Food & Culture

Chain Restaurants Are Flooding Seattle, And We Love It

Are these chains changing our local dining scene? Who cares, as long as ice cream and ramen are involved.

By Chelsea Lin July 20, 2017


Listen, Seattle: It’s time to loosen up about chain restaurants. If Din Tai Fung has taught us anything—besides how to have the patience of a preschool teacher while waiting for a table—it’s that sometimes really great food can come from bigger businesses. (And sometimes, not so much: RIP, Old Spaghetti Factory.) Now, the trend is making room for smaller or international chains serving mostly casual, quick meals and desserts to set up shop. These spots are all opening soon: 

Tentenyu Ramen
Opening July 28, this Kyoto-based ramen shop will be serving big bowls of shoyu (soy sauce) broth and a popular chicken broth.
Capitol Hill;

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka
More ramen: This one from the northernmost Japanese island of Hokkaido with a long-simmered pork broth and an AI robot to greet you at the door, as of Aug. 5.
University Village;

The Halal Guys
Long a New York favorite, these gyro slingers will be opening the doors in early August, covering everything with their signature (reportedly super addictive) white sauce.
Pioneer Square;

85°C Bakery Café
Lines still occasionally snake around the Tukwila location of this Taiwanese bakery, so it’s good that Lynnwood is getting its own shop in August—likely not the last we’ll see locally from these guys.

Sugar Factory
If the Kardashians like it, it’s good enough for us. An over-the-top spot for fancy sundaes and doughnuts, this chain with locations around the country (and the globe) is coming to the Bravern later this summer.

Salt & Straw
This Portland ice cream purveyor is already a Seattle legend after collaborating with Tom Douglas on the most amazing coconut cream pie ice cream last year. Now, we’re getting our own location—two, in fact—this winter. Can we have a Wiz Bang Bar, too?
Capitol Hill and Ballard;

In my fantasies, this list would also include both an In-N-Out and Shake Shack, a Momofuku Milk Bar, a Blue Bottle Coffee and a Waffle House. Keep dreaming, huh? 

Join The Must List

Sign up and get Seattle's best events delivered to your inbox every week.

Follow Us

Decolonizing dining in Seattle

Decolonizing dining in Seattle

Hillel Echo-Hawk is at the forefront of Seattle’s Indigenous food movement

In 2022, an Indigenous-owned restaurant serving a precolonial menu — Owamni, in Minneapolis — earned a James Beard Award as the best restaurant in the country. Names like Sean Sherman and Crystal Wahpepah (respectively, a Beard award finalist for best emerging chef, and the first Native American chef to compete on the Food Network’s Chopped)…

Pastry: An Affair to Remember

Pastry: An Affair to Remember

Chef Ewald Notter of Dote Coffee Bar makes it easy to fall in love with pastry and chocolate

Most romances unfold in predictable ways. An invitation for lunch, where you share sandwiches in a loud café, silently wishing your bread was crisper, but never giving up on the idea that one day it might be. An awkward laugh as your fingers touch while you both reach across the table for sugar in that…

Mix It Up. Try old-school cocktails this holiday season

Mix It Up. Try old-school cocktails this holiday season

These 10 drinks may not be on the menu at your local bar, but all pack a punch as well as some colorful history

Editor’s note: A version of this story previously appeared in “Seattle” magazine. Impress your guests this holiday season with these 10 concoctions from a vintage bar guide from Glenn Shaw Creations – supposedly from the 1950s – found in an antique shop in Olympia a few years back. Keep in mind that these drinks may…

Sip, Slurp, Celebrate at Frank's Oyster House

Sip, Slurp, Celebrate at Frank’s Oyster House

Let’s be Frank about Champagne

The best bubbles in Washington state may very well be found at an East Coast-style restaurant in Seattle’s Ravenna neighborhood. That, at least, is the opinion of The Champagne Bureau, USA, which has named Frank’s Oyster House and Champagne Parlor as one of the top 10 bars and restaurants in the nation for the quality…