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All You Can Eat

Trend-setting restaurants, Northwest cookbooks, local food news and the people who make them happen.

May 31, 2012 at 6:00 AM

Two beloved eateries expand in Belltown

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What do we want? Vietnamese food!

When do we want it? Now!

Here’s great news for fans of Green Leaf, the always-crowded little spot in the I.D. that’s a top contender as the city’s best. There’s now a second Green Leaf branch open in Belltown, a spacious spot in the basement of the Labor Temple at 2800 First Ave.

The restaurant is in an awkward space, requiring you to walk through institutional-looking hallways before reaching your destination. Eateries have come and gone with depressing speed at that address the past few years. But I have high hopes for Green Leaf after eating there with friends last week. There was no wait for a table (yet), parking was easier than the I.D., the decor is warm, owner Peter Kuang was walking the floor, and, best of all, the menu looks to be the same as the original. We feasted on banh xeo and green papaya salad and other specialties.

It was enough good food to feed a longshoreman.

Down the street a few blocks, another beloved eatery is also stretching out. The original Macrina Bakery is staying put at 2408 First Ave., but a new remodel has doubled its seating space. If you’ve ever stopped by for weekend brunch, you know both how good it is (try the fried egg sandwich) and how long the wait can be. The latter should be much improved.

“Our Belltown Cafe wasn’t planned for the volume of business we now have there…” founder Leslie Mackie said in an email.

“To summarize, our missions were to improve the customer flow and add more seating for our hungry guests. We have removed the bar and cafe cooking station in the cafe. The food will come from the back kitchen now. We have reorganized the retail line to better see our customers and better show off our delicious fresh baked goods! We have added some bench seats similar to our Sodo cafe design and there will be another gorgeous Jean Bradbury mural to grace the far north wall.”

Can’t make it to Belltown? It’s not listed among the many outlets on their site yet, but I’ve been finding Macrina breads and pastries at Central Market in Shoreline.

Photo: Banh xeo at the original Green Leaf. by Ken Lambert/The Seattle Times

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