Pioneering Pioneer Square

Seattle’s first neighborhood sees new businesses come and go, but the allure of Pioneer Square is constant: Old, preserved spaces retain a cherished sense of charm and history—not to mention the good bone structure of turn-of-the-century architecture. A slew of new dining spots have opened in the last year. Here are our favorites.

E. Smith Mercantile
Once was: Wessel & Lieberman Books
Is now: Set behind E. Smith’s well-curated retail space, the aptly named Back Bar, opened in September, serves homemade snacks and craft cocktails in a cozy space you might otherwise overlook.

Bar Sajor
Once was: Footworks Cycles
Is now: The most gorgeous dining room in the city. Chef Matt Dillon serves small, delicious plates of pickled vegetables, seafood and meats. Much of it sees time in the wood-fired oven.

Rain Shadow Meats
Once was: the Washington Shoe and, later, an art gallery
Is now: A locally focused butcher shop and deli counter within a bright brick interior. Yet another source of incredible sandwiches in the Square.

Il Corvo
Once was: BuiltBurger
Is now: A lunch-only homemade pasta shop inside a comfy space on the border of Pioneer Square and downtown. Rustic, unusual and delicious.

Once was: A rug salesroom and, later, Larry’s Blues Café
Will be: German-style sausages—everything is made in-house, from kraut to mustard to meats—and a deep selection of German and local beers. Chef Brendan McGill expects to open by mid-October.

Illustration by Tom Dougherty