Even though pandemic-related labor shortages and supply chain clogs haven’t really gone away, Seattle is once again booming with hot restaurant openings. Just in the last month, Sea Wolf Bakers opened its highly anticipated bagel shop in Montlake, Boca Argentine Bakery and Pizzeria started serving South American pastries and pizzas in Capitol Hill, and an immersive sci-fi bar from the owner of Stampede Cocktail Club opened in Fremont.
Restaurant opening dates are still getting postponed (it’s unclear at this point when, or if, Shota Nakajima’s Cle Elum teriyaki restaurant will open, and Ms. Helen’s Central District diner will probably be opening in the fall instead of this summer). But summer 2022 in Seattle will be stacked with restaurant openings anyway, including a brick-and-mortar restaurant by one of the city’s hottest pop-ups, a location of Los Angeles’s favorite Korean barbecue chain, and a Bellevue sushi bar by a star apprentice of Seattle sushi godfather Shiro Kashiba.
When: Late summer
What: Hamdi wowed the Seattle food community during the pandemic with the best Turkish food the city had ever seen: juicy hand-minced lamb kebabs without a hint of gaminess, earthy sandwiches loaded with intestines and sweetbreads, and whole lambs brushed with thyme, roasted over applewood, and served with lavash. The lines for the pop-ups, normally held at breweries around the city, were always long, and the food always sold out. But owners Berk Güldal and Katrina Schult both have backgrounds at three-Michelin-starred restaurants, and they weren’t able to flex their service and drink-pairing skills at the pop-ups. The pair are planning to open a full-service restaurant in Fremont or Ballard by the end of the summer, where they’ll serve food on Turkish ceramics and pair it with wines and Turkish cocktails made with ingredients from their latest trip to Güldal’s native country. Whole lamb roasts will continue to be a special and the kebab will remain the signature dish.
Baekjong Korean Barbecue
What: A Korean barbecue chain that’s been hailed as Los Angeles’ best KBBQ is coming to Lynnwood’s Alderwood Mall next month. Baekjeong was founded by a Korean professional wrestler in 2003 and was brought to Los Angeles in 2012 by Michael Chon and the Kijung Hospitality Group. Legendary Los Angeles Times food writer Jonathan Gold listed the restaurant a decade later on his famously competitive 101 Best Restaurants list. The Lynnwood restaurant will be the first in the brand’s history to have a larger menu, which includes new lunch and bar menus, but will continue to only use USDA Prime grade meats and better, with customer favorites like short ribs and pork jowl.
A Bellevue sushi spot from a star apprentice of Shiro Kashiba
When: Late July or early August
What: A sushi bar from Jun Takai, a star apprentice of Seattle sushi godfather Shiro Kashiba, is opening a downtown Bellevue sushi restaurant. Ed Kashiba, Shiro’s son, is helping run operations. Takai moved from Tokyo to train with Kashiba a little over 10 years ago and previously made sushi at the well-regarded Bellevue location of I Love Sushi. Ed says the menu will focus on Edomae-style sushi, omakase, and small plates using seasonal ingredients, something like what Shiro serves at his Pike Place restaurant, Sushi Kashiba. There will be around 40 seats, with a 10-seat omakase counter and a six-seat bar where diners can sample high-end Japanese whiskey. The restaurant will be located on the ground floor of One88 condo building on Bellevue Way
When: Late August or early September
What: Detroit-style pizza phenom Moto, whose West Seattle shop sells out of pizza preorders months ahead, is opening a second location in Belltown. The new restaurant in the former location of Renee Erickson’s Boat Street Cafe will expand production with a highly mechanized pizza-making process — a hard pivot away from the hand-mixed doughs and 100-year-old sourdough that owners Lee Kindell and Nancy Gambin have become known for. The new shop will sell classic Moto flavors like clam chowder and crab-topped pizza, along with some new iterations as well. Vertical hydroponics will add greenery to the space and provide the pizzeria with the freshest arugula from just a few yards away.
When: The Seattle food scene’s biggest mystery
What: The couple behind Terra Plata, chef Tamara Murphy and Linda Di Lello Morton, are working on a second restaurant in Columbia City, which will be focused on Peruvian cuisine. Though it’s unclear if the restaurant will be opening this summer or later in the year (Murphy says she is dealing with staffing issues), it’s probably the most-anticipated opening in Seattle this year and will bring some respect to a neighborhood on the come up in the food scene. Murphy, who became a legend in Seattle for her 11 years at Spanish-influenced restaurant Brasa, hasn’t opened a new restaurant since Terra Plata debuted over 10 years ago. Details on what the project will look like are still murky, but the food is sure to be exceptional.