When SPU students hanker for a tasty bite off campus, their only real dilemma is narrowing down the choices. Seattle is a foodie’s paradise,
and there are plenty of affordable options for college students.
It’s official: We are more than coffee.
Plus, exploring the city together through good eats? It’s a sure-fire way
to make really great friends. Here are five etc-approved places to get your adventure started.
First-year students Sarah Ahrendt, Tim Liu, and Julianne Cubacub sip and chew their bubble tea.
Wow Bubble Tea
SPU students have been bopping to the University District’s bubble tea for over a decade, and WOW is still a Falcon favorite. It’s a great place for newbies to taste the creamy, icy drink — and to experience the giant chewy tapioca pearls for themselves. With smoothie flavors such as strawberry coconut and taro banana, popping boba and mango jelly stir-ins, plus a froyo bar, a trip to WOW is like a trip to a (delicious) tropical isle. Bring a big group of friends for a late-night run, and stay for a rousing round of Jenga. Added bonus: The staff here is as friendly as it gets. They’ll know your name by your second visit.
Authentic homemade salsas perfectly top all El Camión fare.
Ballard, plus another food truck in North Seattle
People used to say it was hard to find authentic Mexican food in Seattle, but El Camión is one example of how that’s just not true anymore. Originally a traveling food truck, the restaurant is now a permanent fixture in Ballard, just a quick bus ride from campus. This is the place to eat tacos when you’re slogging through finals, in the middle of finals, or celebrating the end of finals. Think hot corn tortillas and perfectly grilled meats with fresh fixings (cilantro and hot sauce, olé!). Think iced, milky-sweet, cinnamon horchata, and a burrito that puts the chain we all know and love to shame. Now that’s saying something.
It’s a regular cupcake shindig with a Triple Threat, Dance Party, Lavender, and a Classic cake.
Ballard, Queen Anne, and Capitol Hill locations are closest to SPU
Is there such a thing as too many cupcakes? Never, never, never. Cupcake Royale made cupcakes a thing in the Pacific Northwest, long before they were everywhere else. This is an Emerald City original, and with several locations, including Queen Anne and nearby Ballard, SPUers flock to the bakery for these classic treats on the daily. These days Cupcake Royal also makes a killer espresso and a range of gourmet ice creams. The verdict? It’s old school, and it’s still an ideal spot to land for an afternoon of studying for that intense accounting class you’re stressing over.
With pumpkin ketchup and bacon jam, you’ll love how Skillet handles old favorites.
Skillet Street Food
Truck location varies; restaurants in Ballard, Capitol Hill, and Seattle Center
Bounty hunters chase outlaws, hungry students chase Skillet Street Food. More than your average food truck, Skillet serves sustainably sourced local fare that tastes as good as your mom’s cooking. (Probably better, but we won’t tell.) The truck’s location changes daily, and the menu evolves according to season. But the classics stay the same — the original burger boasts grass-fed beef on a toasty roll, with blue cheese, arugula, and a don’t-knock-it-till-you-try-it bacon jam. Add an order of poutine — cheesy, gravy-laden fries — and you’ll be in a food coma before you know it. Need a place to sit? Try Skillet’s restaurant locations across Seattle for a sit-down experience that’s a little more gussied up.
From left to right: Julianne Cubacub, Hannah Roseen, Sarah Ahrendt, and Tim Liu top off their progressive meal with a latte.
Sunset Hill, Ballard, Queen Anne, West Seattle
Since 2002, Caffè Fiore has welcomed thirsty coffee lovers with open, 100-percent-organic arms. The company has four locations throughout Seattle, but the Sunset Hill spot charms the most. Its quirky corner location offers plenty of people-watching opportunities, and a lovely patio to set up camp for a group project. With a chocolatey, nutty espresso blend, Fiore is a fine alternative to the ubiquitous coffee mermaid. Veteran tip: Good manners mean you’ll put in another order if you’ll stay more than an hour — show those hard-working baristas some love!