It’s almost Friday and this Friday is 4/20. Are you ready? When the munchies hit, where are you heading? Let us help guide you on a tour of some of Seattle’s most fabled grab and go spots, from burgers to tacos to hombows – we’ve got you.
DICK’S DRIVE IN
Wallingford, Crown Hill, Lake City, Capitol Hill, Queen Anne
If you’ve been to Seattle, and haven’t been to Dick’s, have you really been to Seattle? Dick’s, otherwise known as Seattle’s most iconic fast-food chain and often slated as “the In N’ Out of the Pacific Northwest”, is a place where you can instantly recognize a local, just from the way they order. With a no substitutions menu, burgers come exactly as they’re described and there are just three milkshake flavors. It’s been that way since the first Dick’s opened on 45th in Wallingford, in 1954, and the only menu change to date was in 1973, when they added Diet Coke. Now in their 64th year, with a perpetual line at every location, it’s bewildering to think how many people have satiated their growling stomachs here on 4/20s past.
Capitol Hill, South Lake Union, Beacon Hill
Who doesn’t love street tacos? There’s got to be someone out there who’s a stronghold, unwilling to give in to this perfect evolution of food — and when you find them, give them a Chukis taco and prepare to watch their world change forever. Just half a decade old, and inspired by the street food of Tijuana, Chukis is the Cinderella story of unlikely winners in the ever-expanding foodie scene of Seattle. With zero marketing (not even a website) Chuki’s success really comes down to their incredible tacos, topped with fresh pineapple, and bright green guacamole — and get this, the guac is included! The food is cheap, quick, flavorful and perfect for a 4:20 pm snack.
MEE SUM PASTRY
Pike Place Market, University District
Mee Sum – which means ‘Beautiful Heart’ has had a soft spot in the heart of locals for 35 years. The original location is on the corner of Pike, at Pike Place, the longest running and most popular Farmer’s Market in the United States. Although they have received decades of praise for their variety of pastries, none is more celebrated than their gigantic, perfectly proportioned hombow (Hum Bao). With a perfectly glazed, slightly crisped outer dough, encasing soft fluffy dough, which surrounds either BBQ Pork or Curry Beef, it’s hard to eat just one. Each hombow is priced at a convenient $3.50, so if the munchies have you convinced you will need several, you won’t have to break the bank.
BIG MARIO’S PIZZA
Ballard, Queen Anne, Capitol Hill
(Lux) Pot Shop was founded by locals and we’ve seen a lot of change over the years. We knew Ballard when there were only a handful of restaurants and dive bars — the closest pizza joint was Pizza Time on 15th (since defunct and converted to a Domino’s), but up until the early 2000’s, there were very few authentic slice shops. Enter Big Mario’s, home to the best slice of NY style pizza in Seattle. Perfectly greasy, oven baked to extra crispy on request, and best eaten folded in half with lots of chili flakes and parmesan, you can enjoy excellence into the wee hours, at any of their three locations.
EZELL’S FAMOUS CHICKEN
Central District, Rainier, Wallingford, and more!
There are several reasons you should go to Ezell’s – each one of the sides is reason enough – but as a rule, any place Oprah says is great, we’re going to take at face value, and run with it. Legend has it Oprah has had their world famous fried chicken catered, by plane, to her home in Santa Barbara, on several occasions. Photos in the flagship location in the Central District, across the street from the historic Garfield High School, indicate Oprah’s patronage has withstood several decades. We highly recommend the sweet potato pie or peach cobbler, for any well-balanced four twenty meal, and make sure you get the okra (if they haven’t already run out).
ALKI SPUD FISH AND CHIPS
The upper left corner of the country is known for several things, seafood being one of them, and Alki Spud Fish and Chips has been serving the greasiest, most delicious fried seafood since 1935. On an average summer day, Alki Spud serves 900 orders of fish and 600 pounds of fries. Considered Seattle’s first fast-food restaurant, the company almost went out of business during WWII rationing, but the Alki community literally pooled their grease rations, to keep the community cornerstone from going under. Some of the employees have been there for over 40 years and the recipes remain the same as when they opened their doors. So, for locals, this place will always feel like home. Make sure you get a cup of clam chowder to dip your fries in!
You might already know, we love sandwiches – but did you know that we also love ice cream? It’s true, and that’s what makes the Husky Deli an ideal place to go following any session over in Lincoln Park. With a wide selection of specialty sandwiches, a build your own option, and an incredibly affordable deal to make it a “bag lunch”, complete with a drink and chips, for the low of $12 or less, it’s inarguably one of the best deals in the city. We always leave room for dessert, because their in-house ice cream selection is absolutely off the chain. Get the Thin-Mint and tell them we sent you.
THE ORIGINAL PILLY’S
Mount Baker/Beacon Hill
There is nothing glamorous about Philly’s, but who would go looking for glamour at a cheese steak counter? The fries are crinkled and seasoned, the cheesesteaks are sloppy, the space is run like a family institution, high schoolers from the neighboring Franklin High School overflow from it during lunch hours, and not a lick of marketing efforts, beyond store signage and a company van, is made – it is the quintessential neighborhood spot that every neighborhood deserves, but few are blessed with. Opened in 1994 with the sole goal of providing good, authentic Philly cheese steaks in the Pacific Northwest, having remained true to that identity, they’re a testament to the age-old adage – “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” – and save for more parking spaces, there’s nothing Philly’s needs to ever change.
ANN’S TERIYAKI AND KOREAN BBQ
10 years ago there was a Teriyaki spot on nearly every corner of Seattle, and a $6.00 chicken teriyaki lunchbox is what most of us spent a large portion of our lunch money on growing up. But as gentrification takes an increasingly firm grip on the city, the mom and pops of our youth have slowly begun to shutter. Thankfully, in Ballard, we’re still home to some of the longest standing establishments like Ann’s (which now also features Korean BBQ). Seattle style Terriyaki is a fusion of traditional Japanese street food, with an Americanized twist, created by Toshi Kasahara, in Queen Anne circa 1976. The meat is marinated in teriyaki sauce and then grilled to caramelized perfection and served over a bed of white sticky rice, with a sweet slaw-salad on the side. Essentially, this dish is to Seattleites what the Chicago Dog is to Chicagoans.
Ballard, Wallingford, Mount Baker, Aurora, Interbay and more!
Ah, Taco Time and their archetypal neon cactus – recognizable to anyone in Washington State. Although Taco Time is a “Mexican” restaurant fast-food chain, their Americanized twist on authentic dishes puts them more in line with New Mexican fare than anything, and honestly, that’s probably a stretch. Their “mexi-fries” are tater tots, and the “Crisp Burrito” is a gloriously over-sized taquito, but we are not here to nit-pick. We are here to celebrate probably the only Mexican spot we know where ranch dressing is offered not only as a side but also as quintessential sauce inside of several of their burritos. Most people don’t pair salsa and ranch, but at Taco Time it works, and we’re all eternally indebted to the genius (who was likely stoned) and decided to put it on their menu, 35 years ago.