Easy to make fun of this place, what with its silly name (no connection with South Carolina radio station WHYM or the New York restaurant Whym).and Fifties decor, but hard to ignore its pride of place: the clean, well-lighted prow of Belltown sailing northward, 24 hours a day, into the intersection of First & Denny.
When it was Minnie's, this was the archetype of a shit-hole diner. The employees knew better than to eat here themselves; the restrooms were beyond Third-World. Last year, the feds padlocked Minnie's for non-payment a hundred grand worth of payroll taxes.
It was with relief that Belltown learned that the new owners would be Bridget and Neil Scott of the Hurricane Café, people who knew how to run a place open 24 hours a day. They hired a chef (Tony Sestadt), a bar manager (Terry Gatechair), built a spanking new kitchen and installed new lighting. So where are the customers? Friday night, 10:30 PM: the host is alone at the checkstand; there's one waiter, eating his staff meal. Saturday night, 10 PM: One dude, by his lonesome. Sunday night: two people at the bar, two stools apart. Lunchtime seems better, half a dozen tables. Breaded meatloaf sandwich, $9. comes with cup of gooey, impossibly yellow cauliflower soup (or salad or fries) and a very spicy ketchup that gives an element of flavor to the bland filling. In other words, food you'd order in a martini haze at 3:15 AM, when it wouldn't matter if you were the only shlub in the joint. They got it right!
Oh, lest you think me unfair, here's a what nine bucks buys at Black Bottle, five or six blocks to the south: the toasted Pastrami Bomber, with a side of pickled vegetables. No comparison.Posted by Ronald Holden at August 20, 2008 3:43 PM | TrackBack
The International Kitchen
Cooking school vacations in Italy, France & Spain.