April 21, 2009

In-City Country Living and Large Lots in Maple Leaf


Close and dear to my heart, is my own neighborhood, little old Lake City. Annexed as part of Seattle relatively recently in 1954, the larger than city norm properties were used to raise peacocks, minks, and chickens in the earlier years. People living in the city would have their country homes in Lake City and the farming community had a big presence. Thus, there are many older fruit trees and old growth trees in general than in much of the city. There are also Lake Washington views in the eastern section of the neighborhood that border the water. With prohibition in the 1930's came a bootlegging industry that was prominent at the Jolly Roger's Restaurant on Lake City Way. Tunnels still remain underground at 8721 Lake City Way NE, now a Shell gas station, where the bootleggers would spring for a getaway when the lookout crew on a high tower would spot police arriving.

As the owner/operator of Toyoda Sushi Restaurant, one of the best neighborhood joints in the heart of Lake City for the past 20 years, I have seen the comings and goings of businesses, families, and everything in between. Going to the annual Pioneer Days Parade as a child, a little bit of Seafair that runs through every summer, I wasn't certain that this "country-like" neighborhood was ready for sushi. But ready, it was! I have had the honor of serving our country style Japanese cooking to our much loved entertainers Paul Newman, Joe Pantoliano, Tom Hulce, Alex Borstein, and former Mariner Kazu Sasaki to name a few. Fresh caught fish is truly a treat that people will travel from every corner of the city for, and from neighboring towns, too.

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