University of Washington Student Small Business Guide

Welcome back Huskies! We’ve put together this University of Washington Student Small Business Guide so that you can start off the new school year with an intentional visit to one of these University District businesses. From quick meal pick-ups, late-night gyros, study tea shops, to gothic boutiques, this University of Washington Intentional Student Guide covers all of your student needs!



Mark Thai Food Box - University of Washington Intentional Student Guide
Mark Thai Food Box

Mark Thai Food Box


Pick up a homestyle Thai meal and have it ready in just minutes! “Uncle” Mark Pinkaow coined the concept of Mark Thai Food Box when dining was restricted due to the pandemic. Upon ordering, Mark will swiftly prepare and serve your meal in packaged boxes just like the ones he sells at the local markets! Mark Thai Food Box specializes in Thai comfort food, drinks, desserts, and ready-to-eat food boxes. 

Want to serve a crowd? Purchase Mark’s curry bases or curry kit to make your own curry at home!

Pro tip: Treat yourself to a delicious order of Mango Sticky Rice.

Aladdin Gyro-Cery & Deli


“Aladdins” short for Aladdin Gyro-Cery & Deli is a UW college student staple for good reason. Mohammad Almatti opened the restaurant in 1993 and the iconic yellow canopy storefront hasn’t changed since! Aladdin Gyro-Cery & Deli is known for its Mediterranean, Greek, and Middle Eastern cuisine, generous proportions, and late dependable hours.

Pro-tip: Next time you’re in the U District, make sure to grab their Aladdin Fries or Aladdin’s Gyro!

Byrek & Baguette
Interior of Byrek & Baguette

Byrek & Baguette

#WomanOwned #MinorityOwned

Lily Gjekmarkaj was born in Albania to a family deeply rooted in food and cooking. Much of Lily’s childhood was spent in the kitchen testing and preparing new dishes, which eventually led her to Byrek & Baguette, where she now serves versions of her own Mediterranean family recipes. Byrek & Baguette is the perfect spot to grab brunch with a friend or to sit down for a study sesh!

Off the Rez Cafe

#AsianOwned #NativeOwned #WomanOwned

The cafe location of the popular Off the Rez food truck owned by Mark McConnell and Celia Rikard can be found at the Burke Museum. Enjoy a delicious breakfast fry bread taco on-the-go or grab a seat and enjoy a custom rice bowl with your espresso beverage of choice.


University of Washington Intentional Student Guide - Leon Coffee House
Interior of León Coffee House

León Coffee House

#FamilyOwned #LatinoOwned

Lupe Chavez and his family opened León Coffee House next to the beloved Neptune Theater in November of 2021. The menu features classic espresso beverages along with Mexican-inspired drinks. The vintage interior has a modern twist which makes it the perfect shot for your next Instagram post. Be sure to include your coffee with their artfully crafted, adorable latte art!

Want more than just a drink? León Coffee House offers sandwiches and sweet and savory waffles which are perfect for brunch!

Tea Republik


Tea lovers, unite! Whether you’re a tea purist or like to dabble with fruity brews, Anton Lim has something for you at the University District’s Tea Republik. His menu includes everything from classic green, black, and white teas to rooibos and herbal tisanes.

Whether you want to cram before a final or dive back into your latest library find, Tea Republik’s has a cozy spot waiting for you.

Cafe on the Ave

If you’ve been on the lookout for the perfect study space, hangover breakfast joint, or late night hangout spot — Cafe on the Ave checks all the boxes. Stop in for a quick cup of coffee (latte art, anyone?) or for a full diner-style meal. Enjoy pancakes, scrambles, and breakfast sandwiches in the morning and a variety of hearty dishes in the evening — including some Japanese and Korean style dishes. Locals love the kimchi fried rice and chicken katsu curry! Owner Pil Koo is the friendly face behind this neighborhood hang, and loves providing a welcoming space for UW students.

Bonus: There is free WiFi!



University of Washington Intentional Student Guide - One world shop
Toshimo Shiga, owner of Shiga Imports: One World Shop

Shiga’s Imports: One World Shop

#AsianOwned #FamilyOwned #WomanOwned

If you’ve ever enjoyed the University District StreetFair, you have the Shiga family to thank for its origin, which dates back to 1969. The Shiga family has an especially significant history in Seattle, where they have resided for nearly a century. Shiga’s One World Shop was founded by Andy Shiga just a few years before the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair. Today, you can find his wife, Toshimo Shiga, curating and selling a selection of teas, kimonos, home goods, and furniture from all around the world.

The Confectionery

#WomanOwned #FamilyOwned

Kristin “Kristi” and Lance Holmes want to help you make life a little more sweet. The Confectionery is a sight to behold. The boutique features an old fashion feel complete with walls lined with candy and chocolate make customers feel as if they are stepping into Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory! Their selection of irresistible sweets and fine chocolates is sure to have something for everyone!

Gargoyle Statuary

Gargoyle Statuary


In the early 13th century, gargoyles adorned the cathedrals of Western Europe, built with hopes that they would prevent rain corrosion and attract Celtic pagans to the church. Since 1992 expert collector Gayle Nowicki has stocked Gargoyle Statuary with replicas and creative interpretations of these early statues. The statuary also carries books, journals, tarot cards, clothing, cat toys, and more.


#AsianOwned #WomanOwned

Linda Takano’s hand-poured candles and shower steamers are the perfect vessels for incredible essential oils that will make your living space and/or shower smell incredible. Her candles come in a variety of sizes and scents, Want to custom blend the scent for a custom candle? Check out an upcoming candle making workshop

The University of Washington Student Small Business Guide was curated by Intentionalist intern and UW student Helen Tran (updates were made by Intentionalist CEO, Laura Clise). Let us know your favorite local businesses in the comments below, and be sure to check out all 75+ University District businesses on Intentionalist.

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