Last Friday marked the official start of the new school year in Seattle for most students, with remote learning continuing during the COVID-19 pandemic. As kids stay home for classes, many parents and guardians in the area may be struggling to provide midday meals every day, particularly in lower-income households (a problem unfortunately all too common across the country). Below are a few local restaurants that have stepped up with their own takes on school lunches, at wallet-friendly prices.
For those looking to donate time and money to organizations feeding families for free, here’s a list of groups focused on food insecurity, hunger relief, and other needs in the Seattle area.
FeedMe Hospitality and Restaurant Group: This Edmonds-based company, which recently launched a community kitchen initiative, is providing $5 kids meals from noon to 2 p.m. every weekday at restaurants Salt & Iron and Market. Menu items rotate weekly and will include grilled cheese, burgers, fish tacos, chicken strips, and plenty of vegetables. Available for takeout, delivery, and limited dine-in services.
Addo: Chef Eric Rivera is constantly changing things up at his celebrated Ballard restaurant, and has recently introduced a new kid-friendly heat-at-home menu, with prices ranging from $5-7. Among the offerings that will rotate weekly are chicken teriyaki over rice (a dish Rivera says he ate often growing up in the Pacific Northwest), mac ‘n’ cheese, a “Lunchable” recreation (meat, cheese, crackers, and grapes), and a chicken taco kit light on the spice.
Ka Pow Thai on Wheel: This popular U District Thai spot recently launched a $7 “back to school” takeout menu available until September 30. Diners can customize their garlic, ginger, curry, cashew nut, or stir-fried vegetable dishes, served with rice and a selection of either chicken, pork, or tofu as a protein. The level of spice can be adjusted as well.
Salare: Chef Edouardo Jordan’s acclaimed Ravenna restaurant recently reopened for takeout, with a menu that includes school lunch kits. Jordan — who is the father of a six-year old — offers about four day’s worth of sandwiches (such as egg salad and roasted turkey), snacks (including seasonal fruit), and sides for $36. Salare also recently teamed up with the Seattle Urban League and United Way of King County’s No Kid Hungry initiative to give out 400 free meals in August for families in need.
Kamonegi: Knowing what it’s like to work and care for a child at home, chef Mutsuko Soma of Fremont’s soba destination has made some adjustments to her takeout menu geared toward families, including free furikake onigiri (rice balls) and yakult drinks for kids 12 and under with each order (no need to bring along the little ones as proof). The new sandos — including a yuzu tuna melt — could be a lunchtime hit as well.
Skalka Georgian Bakery and Dumpling House: This popular bakery located near the waterfront downtown recently debuted Skalka Kids, a menu meant to provide a few days’ worth of meals for families during the new school year. Beef stew, chicken cutlets, and turkey meatballs are a few of the main dishes at $14-16, with add-ons such as mashed potatoes and pasta with vegetables. Delivery is available for Seattle, Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland, Issaquah, and Sammamish.