Plus: The U District remembers the namesake of ‘Thai Tom.’
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⭐️ A crowdsourced guide to the U District made by you

Plus: The U District remembers the namesake of ‘Thai Tom.’

Hello, it’s Tuesday.

Today marks the last week of our neighborhood spotlight on the U District. Before we get to the headlines and the guide of the neighborhood crowdsourced by you, our fine Evergrey readers, I wanted to share one of my own favorite businesses in the area. 

Samir’s Mediterranean Grill — and the man behind the restaurant — were the subjects of the very first feature I ever wrote in 2017. In an attempt to find inspiration for a story about the Ave for my journalism class, I walked up and down the street searching for inspiration: a character, something, anything to write about. When I stepped foot into Samir’s, I was met with a warm smile and greeting; I left not only with a story, but with a new friend. 

A couple of years later I asked Samir to cater my grad party. He cooked a feast for at least 50 people even though there were only 20 of us at most, because that’s the kind of guy he is; he shows he cares through his food. Samir’s love for life, his community, and his craft can be tasted through each of his dishes. 

After handing it in, my feature sharing Samir’s story was eventually published by the Seattle Globalist; although the publication is now defunct, you can still read it for yourself at its website.

If you have some time this week or next and wind up in the U District, do me a favor and pay Samir’s a visit. You can find it right by Sweet Alchemy, just across from Flowers. Tell him Grace sent you and order some of his homemade falafel — I promise you won’t regret it.  

3 things Seattle is talking about

A little fog never hurt anyone. 🌫| Tag @the_evergrey or use #theevergrey to be featured in our Instagram of the Day. (📸: @fel_photography_

🚔Carmen Best sheds insight into the decision to abandon the East Precinct last summer. In an interview for the podcast “Reducing Crime,” Best reveals that command staff on the ground made the decision without her prior knowledge. Their decision came as the mayor opted to remove barricades at 11th and Pike following the fire department’s warning that the building would quickly be consumed by flames if it were set on fire. (KUOW)

🛣Expect to slow your roll on I-5 this summer. Sodo’s southbound lanes of I-5 will undergo repaving for the first time since it opened in 1967. This means that night and weekend lane reductions will be in place throughout the summer. Exact dates for the project are yet to be announced, but it’s expected to begin by mid-June. (The Seattle Times)

🍜The man behind the wok. Tom Suanpirintra — the “Tom” behind the U District favorite Thai Tom — passed away earlier this month. You could always count on seeing a line outside of the small hole-in-the-wall’s door pre-pandemic. Those who were lucky to snag a spot inside were treated to a show of wok magic. Have a Thai Tom memory? Feel free to share it with us by replying to this email. (Seattle Met)

  • Related: Eater Seattle wrote their own tribute to Tom which you can read here
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A crowdsourced U District guide made by YOU

Throughout the month of May, we asked you to fill out a Google Form to tell us about the places you love in the U District. We promised at the end of the month we’d compile your answers in a guide. Here’s what you had to say: 

🍨Favorite dessert place

Sweet Alchemy

Honorable mentions: Full Tilt, Byrek & Baguette, Snowy Village, Donut Factory, Sugar & Spoon 

☕️Favorite coffee place

Cafe Solstice

Honorable mentions: Cafe Allegro, Ugly Mug, Herkimer, Seven Coffee

🍺Favorite place to grab a drink

Flowers and Big Time Brewery

Honorable mentions: The Mountaineering Club, Schultzy’s, Earl’s on the Ave, The Monkey Pub (Editor’s note: This is the first place she did karaoke and she chose Smokey Robinson’s “The Tracks of My Tears” — it brought the whole mood down), Floating Bridge (now closed), Blue Moon Tavern

🍜Favorite noodle place

Xi’an Noodles

Honorable mentions: Thai Tom, U:Don, Than Brothers

🍽  Favorite restaurant

Thai Tom

Honorable mentions: Chili’s, Agua Verde, Cedar’s

🍕Favorite pizza place

Supreme (Temporarily closed)

Honorable mentions: A Pizza-Mart, Big Time Brewery, Pizza Pi, Pagliacci (now closed)

🖼Best hidden gem

Jacob Lawrence Gallery

Honorable mentions: Magus Books, Henry Art Gallery, Ravenna Park

📣 Extra shoutouts

The owners of Cafe Solstice. Somehow they've been able to keep the doors open during the pandemic.  They bake their offerings in house and have delicious cookies. Lincoln J.

