Food & Drink Apr 3, 2013 at 4:00 am

Matt Dillon's New Place in Pioneer Square

Matt Dillon. Kelly O


You can easily drop 25 to 30 dollars at lunch per person(without booze) and walk out hungry.
The portions are really small, and while sometimes delicious, mostly just overpriced, there are way too many places around the square that offer really good food without all the pretentious attitude.
Dillon apparently has big plans this block of Occidental, but if this is any indication, it looks like a big fail.
Sure is the answer if you're working in the area and can grab a bite during the day. Sadly, residents pf Pioneer Square are considered second class. We can't enjoy the restaurant when it is closed evenings - you know, when we get home from working all day?
"casual and simple" = $40 rotisserie chicken or a $50 steak? or is the no reservations policy that will result in walrus & carpenter-like 1 hour waits at 6 pm on a tuesday?

Here's hoping it doesn't follow a Restaurants in Pioneer Square tradition: Open until 7 PM weekdays, closed on weekends.
From here, Pioneer Square looks like the prettiest part, maybe the citiest part, of our city.

I'll be there tomorrow evening for First Thursday and I'm looking forward to checking Bar Sajor out, not for the food but for its appearance. Looks like they've created a very beautiful space.

Since I love interesting architecture and old brick buildings, I've always found Pioneer Square to be the most beautiful, European-like, part of Seattle.
"casual and simple" = $40 rotisserie chicken or a $50 steak?

That's not how I'd define "simple", but Seattle has a LOT of yuppies making a shitload of money and, to them, those prices are like ordering off the dollar menu at McDonalds.
With all due respect Bethany (because you're one of my two favorite food scribes in town), who represents the "our" in "our reclaiming" of Pioneer Square? I get that the opening of destination foodie establishments can spark economic investment in underperforming 'hoods around town. But as we've seen in Ballard, when pricy foodie joints like Walrus & Carpenter have opened their doors, the tendency is to see other high-end competitors move in nearby, which encourages more high wage earners to move into the 'hood, and so goes its identity and affordability. While I also want the Pioneer Square business community to diversify, there needs to be a healthy balance of the types of establishments within it that serve the many and not just the few who can afford its version of "reclamation". Not everyone can afford a $13 Salumi sammy for lunch or $28 halibut plates.

By the way, we have not two but eventually *three* stadiums blocks away, so the dreaded sports fans are there to stay (why 95 Slide hasn't opened a Pioneer Square location yet is beyond me)
Pioneer Square is skid row, always has been and always will be for 3 basic reasons:

1. the jail and courts are there on James.

2. the private social service organizations that are clustered down there (i.e. the missions) own their own buildings, mostly tax-free (i.e. religious organizations.)

They can't move (because they can't afford property elsewhere in the city, nor will neighbors accept them in any other 'hood) and they won't move (because they are where their flocks are.)

3. SPD is content to treat the area as a containment zone for hard drug sales and use. It will take aggressive prosecution of dealers AND USERS, and officers stationed 24/7 in occidental square, on every block and in every alley to push this activity and the antisocial activities that accompany it out of the area. That takes work and money, and courts sufficiently staffed to meet 6th amendment (speedy trial) requirements. Instead we have an understaffed, unprofessional police force, overburdened courts, and a prosecutor's office that can't as a practical matter do anything but decline to prosecute or plead out all but the most heinous violent offenses.

Making Pioneer Square not suck requires changing at least one of the above. Good luck with that.

Also, those pretty, old buildings are mostly deathtraps - only a few of them have had meaningful seismic retrofits. Separate issue.
@7: I actually kind of object to this notion of the-reclaiming-of-the-neighborhood, which I tried to get at in the first paragraph by talking about some of the great, affordable stuff that's already in Pioneer Square—including art at galleries (free to look), the Berliner (cheaper than Salumi), Sake Nomi (they'll give you lots of tastes if you buy a bottle, even a not very expensive one), pool at Temple Billiards, and the Double Header (a great and historical dive). There's also longtime favorite Cafe Paloma, good live music at the awesome old Merchant Cafe sometimes, coffee and hanging out at Zeitgeist or Caffe Umbria... even the Underground Tour is pretty fascinating and a good deal entertainment-wise at $16 a person.

The gentrification of the area may be inevitable, but I think its totality is a long way off. Adding some higher-end stuff into the mix doesn't mean affordability and identity immediately go out the window. And when identity means, in part, hordes of invading sports fans and drunk club-goers, changing that up seems good.

You're right, though, it's complicated.
He worries, arguably excessively, about the happiness of chickens.

He slits the throats of animals and serves their bodies cooked whole or by the half. And you think he might care too much about them. I think that's the definition of sociopathy.
@9 You may as an afterthought "kind of reject the notion of reclaiming the neighborhood", but nowhere in your article do you suggest otherwise. In fact you say exactly the opposite-- that not only is a reclamation indeed happening by "us", but that your group will perceive the opening of this restaurant as one instance of revealing Pioneer Square as the most essential part of the larger urban environment--now that your group has arrived. ("From here, Pioneer Square looks like the prettiest part, maybe the citiest part, of our city.").

As a former resident of PS, what I find most offensive here is that you suggest that one of the most "important" other groups to reclaim territory from is the homeless. As if all the people on the street have only been out there to colonize your group's prime real estate and block its "development".

Where I see fresh greatness is the honest expression of your blatant contempt for anyone not part of your socio-economic or cultural class, as compared to the usual rhetorical flourishes of the civic and business players in Pioneer Square. During my 5+ years in PS I heard phrases like "reduction of anti-social behavior through the opening up of markets" so often that it's nice the teeth are being shown for once. At least you're partly honest.
as a resident of pioneer who wants to see positive change in the neighborhood, I was completely off-put by this article. as if to suggest that a high end restaurant is the start of change in pioneer square, completely ignoring the real social issues that need addressed. sure the food may be delicious, but if that's the consensus on how to "change" a neighborhoods severe problems, my goodness. the "chronic inebriates" line is so silly. do Ballard, Belltown, Capitol Hill, West Seattle, Fremont, or the U-District not also have "chronic inebriates" in its clusters of bars and a homeless population? no other neighborhood in town both literally and figuratively gets shit and pissed on more than pioneer square and it's unfortunate that we assume a restaurant will trumpet the neighborhoods renaissance vs real policy at city hall and beyond.
@ 11 - especially after Bethany clarified her reclamation statement's meaning (thank you btw!), and after more reflection on this piece & PS in general, there is and has been for many moons a *perception* of what PS "is" to those that either only frequent the 'hood in rare occasions or have in the last 10 years and purposefully don't return because of what they may have experienced way back when. My first full-time job out of college was based in PS and while I had initial reservations crossing Occidental Park those first few weeks in '97 because of my preconceptions of who loiters in said park, the reality is that while there are, sure, homeless-looking or those that may or may not be chronic alcoholics hanging around, over my four-year tenure at said job, it wasn't always the case. I realized that there are Occidental Park-like areas around town that challenge perceptions, and while the previously "scary" Cal Anderson Park is by far no longer the case, PS *still* has a perception issue. If the tandem of trendy spots like Oddfellows can coexist on the same block on the Hill as the Comet (and thus encourages visitors from seemingly disparate demos), then sure - let's see how it plays out with this new establishment. (FYI, the Pioneer Square Saloon just west of 1st & Yesler have some of the best taps in the city and some killer happy hour prices - rarely crowded on Sounder game days)
if Bar Sajor is the answer, then I think the question is "How can we make our restaurant appear to be a skit from the show Portlandia?"

Between the chickens and the draft kombucha...*only* in the PNW

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