by Kristina Rivera
By now, almost everyone knows about Governor Jay Inslee’s new restrictions on indoor gatherings as Washington State COVID-19 cases reach an all-time high. Indoor dining service is out again, and restaurants continue to scramble and adapt to keep their doors open. Sadly, tens of thousands of businesses have already permanently closed this year, and it looks like that trend won’t stop anytime soon.
But we don’t have to sit by and watch helplessly. What can we do? Our communities are where we eat, so let’s start there.
Ordering takeout is one of the easiest (and tastiest) ways you can show up for your local South End restaurants right now. It may not be practical to have pad thai, tacos, or lo mein every night (though one can dream), but ordering out, whether once a week or once a month, makes an impact. Without indoor dining, it’s significantly harder for restaurant owners to meet their bottom line. But ordering takeout whenever you can brings them that much closer to making ends meet.
Another way we can help South End eateries during this time is by buying gift certificates for ourselves, family, and friends. We play a direct role in affecting the future of the small businesses in our communities. Because if we don’t support them, we risk losing the character, culture, and sense of community that local restaurants bring to our neighborhoods. What would Seattle look like if we lost all the charming, cool, quirky, or historic spots that make our city what it is? To be honest, I don’t want to find out.
Consider this an invitation — or a challenge: Order takeout tonight. Get your favorite dish from the local restaurant that does it best, and know with every dinner and every gift certificate, you’re helping a business owner survive another day. Here are a few Intentionalist suggestions for South Seattle restaurants you should get takeout from this week:
Canton Noodle House
Canton Noodle House is a Hong Kong-style noodle, dumpling, and soup shop in Hillman City, owned by John and Qiping Ng. John was born in Indonesia while Qiping was born and raised in China — but the Ng family is firmly rooted in Seattle. The family-owned and operated spot is known for their handmade wontons and Sui-Kaus made fresh daily by Qiping herself. As the days get colder, there’s nothing more comforting than a hot bowl of soup to keep your stomach full and spirits up.
“A lot of small businesses are minority-owned businesses [in South Seattle], and it’s like a little piece of home people might be missing from whatever country they may have originated from. And if those places go away, you lose the essence of the people that make up the community. [South Seattle] is where a lot of people can find a little bit of comfort or something that reminds them of their childhood or where they’ve been or where they grew up because it’s so diverse.” — Ronny Ng, son of Canton Noodle House owners John Ng and Qiping Ng
The Original Philly’s
The Original Philly’s was founded by Charles and Minerva Humphrie in 1995. Guy Thomas joined the business in 2005 when it moved to its current location on Martin Luther King Jr. Way S., where the Seattle cheesesteak institution continues to stand the test of time. The authentic and delicious sandwiches range from the traditional Philly’s Style Cheesesteak, to Pepper Cheese Steak, to the Chicken Cheese Hoagie, and Veggie Deluxe.
“I’ve been working here since I was 12 years old, and right now I’m 26 — it’s great to work for a family business. We’ve been one of the longest operating Black-owned businesses in Seattle and keep things very authentic here. We’re thankful that people are still supporting us — this community sticks together, and that’s really important, especially during tough times.”
— Charles Humphrie
Antigua Guatemala in Kent is the only Greater Seattle restaurant specializing in Guatemalan cuisine. Owners Yadira Reyes and Wilfredo Lopez are serving traditional Guatemalan fare, including Mayan recipes like pepian — a chicken dish smothered in a hearty, rich sauce. Yadira and Wilfredo have a community-first attitude and use proceeds from their restaurant to help children from low income communities in Guatemala afford school.
“We want to say thank you for all the people who support our business. It’s not just supporting small businesses, it’s about supporting community and supporting a dream.” — Wilfredo Lopez
Kristina Rivera is based in Seattle
Featured image: Antigua Guatemala’s garnachas, a traditional Guatemalan dish made of deep fried corn tortillas topped with diced beef, onion, cilantro, cabbage, tomato sauce, and cheese (photo: Antigua Guatemala)