The owners of Island Soul Rum Bar and Soul Shack in Columbia City have an exciting new project in the works on the Eastside. A spinoff restaurant called Arleana’s will open on Central Way in Kirkland, sometime in 2022, serving up a similar menu of Caribbean dishes and cocktails, but with more of a focus on seafood.
Co-owner Theo Martin, who spent a large portion of his childhood in Kirkland, tells Eater Seattle he wanted to be close to where a lot of tech workers live and in an area where a restaurant like Arleana’s would stand out. “There’s zero type of this food there,” he says, adding that he’s looking to recreate Island Soul’s fun, party atmosphere in the neighborhood. The new location is 2,900 square feet, almost twice the size of Island Soul, and will be built out as an airy space, with lots of plants and greenery. “We want it to be cozy and hip, not sterile,” Martin adds.
Diners can expect flavors influenced by the Caribbean and New Orleans in items like Escovitch and grilled shrimp, with a rotating selection of seasonal fish and chips, while the drinks side will be rum-heavy, just like Island Soul (and there will be brunch offerings as well). Though there’s quite a bit of time to go before the opening, Martin — who named the restaurant after his mother — aims to roll out some pop-up previews in September at locations still TBD.
Meanwhile, Martin and his wife Gaelyn’s Columbia City restaurant is still going strong after nearly 15 years, having made many adjustments during the pandemic, including establishing some popular to-go cocktails and constructing a sizable patio outside on Rainier Avenue S for outdoor dining. They’ve also continued several charitable efforts, serving meals to frontline workers and making donations to the Rainier Valley Food Bank. Now, the long-planned expansion is top of mind.
“COVID taught us more on how to survive, and the best ways to expand,” Martin says. “It’s hard enough to run one restaurant let alone others, but [Arleana’s] is something I always envisioned.”