In the arms race between Seattle museums to see which cafe has the best food, the Frye just took a big step forward: Last week the Seattle Times reported that Grayson Corrales, the chef behind Capitol Hill’s celebrated MariPili Tapas Bar, is taking over the First Hill museum’s Café Frieda.
Corrales, a Washington State native of Spanish descent who apprenticed at the Michelin-starred restaurant Culler de Pau in Spain, opened MariPili in May 2022 to widespread rejoicing (and long lines). She’s not bringing over the entire menu to the Frye — fried whole trout seems unlikely to make the list — but will be featuring a couple of favorites, including the patatas bravas (with tomato-pepper sauce and garlic aioli) and churros with chocolate dipping sauce. According to the Times, “Corrales expressed excitement about featuring boquerones fritos, adobo-marinated-and-fried anchovies served with piparra tartar sauce.” We would also like to express excitement about that.
New Frye director Jamilee Lacy told the Times that the museum went through a fairly robust process of searching for a chef to take over Café Frieda, which has been closed since the beginning of the pandemic, interviewing several candidates and having them cook as a tryout. “Chef Grayson and MariPili just brought the ‘wow!’ factor,” Lacy told the Times.
This follows a recent trend of Seattle museums taking their food seriously. In 2018, the Nordic Museum opened in Ballard with the Freya cafe attached, serving traditional Scandinavian food not on many Seattle menus. In 2019, the Burke Museum announced that it was recruiting Native food truck Off the Rez (and its famous fry bread “tacos”) to be a food vendor at its cafe. And in 2021, MARKET brought its seafood rolls to the Seattle Art Museum.
The new Frye cafe, officially called MariPili at Café Frieda, will also serve beer, wine, and sangria. The anticipated opening date is late October.