FareStart: The most inspiring restaurant in Seattle

The absolute highlight of my trip to Seattle (apart from getting engaged), was my lunch at FareStart. I spend a lot of my time researching socially responsible organisations and when I discovered FareStart, I knew I had to visit.

What is so special about FareStart?

FareStart interior www.grassrootsnomad.com

Well… everything really! Their food is delicious – their staff is friendly and helpful. But more unique is their mission: the raison d’etre of FareStart is rooted in a desire to help the community in which it exists. FareStart restaurant in Seattle aims to provide a real solution to homelessness, poverty and hunger by providing the training and support that people need to find meaningful employment in the food industry.

They believe that poverty is a vicious cycle that is hard to break without a little help. At FareStart, they provide this help through work and life skill training programs that allow these people to overcome employment barriers and have meaningful careers. So far, over 7,000 people have graduated from their adult and youth training programs and 90% of their adult graduates have found employment within 90 days of graduating.

And you can try their delicious food and coffees for yourself by visiting one of their cafes or the FareStart restaurant!

What is the food like?

FareStart steak www.grassrootsnomad.com

Delicious!!! There are monthly specials that change regularly, but we ordered off the normal menu. After Jimmy’s months at sea and mine in Guatemala, we were both craving some quality meat and let me say that this steak did not disappoint.

For starters, we had a soup – for me the tomato and basil and Jimmy the clam chowder. Our waiter was incredibly knowledgeable, telling us about the origin of the clams and how they got their name. Interestingly, the Puget Sound clam originates from Asia and was brought over to Seattle on the hulls of ships.

Next up, steak frites – steak with perfectly cooked spinach and homemade fries. There really is nothing better than a steak and the meat was top quality and it was cooked to perfection.

While I’m not a dessert person, I couldn’t leave without giving one a try… purely for research purposes. I picked the sorbet and Jimmy the tart and they were just as delicious and fresh as each course before.

FareStart doesn’t serve alcohol, but they have heavenly organic sodas with unusual flavours like lavender or vanilla which compliment your meal perfectly.

When can I visit?

FareStart outside www.grassrootsnomad.com

FareStart Restaurant is open for lunch every Monday to Friday from 11am until 2pm, and for a special guest dinner every Thursday night from 5.30 until 8pm.

If you would prefer a coffee, FareStart has two cafes to choose from – FareStart Cafe @ 2100 and FareStart Cafe @ PacTower, which are both open from 7am until 3pm. Here you can pick from a range of lunch options, including sandwiches, treats, soups, salads, and pastries which are all prepared by students in their youth culinary program.

What are FareStart’s plans for the future?

FareStart has a Catalyst Kitchen initiative that funds, incubates, grows, and supports organisations around the world that are helping to transform lives in their local communities. By 2020, they hope to double the number of members in this network, while also doubling the number of students they personally serve in the Greater Seattle Area.

I love the FareStart philosophy, how can I get involved?

There are a few ways that you can get involved with FareStart and help them to achieve their goals. The first (and most delicious) option, is to visit their restaurant or one of their cafes for a meal. This helps the trainee chefs and baristas hone their craft in a real-life environment in preparation for future employment.

Seattle locals are able to volunteer either alone or in a group with a wide range of activities. This may include student meal delivery, study hall or computer lab monitoring, and/or kitchen preparation.

If you aren’t visiting Seattle anytime soon, you are also able to donate either financial or stock contributions. Just $50 would buy a hot lunch every day during their 8-week training program, while $1,000 will provide 8 months of job retention support to help students once they complete their training.

FareStart is the perfect addition to any trip to Seattle – not only will you eat spectacular food, but you will also play an important role in improving the local community.

Have you been to FareStart? We would love to hear about your experience!

Farestart is a restaurant in Seattle that trains homeless people to become chefs. And the food is amazing. Read at www.grassrootsnomad.com

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Emily Kydd

Will definitely try this next time I’m in Seattle, which will hopefully be soon! Thanks, sharing with my Seattle friends!

Grassroots Nomad

Thanks Emily! I hope you are able to visit sometime soon, the food is incredible! I would love to go back on a Thursday for one of their guest chef dinners – for some reason I always feel like lunch and dinners are such different experiences, even if I was eating the same food!

Megan Claire (@mappingmegan)

This is absolutely fantastic – I hadn’t heard of farestart before, but any organization which dedicates their mission to contributing to society in such an inspiring and practical way, and genuinely changing the lives of those who have fallen into poverty is a winner in my eyes. Thanks for letting me know about the company … will definitely eat here on our next Seattle trip 🙂

Grassroots Nomad

You will not regret it, Megan! They do incredible and inspiring work… not to mention providing delicious food!!


This is a fantastic idea! I always love charities and organizations that have the mission of helping people get skilled rather than just giving hand outs. The food looks really delicious too and I am always looking for great cafes. I wish I had of known about this when we were living in Seattle however I will be sure to look them up if we pass back through.

Grassroots Nomad

I agree, Chantell – they are training people to have a skill that will help them for the rest of their lives!


What a great place! It gives back to the community and helps students achieve their dreams! I love this!


Wow I never knew they have places like this. Great program! I love what they stand for! Thanks for sharing.

Grassroots Nomad

It is an inspiring place, that’s for sure! I also went to a similar restaurant in Hanoi (also on the blog) where they run cooking classes as well. I had a private cooking class from one of their students and it was such an incredible way to end my trip to Vietnam!


I read good reviews about them online about their dishes. I hope I can also dine there soon when I get to Seattle.

Grassroots Nomad

Please do, Amanda! The food is delicious and definitely worth the visit!


Thanks for sharing information about this special place. My nephew lives in Seattle so will make sure I share with him.

Grassroots Nomad

Thank you! I hope he enjoys it. They also host guest chefs on Thursday evenings if dinner is more convenient for him 🙂


Sounds delish! I’ve never been to seattle but it’s definitely on the list. I would love to try the Clam Chowder! (Or any seafood that is that fresh)

Grassroots Nomad

Thanks Anita, it is a great program they have. Hopefully more places start similar programs in the future.


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