Communion now open in the Central District with BBQ shrimp and grits, Seattle Soul, and a healthy helping of equitable development

Brown and Bomar

The first business in what many hope will be a wave of equitably developed new ventures in the Central District celebrated its grand opening over the weekend.

Communion R&B — that’s R&B for restaurant and bar — broke out the giant ceremonial scissors and cut the ribbon outside its newly opened home at 24th and Union on the street level of the Liberty Bank Building affordable housing development.

Here’s how veteran Seattle chef Kristi Brown explains the meaning behind her first brick and mortar restaurant:

Communion is a nod, an acknowledgment, an homage to where I come from: Lima beans & ham hocks; the sound of crackling cornbread in a cast iron skillet; boiled or sautéed cabbage (Napa cabbage, savoy cabbage, bok choy); meatloaf; fried chicken and mashed potatoes; sautéed greens and green beans; red beans & rice; spaghetti; pot roast; oyster stew; stuffed clams; fried pork chops; bamboo shoots, tofu and rice (rice and more rice!); grits; pok pok salad; potato salad; baked beans; barbecue; hamburgers. All of these are a treasure trove of food memories that connect me, and my son, to the legacy of my grandmother’s long, beautiful, brown fingers in doughs, forming and making pies, biscuits and dinner rolls. Only to watch her leave the house to play the organ right before preaching a sermon.

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Africatown gets $1M+ boost from Seattle’s first Equitable Development grants

Africatown has been awarded a major grant as part of more than $5 million in funding for equitable development in Seattle.

“Seattle is facing an affordability crisis, which has displaced far too many and left behind many of our neighborhoods and businesses,” Mayor Jenny Durkan said about the grants. “To tackle these challenges, our City is investing in community organizations who are leading the way in creating true economic vitality and opportunity within Seattle’s most underserved communities.”

Africatown will receive $1,075,000 for “capacity-building” and “development expenses to include affordable commercial space to the Midtown affordable housing project,” according to the City of Seattle announcement of the award. Continue reading