle
Musician Lupe Flores (drummer for the bands Wild Powwers, Tacos the Band, and LORBO) has drawn long lines for her Lebanese-Mexican taco pop-up, praised for its delicately fried tortillas. Now, she’s found a more permanent home at popular Belltown bar Jupiter. The tacos come in varieties such as Lebanese brown butter beef, creamy garlic potatoes, and spicy cauliflower, with sides that include comforting soups. @situtacos
Three Sacks Full
Taiwan-raised chef Michael Tsai has paired up with wine guy Matthew Curtis to highlight regional, seasonal produce (much of it grown by the duo on a half-acre plot at Goose and Gander Farm in Carnation, Washington), alongside wine produced by small wineries. Main courses focus on grains and vegetables, while meat and seafood take a back seat. The pop-ups are every other week, with Tuesdays at Ebb & Co. in Ravenna and Wednesdays at La Medusa in Columbia City. @threesacksfullseattle