BBQ Restaurants in Pioneer Square

Select Local Merchants

Five Things to Know About Hole in the Wall Barbecue

The father and son behind Hole in the Wall Barbecue has been serving locals their renowned, no-frills barbecue for more than 25 years, winning two Washington State BBQ Championships along the way. Here are some more things to know about this popular hotspot.

  • There’s nothing in the meat but meat. You won’t find preservatives or liquid smoke up the sleeves of these chefs. Instead, everything’s smoked low and slow for 16 hours with oak and fruit woods.
  • They strive to make BBQ a tad bit healthier. In addition to slow smoking, they hand-process all of their meat to remove fat.
  • It pays to be an early bird. This joint is only open Monday–Friday for lunch, and when they run out, they’re out. Specials drive the crowd, too: meatloaf’s the prize on Mondays, and pork ribs go fast Wednesday–Friday.
  • Meat is only one part of the equation.Chuck’s Bullwhacker homemade BBQ sauce is the restaurant’s best-kept secret. It can even be ordered with an extra kick for heat lovers.
  • The sides are stars too. They also serve up potato salad, cole slaw, and award-winning chili.

215 James St
Seattle,
WA
US

In Focus: Planet Java Diner

  • Neighborhood: Pioneer Square
  • Decor: classic 50s diner
  • Food: classic 50s diner
  • Time breakfast is served: all day
  • Number of eggs in every omelet: 3
  • Number of burgers: 12
  • Music: blend of oldies and newer tunes
  • Games that a giant could play on the checkered floor: chess or checkers
  • Number of walls without clocks on them: zero, thanks to Planet Java’s eclectic clock collection

72 S Washington St
Seattle,
WA
US

Five Things to Know About Kau Kau Barbeque Market & Restaurant

Perched near the corner of King and Maynard, Kau Kau has been a staple of the International District for decades. Here are a few things to keep in mind about this modest Chinese eatery.

  • This is the original location. It opened in 1974, becoming the city's first Chinese barbecue restaurant since WWII.

  • Wai Chow Eng was the founder. Though you may not be familiar with him, Mr. Eng was a big deal—in fact, Seattle Weekly credits him with introducing Chinese barbecue to Seattle and playing a major role in the revitalization of the International District years ago.

  • The barbecued meats here are famous. Specifically, the pork and the duck, though the ribs are nothing to overlook, either.

  • They can even roast whole pigs. Kau Kau uses specialized ovens to slow-roast pigs that weigh as much as 65 pounds. No matter the size, the end result is always as nice to look at as it is to eat.

  • You can get it to go. Curbside pickup and online ordering means you can swing by and grab your food in between errands or during a high-speed police chase.

656 S King St
Seattle,
WA
US

Thrillist called 663 Bistro's deep-fried, pepper-salted chicken wings some of the best in Seattle—but overall, the eatery's menu veers more toward Chinese cuisine than sports bar staples. For more than a decade, the International District eatery has specialized in dishes with Hong Kong roots. Their hot pots, for example, brim with bubbling broth and delicious mix-ins, from pork stomach to chunks of eggplant and tofu. The chefs adorn their pan-fried noodles, meanwhile, with braised crab, curried beef brisket, and more.

663 South Weller Street
Seattle,
WA
US

In Focus: Harbor City Restaurant

  • Neighborhood: International District
  • How to spot it: Look for the roast ducks hanging in the windows
  • Specialties: peking duck, barbecue pork, and dim sum
  • Popular dim sum dishes: shumai, shrimp balls, and pork buns
  • Sample entree for the adventurous eater: beef-tendon brisket with daikon hot pot or the fried chicken feet
  • Seattle Magazine recommendations: crab-and-shrimp dumplings and the “addictive” mandarin string beans

707 S King St
Seattle,
WA
US

Even when you know what meal you want from this food truck, you still have a decision to make. That's because each sandwich––pulled pork, veggie, grilled chicken––comes two ways: "maximus" or "minimus." In the case of the pulled pork sandwich, that means either with a hot-and-spicy pepper mixture or a sweet blend of tamarind, honey, and molasses. Not that you're likely to go wrong either way; the truck's stripped-down menu has been praised in the pages of USA Today, Seattle Weekly, and the Seattle Times. To see where the truck is at on a given day, diners check an online schedule, though with a design that looks like a cross between a prison bus and a giant hog, it’s pretty hard to miss. The impressive-looking truck is also available to cater events, but only during the warmer months, since, like all pigs, it’s forced to fly south for the winter.

2nd Ave
Seattle,
WA
US