While You’re Waiting: If things time out right, watch a Seahawks game on TV.
Meet the Owners: Brian Tatman and Jason Simodejka both grew up on the East Coast before moving to Seattle in 1996. When they arrived in the city, they noticed a great selection of local food vendors, yet a lack of East Coast–style delis. So they opened their own.
Inside Tip: Check if there’s a wait: an online webcam lets customers see the current line, which is especially helpful during busy lunch hours.
While You’re in the Neighborhood
Before: Step into the historic jail cell at the Seattle Metropolitan Police Museum (317 3rd Avenue South).
After: Strap on some climbing shoes and scale a faux rockface at the Seattle Bouldering Project (900 Poplar Place South).
If You Can’t Make It, Try This: Get your fix of traditional philly cheesesteaks at Calozzi’s (1306 4th Avenue).
When it was built in 1914, the Smith Tower was the tallest building west of the Mississippi. Though it lost that designation a mere 17 years later, the tower still captivates Seattle visitors with the Smith Tower Observation Deck. The open-air deck wraps around the tower's 35th floor and grants panoramic views of the city's modern downtown and Puget Sound. Seattle's gorgeous surrounding landscapes are visible from the tower as well, with the majestic peaks of Mount Rainer and the Olympic Mountain Range creating a stunning horizon. And the journey to the observation deck is a treat in and of itself. Passengers ride in one of the last manually operated elevators on the West Coast, which is caged in brass and copper in the style of the early 20th century. In the lobby itself, 22 Indian head sculptures watch over the onyx- and marble-paneled room, acting as precursors to the grandeur of the tower's top floors.
From New York, Griffa Black brings a blunt edge to tarot readings. She doesn’t skirt the details, but gets straight to the point with honesty. With 15 years of experience, she’s learned it’s the best means of communicating. That experience and her passion for the art also lead to her teaching tarot with comprehensive three-hour classes. At those sessions, she covers the history of tarot and instructs card reading while offering wine and snacks, fostering a relaxed, social atmosphere.
Upon moving to Salem, Massachusetts, it didn't take long before Kimberly Bizjak became obsessed with the city's dark history. Soon, she co-founded Paranormal Salem, a tour company that garnered enough attention to snag her appearances on networks such as The History Channel. Now, at Paranormal Seattle, she teaches citizens of her native city the ghost-hunting skills she honed on the east coast. After discussing the history of paranormal investigation, Kimberly demonstrates various ghost-hunting techniques, like operating an EMF detector. With these new techniques in tow, participants then search for apparitions in a location of their choosing or in Merchants Cafe, an 1890s-era restaurant that has previously served as a brothel, speakeasy, and hotel.
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Marcela's Creole Cookery uproots the definitive flavors of authentic New Orleans cuisine and Cajun fare and packs them into a menu brimming with robust seasonings and exotic meats, as mentioned by Seattle Weekly contributor A.J. Tigner. With 30 combined years in the restaurant world, Marcela's owners have created an inviting eatery that pays homage to the Big Easy with vibrant, playful colors showcased in contemporary artwork. Red-clothed tables coddle piping-hot platters of creole delicacies, including muffaletta po boys, hearty gumbos, and fried ocean critters such as shrimp, alligator, and crawfish from Poseidon's personal crustacean collection.
The luminous block letters advertising “Merchants Cafe” nearly overshadow the intriguing tidbit beneath: a sign reading "Established 1890, Seattle’s Oldest Restaurant." Once guests pass through the double-door entrance, though, its historic charms become undeniably clear. Rustic wood floors covered with ornate rugs complement wooden and exposed brick walls, and the stained-glass chandeliers hanging overhead cast a warm glow. Despite the homey 1800s feel, a few modern touches accent the restaurant, including flat-screen TVs around the cherry-wood bar and a menu of contemporary eats. Hearty American entrees, such as hot turkey sandwiches and Angus burgers, are crafted from local, organic ingredients sourced from the likes of Pike Place Market and Bob’s Fruit Stand.
Over the past 120-some years, Merchant’s has accrued quite a colorful history, but most notably operated as a hotel, saloon, and card room in the late 19th century. Today, barkeeps continue the tradition, sans the fist-fights over whose horse is more attractive, by pouring libations including Georgetown and Mac and Jack’s craft beers and wines and spirits from local wineries and distilleries.