ʔálʔal Cafe Manager Anthony Johnson. Photo by Mel Ponder, as featured in International Examiner.

On the ground floor of Chief Seattle Club’s urban housing complex in the heart of Pioneer Square sits ʔálʔal Café (pronounced all-all).

The menu reintroduces traditional Indigenous foods to remind us that food connects us to culture and contributes to our understanding of Indigenous roots and identity. Enjoy an espresso or casual cuisine made from North American Indigenous ingredients, like Great Plains bison and Northwest salmon. The café space itself is also a visual feast of authentic Native artwork explicitly curated for the space.

Learn more about ʔálʔal Café in this week’s business spotlight Q&A!

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. 

What’s your favorite part about the community your business is in & why?

We love showcasing pre-colonial, Indigenous foods!

Why is it important to you and your business that people #SpendLikeItMatters?

Economic prosperity has been systematically denied to Indigenous communities.

Through the procurement of goods from Native and Tribally-owned businesses, financial resources will be invested into Indigenous communities, allowing Tribes to allocate resources to critical community needs. To name a few: language revitalization, reservation infrastructure, substance abuse recovery, and education.

As a business owner, what’s the strangest or craziest idea you’ve ever tried?

Craziest/dumbest idea I’ve tried was to de-crystalize honey in our turbo oven! Honey got everywhere and started bubbling/smoking and was an absolute MESS!

What’s something your customers may not know about you or your business?

We co-habitat the kitchen that we make all of our food in! Next door to ʔálʔal Cafe is the Chief Seattle Club Kitchen. Where we feed 80-100 community members zero-cost hot meals, 2x/day, 364 days/year! Every day except Indigenous Peoples Day. The CSC Kitchen Team is in there from 6 am-2 pm and our kitchen team gets in there after them to prep and make the food for the next day!

What are some of your favorite local businesses and why?

As great as Indigenous foods are…we’re a sucker for Burb’s Burgers, fries, & milkshakes!

Anything else you’d like us to know about you and your business?

100% of proceeds go back into funding the work Chief Seattle Club does to get our Native homeless/housing insecure relatives off the streets.

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