After attending culinary school, Lebanon-born Moussa Elmoussa decided to open a restaurant using Mediterranean recipes borrowed from the mother of his half-Grecian wife. More than 20 years later, he continues to prepare a menu made with nutritious, healthy ingredients such as lemon juice, chopped cucumbers, and low-fat yogurt from dieting cows. Chefs at all three locations carve kosher lamb, chicken, and beef for gyros, stuff grape leaves with rice, and ladle out housemade tzatziki sauce. Among other awards, Gyros House was named The Commons' Retailer of the Month in 2010 and Best Spirit in 2004, and was a Renton Reporter Best of Renton 2014 finalist. The community-focused restaurant also participates actively in and cares about the community, and has contributed to charities, marathons, school nights, and more.
Made-from-scratch recipes and fresh ingredients have been setting The Original Pancake House apart from its breakfast-spot competition since 1953. That's when its owners established an all-day empire committed to ingredients such as pure hard-wheat unbleached flour and butter made from fresh sweet cream.
Today, The Original Pancake House cooks across the country still construct scrambles and omelets from fresh Grade AA eggs. Powdered sugar lines the rims of oven-baked dutch baby pancakes, and granny-smith apples simmer in oven-baked pancakes (two of more than a dozen styles of pancake on the menu). Even the toppings are made in-house, including whipped cream, specialty syrups, and sauces. To complement these flavors, staff fill cups with fresh-squeezed orange and grapefruit juices and coffee blended specially to match the Original Pancake House's menu and upholstery. Although each location takes on the local charm of its surrounding city, all of them share in common a homey atmosphere that welcomes families with perks such as color-in place mats and kids' menus.
Name aside, The Original Pancake House isn't just a breakfast spot—in fact, it stays open for three meals a day, or six if you follow most doctors' advice to take a small pancake break every few hours. The savory side of the menu holds meat-and-egg combos and savory crepes stuffed with cheese and veggies.
Spring Kitchen's menu showcases the chef's 20 years of experience making Vietnamese and other Asian dishes. The specialty pho broth might arrive quickly to the table, but it first undergoes hours of preparation for its delicious, savory taste. Other specialty dishes include grilled pork and shrimp over vermicelli noodles, plus stir-fried yakisoba noodles and grilled marinated beef short ribs with steamed rice. Kids 10 and younger can also eat for free on Tuesdays if they're dining in with an adult at this family-friendly restaurant.
Near the tracks of Auburn's train terminal, The Station Bistro feeds the soul and appetite with hearty, homey meals that capture the brawny spirit of bygone conductors and brakemen. Four-egg omelets, piled-high burgers, lemon-kissed Alaskan cod, and juicy steaks alongside scoops of garlic mashed potatoes stand ready to sate hunger no matter the time of day. Leafy palms and potted trees shade diners at red-clad tables, and a mural depicting an 18th-century locomotive harks back to a time when engineers kept trains humming by feeding engines shovelfuls of Reubens.
At Iron Horse Casino, chips clack down on the green felt tables as joyful tension builds over big poker hands and the adrenaline-infused table games unfolding throughout the casino. The onsite restaurant keeps bellies fed with a hearty menu of American fare, serving up breakfast meals all day long. Patrons can cure parched throats hoarse from cheering over a big win with cocktails, beer, and wine, and live entertainers may or may not infuse their routines with subliminal messages on how to always win at roulette.
Chicago Willy’s dishes up crowd favorites such as Chicago-style hot dogs, fries, shakes, salads, and specialty burgers responsible for nabbing the eatery a nomination for King5.com’s 2010 Best Burger in Western Washington award. Chow down on the blue cheese burger caped in bacon, red onion mayo, and blue cheese crumbles ($5.69). Handmade onion rings ($2.79) buffer burgers and make elegant last-minute jewelry when a business lunch turns out to be a date. Diners can fork up a green salad crowned with grilled chicken ($5.29) or sink teeth into a classic Chicago dog, rendered Windy, with toppings such as mustard, onion, celery salt, hot peppers, and sweet relish ($3.39). Saccharine straw-fodder such as a peanut-butter malt ($3.99) provides a vital post-meal cool down. As they sip and munch, patrons bask in Chicago Willy’s laid-back atmosphere encompassed by murals of tropical cartoons, big-screen TVs, and a strict observance of the afternoon nap.