Story and photos by Bill “Hutch” Hutchison
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
The owner of Pike Place Market’s Pan Africa Restaurant and Bar is planning to open another grill in West Seattle – in the space where Ho Win-Chinese Restaurant operated till last Saturday.
We just spoke with Mulugeta “Mulu” Abate, a former West Seattle resident who has long wanted to return to this area and says the empty Ho Win space afforded him the opportunity to open Pan Africa Grill: “We’ve always wanted a neighborhood location where there is ample parking and we can get to know our customers.”
They will be serving a “core menu” of mostly traditional East African/Ethiopian dishes, including curries (here are menu highlights for the Pike Place location), and many vegan offerings.
Additional menu selections, different from his downtown location, will be many grilled items (chicken, beef, lamb and fish). Specialties will include whole deep-fried, African-spiced Tilapia. Abate is also excited to add a “rotating” menu offered one to two months at a time, focusing on cuisine from one specific region of Africa at a time. Dinner will be available six nights a week – hours pending – and brunch will be offered on weekends.
Mulugeta, who grew up near Dallas (here’s a bit more on his background), has owned and operated the Pan Africa Market for eight years. He was also the former manager of La Louisiana in the Central District and has managed a mobile espresso business on the Eastside. He’s hoping to open in West Seattle in four to six weeks, depending on completion of renovations: “I’m pushing for four weeks.”
His first task is to renovate the space, which will include tearing out the carpeting and booths, painting, remodeling the ceiling and lighting and adding a new bar space in the back dining area.
Future plans (summer 2012) include adding a deck space in back in the parking lot, depending on whether he can use one or two current parking spaces to do so. The front stone wall will remain, but will be painted and the awning will be “thatched.” And if you’re wondering about drinks – he’s planning to seek a full liquor license, but for table service, not a standalone bar.
Entertainment is also a possibility in the months to come (they currently have someone playing the Kora at their downtown location) and Abate plans to offer African-cuisine cooking classes in the near future (the downtown location offers these now).
In addition to the Pike Place restaurant, Pan Africa Market is serving food at the Phinney Ridge and Lake City Farmers’ Markets and hopes to be at the West Seattle Farmers’ Market soon.