Good Grub Under Ten Bucks
Everyone has his or her own dream about the perfect coffee shop. Some like it clean, quiet, and orderly. Some like overstuffed couches and hip music. Some want Wi-Fi, others conversation. Some just want the coffee to be perfect. In my dreams, my neighborhood coffee shop looks just like Irwin's. It's small and warm and cluttered. They make good coffee, but they're not obsessive about it. People sit around and chat or work on their computers; the music is hip and quiet in the background. They also happen to make pretty good food. The kitchen is small, so don't expect anything dramatic, but the portions are good-sized and the prices right. For $5.50 you can get a vegetarian quiche and a small salad. (Make sure to urge them to heat it up—sometimes they forget.) For the same price you can also get a bowl of homemade soup and a slice of garlic bread. (They use Macrina bread for this, and for their sandwiches [$5.90]—always a good sign.) Unlike nearly every other coffee shop in Seattle, Irwin's makes their own pastries. The muffins are lovely, but if you're really in the mood for something sweet, go for the slice of pie. All told, a sandwich, coffee, and pie will still be <10.