It's not easy to draw attention away from the belly-dancer that performs at Spiro's Greek Island on Friday and Saturday nights. But the aroma of tender gyro meat is up to the task, pulling diners' focus towards the kitchen. Inside, chefs labor over traditional Greek dishes, seasoning beef, lamb, and chicken with natural spices, sea salt, and housemade marinades. They also slice tender cuts from imported Greek broilers, and fry falafels before wrapping them in pitas, scattering them across salads, or dressing them in miniature togas. For dessert, warm honey drizzles onto flaky bougatsa, a custard-filled pastry lauded by reporters from Seattle Times Newspaper. Servers bear the plates out to the bright dining room, where paintings of Greek scenes adorn the walls.
Corks and Canvas Events, like a work of fine art, came about by pairing a good idea with a passion to create. The founders both came from the marketing world, where they spent their days devising campaigns and events to inspire their audiences to take action. A shared love for art and wine inspired them to bend their action-creating talents toward a new goal—hosting painting and wine events in area wineries and wine bars, allowing guests to "uncork their creativity" and promote the burgeoning Washington wine industry.
Their idea took the form of Corks and Canvas Events, where experienced artists lead guests step-by-step through the painting creation process. Guests re-create various paintings, everything from lush vineyard scenes to preening roosters, while sipping on glasses of local wines.
Ishtar Greek & Mediterranean Cuisine is named for an ancient Mesopotamian goddess of love, and the restaurant itself is a love letter to the Middle Eastern home of Iraqi immigrant and founder Alaa Hamadi. Inside, the smell of grilled lamb and chicken floats through in the air as arabic music softly plays, transporting the senses to the Persian Gulf and its surrounding cultures—the best of both worlds for Hamadi, who, as he told The Thunderword, fled Iraq in 1991 to escape the oppressive regime. Today, the large halal menu reaches beyond Persian cuisine to embrace Greek dishes and a few American standards, ranging from fluffy falafel balls to skewered beef and lamb morsels to gyro meat hand carved into the shape of the Mediterranean Sea. Huge windows run around the dining room's perimeter and wrap up onto the ceiling, and on sunny days, bamboo shades pulled over them give the impression of dining beneath a rustic arbor as light filters down through grape vines.
Brothers Alex and Mark Rechichi always enjoyed constructing hearty, Dagwood-esque sandwiches, but noticed that most of the breads they employed in these edible masterpieces literally crumbled under the pressure of supporting a glorious quantity of healthy meats, veggies, cheeses, and sauces. Naturally, the brothers fell in love when they discovered the sturdy pita, which was both nutritious and versatile. Flatbread in hands, the two brothers founded Extreme Pita in 1997 with a goal of delivering enormous, structurally sound sandwiches to the masses.
Since then, the eatery has spawned franchises throughout the U.S. and Canada, where customers can enjoy a variety of pita-based creations ranging from made-to-order wraps to pizza-style flat bakes to jalapeño cheddar chips. Extreme Pita's locations put an emphasis on reducing their carbon footprint by implementing an array of green practices, such as recycling and reusing, using energy-efficient light bulbs, and warming pitas with the sighs of a dragon.
O Phở & Teriyaki’s chefs prepare a flavorful array of Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese fare served inside a glowing, golden dining room. Steam rises from healthful bowls of phở, where beef brisket and rice noodles float in hot, clear broth, served with cool bean sprouts, spicy jalapeño, and tart lime for building complexity. Chinese staples such as kung pao tofu and shrimp fried rice accompany tall glasses of honeydew bubble tea, conspiring on tactics to overthrow general tso’s chicken army.