For more than 40 years, Robert C. Mathwig has owned Family Pancake House and defended his sanctuary for the fluffy breakfast staple against the ravages of time, stringently maintaining the same wholesome business practices that set the cozy eatery apart from the competition on its very first day. The kitchens still make most of the menu from scratch, sourcing as many ingredients as possible from local suppliers to ensure that each order arrives to its table at the peak of freshness. The whole menu of breakfast treats and savory later-day meals is available all day long, with fluffy pancakes, crepes, and omelets sharing space at diners’ tables with grilled cheeses and breaded pork chops.
Family Pancake House takes its friendly moniker to its logical conclusion by acting as a supportive family for the community that has kept the eatery's doors open for nearly half a century. The company routinely sponsors youth sports teams, and employees often volunteer their leftover flour supply to sweaty-palmed gymnasts.
Pallino serves up a menu of fresh, made-to-order Italian specialties in a casual setting inspired by family gatherings and leisurely bocce games. Antipasti such as roasted garlic and cheese flatbread ($5.95) prep palates for main dishes and help patrons evade amorous vampire kisses. Featuring braised beef and pork with Chianti-spiked tomato sauce and a whisper of cream, mama's meat sauce with rigatoni ($8.95) banishes any doubt about how mama used to get her little noodles to sleep through the night. Pizzas round out the menu with combinations including prosciutto and roasted fig ($6.95/$12.49) and Italian sausage and mushroom ($6.95/$12.49), and paninis ($4.75 for a half; $6.95 for a whole) come with a choice of warm chips or carrot sticks, which are less warm, but make up for it with their svelte figures and pretty faces. Decadent gelato is maneuvered into an array of desserts—it's squeezed between two cookies in gelato sliders ($5.95), topped with espresso and whipped cream in an affogato ($3.50), and bobbing in a soda float, flavored with a choice of syrup ($4.95). Most importantly, the friendly staff and quick service will allow you to make the most of a hearty dinner enjoyed in the clean dining room or as a speedy carryout order.
Coho Cafe's two locations help their diners fight the weather—whatever that might be. In the winter, large rock fireplaces send heat bouncing off curved architecture and metal art while stomachs warm with Southwestern spices. In the summer, cool Pacific breezes fan guests on the outdoor patios while they sip cocktails and sink into cod tacos. But no matter what the temperature outside, there's an undeniable flair to the restaurant's Northwestern seafood. It's something viewers of KING 5's Evening Magazine have noticed too—they've lauded Coho for having the best New American cuisine in western Washington four times since 2008.
The cornerstone of these accolades is the kitchens' culinary restlessness. The executive chefs of both locations revamp the Fresh Sheets menu of weekly specials every two weeks to make use of seasonal ingredients and flavors. What results are bold plates such as pit-roasted salmon cooked over apple wood, and stir-fried coconut green curry with prawns and ginger-jasmine rice. Each bite pairs with a Northwestern wine as well—a fitting drink for any season.
Not much has changed since Lovie Yancey opened the first Fatburger in 1952. Since then, the chain has expanded, but the food has stayed the same: 100% USDA lean beef burgers grilled to order and hand-scooped ice-cream shakes. Each restaurant stays true to Yancey's vision, even down to retro-influenced digs with jukeboxes blasting old school favorites designed to make listeners flash enthusiastic thumbs-up signs. Inside the kitchen, cooks stack burgers from 2.5-ounce burgers to 24-ounce triple burgers on toasted regular or gluten-free buns as fresh onions crisp inside fryers filled with cholesterol-free oil. Diners can also enjoy Fatburger’s signature chili made with a secret blend of herbs and spices or milkshakes topped with dollops of whipped cream that resemble fluffy, white clouds shaped like marshmallows.