Gertrude Popp founded Poppinjay's Cafe more than 20 years ago, eventually recruiting her son and daughter to help oversee the expanding enterprise. Today, chefs at six locations across Bellevue and Kirkland craft creative breakfast and lunch items, mixing pastries from scratch and toasting fresh sandwiches piled with deli meats alongside ample vegetarian fare and healthy smoothies. They also load catering trays with enough snacks, full meals, and desserts to quell the hunger of dozens of revelers or one visiting mastodon.
Poppinjay's Cafe regularly supports its local community by making frequent donations to charities and organizations and hosting monthly meetings for All Women Empowered, an association dedicated to bettering the lives of women and children across the globe.
Owner Mike Salimi mans the counter at Nova Restaurant most days, opening and closing the cash-register drawer and handing over pizzas, homestyle burgers, sandwiches, and seafood to hungry customers. He has finely tuned his pizza recipe throughout the past 20 years, using trial and error to arrive at his current series of steps: hand-making pizza dough, homemade sauce, and toppings that are purchased each day. He also whips together an array of seafood dishes, including oysters, prawns, and Irish-style fish 'n' chips made with halibut or cod and coated in a specialty batter. He hangs colorful abstract paintings on the eatery's yellow walls, which is the closest humankind will ever get to decorating the sun.
At Lucia, the signature spaghetti comes with white truffle-oil fondue, homemade meatballs, pink sauce—and a minimalist backdrop. The restaurant's split-level dining room is a study in simple black and white, brightened by a smattering of red throw pillows and candles. The space's clean lines shift the focus to the culinary team's upscale versions of Italian classics, which have been featured in The Food magazine. Entrees, for example, range from chicken parmigiana with béchamel sauce to grilled wild salmon in a saffron reduction. Pizzas, meanwhile, come crowned with gourmet toppings such as basil pesto, crimini mushrooms, and prosciutto.
Most people like to have a say in what they’re eating—hence the popularity of buffets, build-your-own-burger joints, and smashed-open gumball machines. Fueled by an understanding of this fact, the Chilly Wave Yogurt staff rotate 15 flavors of self-serve soft-serves, including root-beer float, snickerdoodle cookie dough, and a tart peach mango. Guests can swirl their creations into cups and pile on more than 40 toppings, from Andes mints and marshmallow cream to mandarin oranges and trail mix.
The nonfat and low-fat yogurts are rich in calcium and loaded with probiotics to support healthy digestion, among other nutritional benefits. They contain between 100 million and 400 million live and active yogurt cultures per gram—and the National Yogurt Association only requires 10 million cultures per gram to earn its seal of approval. Except for a single flavor, the kosher-certified yogurts forgo high-fructose corn syrup, and many varieties are gluten-free.
Charlie’s Flame Broiled Burgers evokes stomach growls with juicy and fresh third-pound, 100% ground chuck burgers, Charlie’s secret sauce, and crispy steak fries. Sharpen canines on a variety of menu options, beginning with appetizers such as fried mushrooms ($5.99) or cheese-oozing mozzarella sticks ($6.99). Diners can tango with the signature Charlie burger ($10.99), smothered in Charlie sauce and topped with hot pastrami, or saddle their faces up to the Western bacon cheeseburger ($10.99). Manly burgers ($12.99) showcase 2.5 pounds of beef and spend their spare time tinkering with power tools in a shed, while the grilled chicken burger ($9.99), the salmon burger ($11.99), and turkey burger ($10.99) satisfy cravings for beef-free fare and can be paired with a selection off the beer and wine menu. Freshly sliced lettuce, tomato, and onions escort sandwiches to the table, along with a side of steak fries, which can be substituted with onion rings, fried mushrooms, or teacher’s assistants.