Native-owned ʔálʔal Café opens in Pioneer Square

The business is run by the Chief Seattle Club.

Three plates — one with wild rice, one with tacos, and one with blue cornmeal topped with green leaves.

By using pre-colonial ingredients, ʔálʔal Cafe aims to empower the Native community.

Photo via ʔálʔal Cafe

Bust out those gigantic ribbon-cutting scissors — this is huge. Pioneer Square’s new daytime destination ʔálʔal Café is now open with a menu featuring Indigenous ingredients, walls adorned with Native artwork, and strong ties to a charitable organization.

Here’s all you need to know about this grounds breaking coffee shop.

Meaningful meals 🍽️

The menu at ʔálʔal Café (pronounced “all-all” from the Lushootseed word for “home”) emphasizes cultural identity. You’ll find coffee beans from Indigenous coffee company Salish Grounds and hot sauce from Sakari Farms. Pre-colonial ingredients make up breakfast and lunch items like barbacoa tacos made from Cheyenne River Sioux bison, Navajo Nation blue cornmeal topped with berry sauce, and wild rice bowls.

The hope is to educate diners on Indigenous food roots, while providing financial support for local Native-run businesses and increasing their representation in the culinary industry. “Reclaiming our traditional foods is important to our health and healing as Native people,” said manager and head chef Anthony Johnson.

Feast your eyes 🖼️

If you visit, don’t forget to soak in all the stunning artwork from Native creators. Micah McCarty created the translucent salmon designs on the windows, renowned glass artist Dan Friday sculpted a ceiling display, and Roger Fernandes concocted a collage dedicated to Chief Si’ahl.

There’s currently an open call for Tribal artists who want to contribute to the cafe’s rotating exhibits, so keep those peepers peeled for announcements about new works via Instagram.

Where the heart is ❤️

When you plunk down money for your morning coffee or a bison taco, every dollar goes to local nonprofit the Chief Seattle Club, which owns and operates the shop.

The cafe is also located directly below the organization’s affordable apartment complex that provides housing and social services to 80 previously unhoused residents — the majority of whom are Native American or Alaska Native.

It’s a gathering place for the community meant to nourish — and heal. Check it out:

📍 122 Second Ave. S.
⏰ Tuesdays-Fridays, 6:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

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