Welcome back Redhawks! Start your year at Seattle U with making intentional visits to one of these businesses located near campus using this Seattle University Student Small Business Guide. Looking for an on-the-go lunch spot? Cafés with delicious coffee? Thrift stores that offer the perfect outfit? This guide has got you covered.


Tacos at Carmelo’s

Carmelo’s Tacos – First Hill

#LatinxOwned #MinorityOwned

Every First Hill resident knows that the best taco shops in the area are constantly busy, and Carmelo’s Tacos is no exception. A fresh corn tortilla stuffed with chorizo awaits you at Carmelo Gaspar’s Mexico-City style taco shop, nestled in Hillcrest Market convenience store. Order one of Carmelo’s tacos and two vegetarian options or sample some of Carmelo’s tender meats. Stop by in between classes, or after a busy day to satisfy your hunger.

Bonus: Check out Carmelo’s original location on Capitol Hill!

Burger and Fries inside Katsu Burger

Katsu Burger – Capitol Hill

#MinorityOwned #WomenOwned

Resurrected by Stephanie Kang, Katsu Burger puts a Japanese twist on American classics, with their signature deep-fried pork burgers, seaweed fries, and green tea milkshakes. Just a few blocks away from campus, this is a must for any incoming or returning student that is in need of a hearty meal.

Plum Chopped

#BlackOwned #WomanOwned

In the mood for a fresh and healthy meal? Plum Chopped is Makini Howell’s walk-up vegan salad bar. Have a picnic at nearby Cal Anderson Park, enjoying one of the Signature Salads like the Well Aren’t You Fancy Salad, which features spinach and arugula, quinoa, figs, pecans, port wine, nut cheese, blackberries, and balsamic vinaigrette. And be sure to leave room for dessert!


Boon Boona owner, Efrem Fesaha.

Boon Boona


After falling in love with the coffee culture in Eritrea, Efrem Feseha knew that he wanted to bring the East African coffee experience to Seattle. In 2019, he opened Boon Boona Coffee in Renton, sourcing the highest quality coffee in collaboration and relationship with farmers in coffee’s birthplace, East Africa. In 2021, Boon Boona Coffee opened its second location in Seattle. Through his coffee roastery and cafe, Efrem brings the local community together in a vibrant and inclusive space.

Bonus: Check out Boon Boona’s original location in Renton.

Peloton Cafe


Peloton Cafe is the product of pure serendipity; Paul Danos, Priscilla Hart, and Dustin Riggs met each other through bike polo and decided to reinvent the traditional bike shop. The result, Peloton Cafe, not only offers professional bicycle service but also serves up delicious healthy food, locally brewed beer, and coffee.

Ba Bar – Central District

#AsianOwned #WomanOwned

Wife and husband duo Teresa Nguyen and Eric Banh offer a creative take on Vietnamese street-food flavors at their restaurant, Ba Bar. Named after the Vietnamese word for father (ba), simple, delicious food, and “cold drink” (cocktails) bring customers back again and again – or perhaps it’s the made-fresh-daily pastries!


Owners Tracy Taylor, Murf Hall, and Joey Burgess outside Elliot Bay Bookstore.

Elliot Bay Bookstore

#LGBTQOwned #WomanOwned

Elliott Bay Book Company has been one of Seattle’s favorite independent bookstores since it was founded in 1973. Long-time manager Tracy Taylor and beloved Seattle business owners Murf Hall and Joey Burgess took over the bookshop in June 2022. 

The multi-level, cedar-shelved line shop in the heart of Capitol Hill houses over 150,000 titles for customers to shop from. Elliot Bay Book Co. also regularly hosts author readings and events to help its community connect with the authors they love.

Bonus: You can find the Little Oddfellows café inside the bookshop. 

Retail Therapy

#MinorityOwned #WomanOwned

Retail Therapy, Wazhma Samizay’s wonderfully quirky boutique, specializes in clothing, gifts, jewelry, cards, art, and accessories made by small independent artists and designers. Customers delight in finding something fun for themselves or a friend among the eclectic mix of offerings. Looking for a locally designed and ethically produced apparel? Check out the dresses, underwear, and more that are a part of Wazhma’s Bobojan clothing line.

Fun fact: Retail Therapy opened in 2002, and was the first boutique on Capitol Hill’s Pike Street corridor.

Interior of Lifelong Thrift

Lifelong Thrift

Since their beginnings in 1983, the Chicken Soup Brigade and the Northwest AIDS Foundation have led the way in HIV/AIDS advocacy in Seattle. When the two organizations merged to become Lifelong in 2001, they opened a thrift store to fund their efforts to feed, house, and support those fighting HIV/AIDS. Their current location on Capitol Hill is their largest yet and is brimming with clothing, furniture, entertainment media, and more. The donations are intentionally not organized by binary gender expression, a reflection of Lifelong’s commitment to LGBTQI allyship. The special store is also almost entirely volunteer-run.

Fun fact: Lifelong Thrift also offers $25 shopping vouchers for Seattleites living with HIV/AIDS. They gave 5,932 items, about $18,500 in products in their first year alone.

Looking for even more great businesses around the Seattle University campus, check out our map and directory created in cooperation with Seattle University.   Did we miss your favorite local business in our Seattle University Student Small Business Guide? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to check out all 100+ Capitol Hill Businesses on Intentionalist.

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