Daniel, owner of Tea Republik. Gotta love a tea shop that doesn't focus on boba! It's cozy and lovely, he has an extensive tea list, and his mixed drinks are delicious.Kevin R.

Scarecrow Video! At a time when streaming services give you the illusion of infinite choice, while really pushing you towards a limited number of options, Scarecrow actually has every movie and TV show you can think of. Love the way the shelves are organized, love the movies they play on the TV above the register, just love that they exist. So, so grateful for Scarecrow! Ari H.

Helen, the former matriarch of The Continental Greek restaurant. She spent years as the warmth of the Ave. Katy S.

Magus Books has a huge selection of used books at great prices and amazing staff! Sometimes they get so many copies of a classic book that you can find one on the discount racks. Plus the recommendations are always great and a diverse selection. Their buyers also find good books for every genre, check out the art and rare books! Paige M.

The Woolly Mammoth! Locally and family-owned since 1970. Amazing stories. Kurt Cobain visited a couple times. Kian Pornour knows all the stories!Felicia C.

Samir's Mediterranean Grill. Samir serves the tastiest Lebanese food anywhere, plus he's the nicest guy. He'll tell you stories of how and where he learned to cook and why he loves it so much.  You will feel like you've been invited into his house for dinner!Christine T.

Four Corners Art & Frame. A magical small but mighty woman-owned shop that’s been going strong over 35 years. All are welcome and there’s something beautiful for every price range! J.J. W.

Not a person or business, but just a shout-out that the U District is a very accessible neighborhood. As a person with a disability (low vision) who can't drive, I lived there for 20 years and it's just a really easy place to live if you don't have a car as it has so many amenities, a lot of wonderful restaurants and cafes, has accessible transit routes and lots of crosswalks for safe walking. It's also a movie fan's dream as it has several cinemas (Grand Illusion, Varsity, AMC) and Scarecrow video. It's a very compact and accessible neighborhood that also has many connections to all parts of Seattle. I don't know how the pandemic will change the U District, but it has been an example of a vibrant, diverse, and accessible neighborhood in Seattle. — Tracy

Thanks to everyone who shared their answers! We put this guide on our website so you can access it easier. Did you like this guide? Want to see another one for our next neighborhood spotlight? Let us know. 

Don't miss out!

First, we want to congratulate the winner of our giveaway with the Neighborhood Farmers Market, Silvia W.! Keep your eye out for more giveaways in the future. 

Right now, Evergrey Extra members are playing our weekly game of I Spy. It’s a test of our readers’ knowledge of the city’s sights. The winner gets a shoutout in the newsletter and bragging rights. Sound fun? Don’t miss out on our next game and become a member today!

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😍Meet local singles for fun group activities on Zoom!(Online)

🚲Learn about how to make bicycling more accessible for all people this #bikemonth(Online )

📁 Get some business knowledge with Margot and brAIMS event centered on helping you find the right mentor (Online) — Through May 27th


🎙️ Crosscut discusses America's reckoning over race with Doug Baldwin(Online)


👟Take a 4-mile hike and learn about the history of the Hidden Coal Mines in Newcastle (Newcastle)


🌇Join YES Farm for a unique tour that offers the opportunity to learn about the power of community gardens and creative solutions to systemic land and food injustices (Chinatown International District / Yesler Terrace)

That’s it for today

Tomorrow we’ll take a look at some of the questions you had about the U District. And on Thursday we’ll be chatting with Cafe Racer Radio in our last installment of “Have a drink with” for the month on our Instagram page.

Thanks for reading, we’ll see ya tomorrow.

— Grace at The Evergrey

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