Seattle: Oddfellows Café & Bar
Words by Meredith McEntee Photographs by Michael A. Muller
We chat with Seattle luminary Linda Derschang, who always seems to know what the city wants next, about her bustling Capitol Hill restaurant.
An all-day café in Seattle’s Pike/Pine corridor, Oddfellows offers everything from weekend brunch to late night cocktails. Step in on a weekday afternoon and you’ll find it full of business people, students and a few well-informed tourists. Simple, local American dishes are served for sharing and you can’t go wrong with anything on the extensive menu.
Oddfellows Café has a distinctly different and lighter feel to it than your other restaurant creations. How did you come up with the theme for the old-school Americana ambience?
The Oddfellows building was built more than a hundred years ago. The first time I saw the space I was struck by how light, airy and beautiful it was. I decided that a lighter color palette and an Americana/mercantile feel would suit both the room, my vision for the café and neighborhood.
What is your favorite feature of the café?
I love the big front windows in the morning when the sun is streaming in, and when they’re open on a warm summer evening.
What inspired the menu’s focus on seasonal, rustic fare?
Our whole philosophy, really, is simple, lovely food. The menu is rooted in European comfort foods and American classics.
What are the must-have treats and eats at Oddfellows?
For breakfast, our House-Made Biscuit and Eggs is one of my favorites. For lunch, I recommend the Charred Broccolini Sandwich and in the evening, the Roasted Vegetable Lasagna.
Do you make all of your food in-house?
Yes, definitely! Everything is made in-house.
How did you go about collecting all of the salvaged furniture and decor? How long did it take to complete your collection?
The summer before we opened, I traveled to Brimfield, Massachusetts, to look for furniture/art/anything that caught my eye. I had a lot of things shipped back to Seattle from there. The photos on the walls are actually from the original building, the benches are pews from a church in the neighborhood and the rest of the furniture was built for the space. It all took about six months.
Oddfellows is an all-day, all-night establishment. What time of day do you prefer to be there? At what time is it most lively?
I‘m at Oddfellows most often during the day. There are always many friends and local business owners hanging out whom I enjoy running into. It’s very much the neighborhood cafeteria.
What are your customers like?
The guests are such a fabulous mix of people: it’s neighborhood folks, tourists visiting Seattle, students and families.
Of what part of Oddfellows are you most proud?
The staff. The Oddfellows staff is such an interesting, talented and cool group of people.
What have you learned from Oddfellows since it opened in 2008?
When I envisioned Oddfellows, I loved the idea of starting a business that was open from early morning to late at night but it was a little more complicated than I’d anticipated. However, after five years, we’ve really got it down and I’m really proud of that.
1525 10th Avenue, Seattle