There was a time, more recent than you think, when the only reasons to go to the neighborhood referred to as North Fremont were to eat at Paseo or Brad's Swingside Cafe or grab a drink at the Buckaroo. The Buckaroo has been gone for some time, Paseo bit the dust this week and Brad's is on its way out in a couple months. And yet, the mini-neighborhood itself is thriving in spite of all these losses. In recent years, empty storefronts have been filled with some of Seattle's freshest restaurants (RockCreek) and grub joints (Uneeda Burger). All the while, locals have continued to haunt Caffé Vita and peruse the shelves at Book Larder with an eye on all that increased traffic, auto & foot. So while Paseo will be missed, clearly, it's departure doesn't define the North Fremont confines any longer. Perhaps that's a lesser part of the Cuban sandwich shop's legacy...attracting crowds to this tiny neighborhood sliver while it got itself in a position to attract them on its own.Read More
No Paseo, No Problem: Eleven Reasons to Visit North Fremont
1. Caffé Vita
A "forgotten" Caffé Vita location around town, it's usually packed with locals and their laptops so you'll have to time it right if you want to spend some time working here. Cramped, cozy and oftentimes a little loud, it's a quintessential Seattle neighborhood coffee shop. Grab a seat at the window bar and watch Fremont go about its day.
2. Fremont Abbey Arts Center
Do you like music, art, poetry, dance, food, good conversation or people? If you answered yes to any of those things, you really need to start spending more time at the Abbey. The 100-year-old church space is now home of one of Seattle's most eclectic and engaging line-ups of artists and musicians. Plus, it's a damn cool space to see a show, or just hang out in.
3. Book Larder
Where do some of the culinary world's biggest names go to talk about their latest cookbook or to meet fans while in Seattle? Why, they head to a tiny, unassuming bookstore tucked away in North Fremont, of course. There are bigger bookstores in town, but few better when it comes to the topic of food.
4. Uneeda Burger
Located at the spot once home to Uneeda Auto & Boat Rebuild, Uneeda Burger feels like a casual, roadside-style burger shack. However they take their burgers (and other fare) pretty seriously. They're not routinely considered one of Seattle's best burger joints for nothing.
5. B.F. Day Playfield
Seattle, WA 98103
The signs here clearly state that you're not allowed to walk your dog on the field. We're not ones to tell you to break the law. We're just saying...most people choose to ignore those signs.
Seattle, WA 98103
The final home of the Buckaroo Tavern has gone through a mighty change. Gone are the bikers and here now is Where Ya At Matt's Matthew Lewis and his Creole restaurant serving up fried rabbit saddle, head-on shrimp and cheddar grits.
7. Marketime Foods
In these days of Whole Foods and supermarkets on every corner, it's rare to find a neighborhood market that can hold its own but Marketime just keeps on keeping on. Live in the area long enough and the friendly staff will greet you by name, and vice versa. Only trick is to learn how to navigate the free-for-all at the check-outs during primetime. It can get intense!
8. Brad's Swingside Cafe
Eat here while you can. This Fremont institution is closing its doors in February. The unassuming restaurant that appears to be part of a house (because it is) will be sold along with its building, taking away another longtime piece of North Fremont history with it. If nothing else, try their speciality, spaghetti aglio e olio.
9. Pecado Bueno
Owned by one of the founders of Taco Del Mar, Pecado Bueno features a fresher and boozier menu than those taco establishments. The real draw here in the patio area, complete with heat lamps for when it gets cold out. In an area with lots of people-watching spots, this might be the best one.
Seattle, WA 98103
Chef Eric Donnelly opened this seafood spot last year and received the Macklemore seal of approval earlier this year. The high-ceiling, barn-like eatery includes a patio, an upstairs loft and private dining room.
11. Lighthouse Roasters
There are quite a few people who will tell you this is the best cup of coffee in Seattle. Tucked away in a residential corner, the corner cafe is not for laptop hobos (no WiFi) and it's not for frappachino lovers. It's for coffee lovers, plain and simple, like the place itself.