It’s a Rainier Beach Revival: Top 10 South Valley Hot Spots

It’s a Rainier Beach Revival: Top 10 South Valley Hot Spots

Have you visited Rainier Beach lately? If not, stop what you’re doing and head down there right now! With several new businesses in and around what some are calling the “Cute Zone” (the one-block stretch of 57th Avenue on the south side of Rainier), the long-maligned south valley neighborhood is experiencing a much-needed economic resurgence with several new eateries and other fun establishments drawing positive attention to the area. Below are some of our favorite new, as well as already established Rainier Beach hotspots. Enjoy!

1. Nate’s Wings and Waffles
Nate’s is the spot! Co-owned by NBA star and longtime Rainier Beach local Nate Robinson, this awesome little piece of heaven features deliciously creative chicken and waffles. One of the latest? Ube waffles and Adobo wings. Not your thing? How about an almond poppyseed waffle with house-made lemon curd, blueberry icing, toasted almonds and house-made whip cream? #yum (9261 57th Ave. S./206-722-9464)

2. Jude’s Old Town
Owned by Rainier Beach residents and Lottie’s Lounge owners Beau and Courtney Hebert, Jude’s is your quintessential neighborhood bar with fresh pub food (the burger is amazing), craft beers on tap, wine and a few non-pretentious cocktails. Bound to become just as popular in its surrounding ‘hood as Lottie’s is in Columbia City. (9254 57th Ave. S./206-420-4889)

3. Redwing Cafe
Redwing features great coffee, a lovely ambiance, crazy good sticky buns and other yummy treats including a perfect quiche, as well as lots of great vegetarian and gluten-free options. Plus, owners Anthony Campbell and Su Harambe are from the neighborhood. (9272 57th Ave. S./206-420-1706)

4. Pizzeria Pulcinella
This classy neighborhood joint has won multiple awards for its delicious Pizza Napoletana. Owned by south-end stalwart Vince Mottolla Jr., Pizzeria Pulcinella is the last of the Mottolla magic left in the south-end after the shuttering of Vince’s Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria in 2011 — more than 50 years after Vince Sr. first opened the doors over on Martin Luther King and Othello. (10003 Rainier Ave. S./206-772-6861)

5. Maya’s Restaurant & Catering
Serving up tasty and traditional Mexican food in the Rainier Valley since 1979, when Exequiel Soltero opened the first Mayas Mexican Restaurant — a self-described “hole in the wall” with 850-square feet which included the kitchen and nine tables. Locals love the great food and warm, friendly atmosphere. (9447 Rainier Ave. S./206-725-5510)

6. King Donut Teriyaki Laundromat
It’s a real place! Where else can you get a cheap date, sage advice and a big apple fritter for just $1.50? Why, King Donut in Rainier Beach, of course. Voted Best Thing in Southeast Seattle in the 2013 RVP Readers Choice Awards and the Rainier Chamber’s 2014 Business of the Year, King Donut was started by Heng Hey and Chea Pol in 1987 after the two fled the Khmer Rouge genocide in war-torn Cambodia. You can keep your non-dairy, vegetarian, gluten-free nonsense, these are easily the best damn donuts in the city. (9232 Rainier Ave. S./206-721-3103)

7. Hong Kong Seafood Restaurant
Dim sum ALL day, people! With hum bows, mango pudding and other small plates for as little as $2.50; egg rolls, garlic chicken feet and other medium dishes for just $2.95; and shrimp balls, garlic spare ribs and other large items for $3.50, what else is there? Hong Kong Seafood Restaurant also serves lunch and dinner with equally outstanding prices. (9400 Rainier Ave. S./206-723-1718)

8. Seattle Magic & Juggling
Who knew the south-end had its own magic shop? This fun little specialty retailer of juggling equipment also carries a large stock of yo-yos and magician gear. (9460 Rainier Ave. S./206-859-8363)

9. Rainier Beach Community Center & Pool
The new and improved Rainier Beach Community Center and Pool — AKA “The Beach” — reopened in 2013 after an extensive $25 million remodel. The 46,500 square foot, state-of-the art facility is a neighborhood gem featuring two pools (lap and leisure), gym, computer lab, arts and crafts space, kitchen area, teen rooms and childcare facility, with access for the handicapped. (8825 Rainier Ave. S./206-386-1925)

10. Rainier Beach Urban Farm & Wetlands
Rainier Beach Urban Farm & Wetlands — a partnership between Seattle Tilth and the community-based Friends of Rainier Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands — is the largest urban farm in Seattle. A $2.5 million expansion project is transforming the former plant nursery for city parks into a premiere educational facility for sustainable community urban agriculture. (9436 Rainier Ave. S./206-633-0451)

11. BONUS: Rainier Beach High School
Once considered the worst high school in the state, under the leadership of Principal Dwane Chappelle The Beach now boasts a rigorous International Baccalaureate curriculum and graduation rates of 79% — better than the 74% district average and a stunning 25-point increase over its own 2011 numbers. Projected enrollment next fall is higher than it’s been in a decade. GO, Vikings! (8815 S. Seward Park Ave./206-252-6350)

Photo/Rainier Valley Post



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