I can recall the exact moment when I fell head over heels in love with Seattle. It was 1988, mid-March, perched on a stool at a long counter tiled with tiny porcelain hexagons in one of Pike Place Market’s many secret-feeling spots, the late lamented (but never, by me, forgotten) Café Counter Intelligence, now Matt’s In The Market.
Historic restaurant menus are a road leading to the past. What could one order, say, at Drake’s Restaurant in Seattle on March 11, 1910? Seattle Public Library’s historic menu collection lets us peak over the long-ago waitress’s starched shoulder: Baked ox heart and dressing? That will be 15-cents.
From 1908 until 1957, shoppers at Pike Place Market who smelled the transcendent aroma of freshly roasting coffee knew that the source of that olfactory pleasure was probably Manning’s. For nearly four decades, Manning’s provided market-goers with the beans and beverage that a subsequent and more famous flagship and delicious independent places now supply.
The continued existence of the house at 621 9th Avenue is surprising, considering its First Hill location. Tall buildings loom near the capacious dwelling, which is set back from 9th Avenue on the steep corner of Cherry Street. The house dates from about 1900, and surely holds many stories. I’ve never been inside, but I imagine that the view of Elliott Bay from the third floor is breathtaking.