Every week the Town Crier blog will look back at Seattle’s near forgotten Town Crier magazine to see what was happening then and talk about what’s happening now. One of the largest sections of the original Town Crier was “What People Are Doing,” highlighting things like, “Miss McGrath, one of the most attractive girls of the younger set, was introduced this season at a delightful dancing party given at the Sunset Club,” and, “the mid-winter frolic Hesperian Dancing Club will be given this evening in the Junior Ballroom.” In this new series we’re revisiting the old column and tying it to our community’s current happenings, asking: “what are people doing?”
90 years ago, in the January 12, 1929 edition, the Town Crier was crying about the lack of good restaurants in the city.
“If all the little French and Italian restaurants in San Francisco make money, and surely most of them must on account of how old they are, there is no reason why someone sufficiently ingenious couldn’t start some similar eating houses in Seattle.” The story continued, “With Seattle developing more and more into an apartment house and hotel city, the demand for good restaurants is bound to increase.”
The writer then hits some of Seattle’s hot spots. “There is a small Japanese restaurant down on Main Street that is clean and an excellent place for suki-yaki. But you can’t eat suki-yaki too often, or your taste for it wanes.”
They visited a Russian place. “There is a tempting variety of dishes on the menu, and the soups and pastry, in particular, are memorable.”
They struck fear in readers in regards to fish and chip joints. Fish and chips can be procured “in generous measure for the modest sum of two bits in a quaint restaurant overlooking the waterfront but the atmosphere and service is so – now – rough and ready.”
As for Italian restaurants – “Oh, yes,…there are two or three places where passable Italian spaghetti can be had.” The best of the Italian places had to be closed, though, “the law having discovered once too often evidence of stronger refreshments than tobasco [sic] sauce.”
The writer all but gave up trying to find suitable eats in the city. “Any suggestions from our public will be duly appreciated, investigated and a full report rendered.”
Today, there are award-winning restaurants seemingly around every street corner. Zagat’s 50 Best Restaurants in Seattle includes such establishments as Mamnoon, The Walrus and the Carpenter, Joule, Canlis, Shiro’s Sushi, The Harvest Vine, Pecos Pit Bar-B-Que, Le Pichet, and many others. Seattleite restaurateurs aren’t strangers to James Beard Award nominations, either. New restaurants are opening up all the time.
Perhaps a New Year Resolution of yours should be to visit some of these fine spots. Let us know if there’s a place that serves stronger refreshments than Tabasco sauce. Also—if you discover a really great fish and chip place, by all means, let us know. We will surely investigate and render a full report.