Fifteen years ago (ugh), my best friend and I took the trip up to the Pacific Northwest with our moms to tour colleges. My Aunt Vaughnetta and Uncle Peter were our tour guides for the Seattle portion of our visit, and they smartly took us to two Seattle restaurant institutions that helped sell me on the move. The first place was The Kingfish Cafe and I vividly remember how I felt walking in: I was ENTHRALLED – everyone in the restaurant looked like me and they were SO beautiful. The women wore their hair in styles that I’d never seen before and it was my first true soul food experience. (The Kingfish Cafe had only been open for three years when we visited and they closed their doors just a few months ago after nearly 20 years in operation.)
Peter and Vaughnetta’s second restaurant recommendation was The Pink Door, which is a gem of an Italian restaurant tucked away in the bustling Pike Place Market. The restaurant, which boasts NO signage or advertisement, is identifiable from Post Alley only by its pale pink door. I love feeling like I’m slipping into a secret club when I walk in.
Open the pink door and you will find yourself at the top of a staircase, with the restaurant below you. On my first visit fifteen years ago, the floor was covered with beautiful fall leaves of every color, which you had to crunch your way through to get to your table – part of the magic that is still so clear in my mind, all these years later.
While it appears that the leaves are no longer part of the festive fall decor (can’t blame them, it must have been horrible to clean up) our most recent visit was on a gorgeous October afternoon and we got to take advantage of their patio for a late lunch and cocktails. The Pink Door boasts one of the best patios in Seattle and it can be pretty difficult to get a seat – something to keep in mind for the summer months!
These days, the majority of my visits to The Pink Door happen during the lunch and happy hours, but at night the restaurant turns into a cabaret, with a trapeze artist who swings from the ceiling over the main dining room and late-night burlesque shows on Saturdays. It’s a wonderful spot for a romantic date night, a casual happy hour with friends and will undoubtedly impress your out-of-town guests or Seattle newbies. Reservations are recommended for dinner!
The magic of The Pink Door has stood the test of time – to this day, every time I visit, I feel like I’m part of a secret (a well-known one by now, but still, a secret!) that involves phenomenal food, drinks and entertainment. I hope your first visit holds the same kind of magic that mine did!