Eating Well In Crisis

by Sharon Maeda

At the Emerald, part of our mission is to feature the vibrancy and diversity of our residents, small businesses and nonprofits. When it comes to food, we’ve shared two different, community-driven resource lists (The Intentionalist, and CID/South End POC-owned restaurants) for reference. Since our economic realities are requiring ongoing adjustments, call to make sure the listed restaurants services are still available.

It’s the end of the week and most of us are just as exhausted – maybe more – teaching, child rearing while simultaneously working, and otherwise running our entire lives from home. If resources allow, here’s a way you can support family owned community restaurants, the local economy and enjoy a delicious treat in the process.

Here’s a few of my favorite family owned eateries where you can take-out or get delivery. If you have your own favorite providing take-out in the South End, let us know. We hope to make this a weekly column until we are again able to dine together throughout the South End.

Bananas Grill: 4556 Martin Luther King Jr Way S    (206) 420-4839

Take-out or delivery only.

Owner, Farah Ismail, has the friendliness that makes you want to sit and chat; not possible these days, but this is a great place to get take out. Ismail calls Bananas Grill’s menu Mediterranean fast food but is hardly sitting on a steam table. From chicken shawarma to falafel plates, the entire menu works well for take-out. Their hummus is the creamiest and pita bread fluffier than most. A side of the delicious lentil soup is a great way to start the meal.

B GRill
Chicken Shawarma at Bananas Grill. (Photo courtesy of the restaurant)

Island Soul: 4869 Rainier Ave S.  (206) 329-1202

Mon to Sat: 11am to 8pm:  phone-in take-out only.  

Even before Theo Martin moved Island Soul from Judkins to Columbia City, he had a winning formula with Island Soul’s Caribbean and creole menu. Jamaican chef Bobby Laing brings authenticity to the Caribbean fare, blended with Louisiana soul food that rounds out the menu. With take-out, we’ll miss the lively bar and reggae music, but oxtail stew or goat curry are great take-out items. Don’t forget the coconut muffins.

Island Soul
Shrimp dish at Island Soul. (Photo courtesy of the restaurant)

Kezira:  5100 Rainier Avenue S.  (206) 588-1024

4:00pm -10:00pm daily.

Eritrean/Ethiopian food is served on a large round tray covered with injera (teff “bread” that’s more like a crepe). The take-out bonus is that the sauces permeate the injera before you get home, but it might require using forks instead of the usual hands. Owner Nigist Kidane’s buttery beef kitfo is my favorite; the vegetarian platter is a close second.

Veggie combo with lamb tibs. (Photo courtesy of the restaurant)

Tai Tung: 655 S.King Street  (206) 622-7372

You won’t be able to sit at Bruce Lee’s table, but owner Harry Chan hasn’t really changed the menu since those days. Long before the U District had ethnic cafes, we UW students would come here to get our Asian food fix on very limited budgets. For six students, we would order 2-3 dishes. They would always bring us a large second bowl of rice, knowing we couldn’t afford more dishes. My favorites are still tomato sauce beef and fried chicken, Chinese style.

Tai Tang
Sweet and sour chicken. (Photo courtesy of the restaurant)

Send your favorite community cafes open for take-out or delivery to:

Sharon Maeda is the Emerald’s interim managing editor. For decades she has had a fantasy of being a food critic and loves to cook and eat ethnic foods from around the world.