When do you know a neighborhood has “made” it? I polled a few people and the answers vary:
” When it’s got a bar, convenience store, and a greasy diner all within a few hundred yards. “
“When all the lawns look nice and people don’t litter them with Miller beer cans.”
“When parking becomes virtually impossible.”
For me, it’s the sight of Asian food that anchors a neighborhood, and that is the one thing that has been missing in the upstairs (aka – uphill) stretch of Fremont Ave between 41st and 45th.
No longer. With the late summer opening of Vif (pronounced as veef) operating as a cafe, wine shop, coffee joint, co-owners Shawn Mead and Lauren Feldman (who is also the head chef) have also instituted pho Fridays once a month.
Officially decreeing it comfort food season by serving up something stewy or soupy every Friday, expect to see dishes such as cassoulet, beef stew, and the aforementioned pho on the menu. Check their Facebook page to stay informed.
What used to primarily be an arterial to get between Fremont proper to 45th has transformed to a stretch of businesses where you can leisurely spend a few hours.
Legendary Paseo. For years, people have been making this pilgrimage. If you haven’t been to Paseo yet and are having trouble finding it, just look for the “OK now it’s just getting ridiculous” amount of people queued up outside.
It’s Mardi Gras all year at Roux: From beloved truck to brick-and-motar, Matt Lewis’ New Orleans style restaurant officially opened its doors to the public this week. Fried rabbit (just like buttermilk fried chicken, only bunny-er), potato salad, jalapeno cheddar hush puppies, and turtle bolognese adorn the menu. Show up early and snag one of the cozy high-back red booths.
In addition to a packed house, you know Lewis has superfans when, within a minute of walking into his restaurant, I see a jovial middle-aged man ask to have his picture taken with Matt. #SelfiesAreForAllAges
Dot’s Delicatessen: I’m still sticking with my story that the best French food in Seattle is at my neighborhood butcher shop. Steak tartare, burgers & fries, and French onion soup, and grab some sausages and pates for home.
RockCreek: Fremont has something most Seattle neighborhoods covet: a seafood-centric restaurant! Go for the black cod. My tip: My buddy, Eater editor Julien Perry, tipped me off that they also have a killer brunch.
Arts & Fashion
Get your cook and read at Book Larder. It’s more than just a book store! Don’t miss out on their popular lunch break cooking classes and events with prominent visiting chefs.
Video Isle: In case you were wondering if anyone still frequents video stores, guilty as charged. But before you start calling me a dinosaur and asking me if I still rock out to a Walkman, hear me out. The staff is knowledgeable, there are indies you can’t stream through Netflix, and free popcorn!
Eyes on Fremont: Are you a four eyes like me? Get to Eyes on Fremont for trendy and funky glasses that are always a good deal. Bill is my go-to guy as he has not afraid to give you his honest opinion, and he has got impeccable taste.
No neighborhood is a neighborhood by seattle standards without a coffee joint or twelve.
Lighthouse Roasters: It doesn’t get much more Fremont-authentic than starting your morning with Lighthouse Roasters. Housed in a cute yellow house in a residential nook of Fremont, it is commonplace to see regulars who have been making a daily stop to Lighthouse since 1994. Ed Leebrick, the owner, lives next door and is on a first name basis with all of his regulars.
Vif: I feel disloyal walking past Lighthouse enroute to Vif, but when I’m craving a pastry to go along with my caffeine, Vif is where it’s at. Aside from the monthly bakery pop-ups at the Book Larder, Vif is the closest thing Fremonsters have to a bakery. Frittatas, plum galettes, and more await.