Boondockers Restaurant was a Snohomish County favorite for decades, thanks to its classic burgers, fries, and milk shakes. So after buying the restaurant, the Bala family made sure to continue serving juicy burgers and old-fashioned ice-cream shakes while also giving the menu a new twist?a sidebar of carefully curated Indian and Pakistani fare.
Originally from India, the Bala family flavors favorite recipes with vibrant spices, yielding savory curries, kebabs, and samosas cooked to perfection. In addition to a full lunch and dinner menu, sweet and savory breakfast fare can be enjoyed with mimosas until 2 p.m., when the champagne flutes turn back into plastic sippy cups till the next morning.
Attic Secrets cafe & tea has lived up to its name by being a hidden gem in the Marysville area since 1991. But when current owners Rick and Happi Favro, took over in 1998, word got out about the quaint teashop, attracting not only interested tea drinkers but also the attention of_Evening Magazine_, who presented the tearoom with the Best Tea House 2010 award. And the duo continues to attract curious guests and seasoned sippers by offering more than 30 loose tea options, from decaffeinated black and fruity herbals to specialty Rooibos flavors. These cups of brewed leaves can be enjoy from within two tearooms or the Lady Haley dining room, each elegantly decorated in soft pale hues and English countryside décor.
Attic's team also instills elegance into their lunch menu, which includes a cold waldorf sandwich, a French roll layered with hot ham and melted Swiss, and a wide variety of salads. Non-tea drinkers can also quench palates with a cup of velvet coffee, Italian soda, and flavored lemonade. Along with tea, seasonal events and a monthly Craft and Chat session keep guests entertained, in addition to the year-round gift shop.
Dan and Janell Fullen founded DJ's Barbecue to spread their smoked ribs, sauce-slathered meat sandwiches, and housemade specialty sauces to the local community. As Washington natives, the Fullens have their own way of imbuing their ribs, meats, and sandwiches with Northwestern panache, such as marinating them in the rarefied air atop the Space Needle. They use their 25 years of experience in the restaurant-management industry to smoke 3/4-pound baby back ribs or fulfill carryout orders of pulled pork and beef brisket by the pound.
While living on Molokai, Bobby and Diane Nakihei couldn’t throw a stone without hitting a plate-lunch special. The classic Hawaiian dish—two scoops of rice, one scoop of macaroni salad, and an entree—is served at practically every fast-food restaurant and food wagon across the island. When the couple moved from Hawaii to the Pacific Northwest, they began to long for the once-ubiquitous island cuisine. So Bobby traded the stuffy shirt and tie of a bookkeeping career for the patterned, button-down shirts of his homeland and opened Bobby's Hawaiian Style Restaurant, drawing transplanted islanders and locals alike to his plate-lunch specials, which often come wrapped in taro leaves and seaweed.
His cuisine earned the restaurant a spot on the Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and praise from Scott Gorman of the Herald, who extols it as “prepared and presented with a good deal of authenticity and style.” Revered dishes include Kahlua pig, which Chef Bobby cures with hawaiian sea salt, covers in banana leaves, and roasts for eight hours. The meticulous preparation extends to the rest of the menu, which spotlights the leaf-steamed pork of laulau and the sushi-esque spam musubi. In addition to the cuisine, owners Bobby and Diane showcase Hawaiian culture by offering hula lessons, presenting live Hawaiian music and recycling diners' lawn clippings into grass skirts.
When Andrés Cárdenas Guitrón emigrated to the United States from Mexico, he landed his first job as a dishwasher. He worked his way up the ranks to a food preparer, a cook’s assistant, and a chef before finally opening up his own restaurant. At Mazatlan, he dishes out family recipes that include grilled chimichangas, crab enchiladas, and steak picado christened in a Spanish sauce.