Most Influential, Food & Drink: Donna Moodie
Restaurateur and activist Donna Moodie is all about community
By Chris S. Nishiwaki March 16, 2023
Donna Moodie is one of Seattle’s 25 most influential people reshaping our region. #mostinfluential
“If music be the food of love, play on,” wrote William Shakespeare in “Twelfth Night.” At Donna Moodie’s intimate Capitol Hill restaurant, Marjorie, music, food and love collide to create an alchemy of community as organic as the ingredients Chef Cheyenne DeLoach cooks Tuesdays through Saturdays.
The affable Moodie has created a thriving camaraderie by drawing regulars as well as curious passersby into her warm and intimate dining room that is part community center, part Paris Salon des Artistes and part music venue.
“The fact that there’s always enjoyment at Marjorie, when we are sharing food and drinks and conversation, that keeps me going,” Moodie says. “We are trying to build up some community conversations.”
While guests “play on,” Moodie keeps up with two jobs.
By day, she’s the executive director of the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict and executive vice president of community development at Community Roots Housing, an organization that develops and manages affordable housing for more than 2,000 people across Seattle. By night she runs Marjorie, named after her mother.
In the past year, the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict created a food hub community pantry at Lowell Elementary School in collaboration with the city of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods. It also produced an urban biodiversity corridor guide along 11th Avenue East from Volunteer Park to Seattle University in collaboration with the Seattle Audubon Society to enhance habitat, reduce urban hazards and improve pedestrian access to green spaces.
On days off she serves on the board of directors of the Seattle Foundation, Grist, the Central Area and Capitol Hill Land Use Review Committees, and the Seattle Center Advisory Committee. She also volunteers for local nonprofits such as Seattle Arts & Lectures (SAL) and United Way of King County.
“Anyone who has ever been to Marjorie knows that it embodies community every night of the week,” says Rebecca Hoogs, executive director of SAL. “She supports SAL by being a champion for connection in all ways.”
In the rare moments off, and even at work, Moodie indulges in music and the arts. Music, in particular, runs deep for the Jamaican-born, Chicago-raised Moodie. Her restaurant’s website is www.trenchtownrocks.com, a nod to Bob Marley’s song about the neighborhood in Moodie’s native Kingston. Her previous restaurant, “Lush Life,” was named after the Billy Strayhorn jazz standard. Her son, Max, is pursuing a music career in Los Angeles.