Matt Dillon, chef and restaurateur
If you’re not the type to closely follow restaurant openings in town, this news might be something of a shock: Pioneer Square is the hottest culinary locale around. In just a year’s time, a half-dozen restaurants have opened, breathing new life into long-vacant storefronts and bringing energy to the struggling neighborhood. Leading the charge was Matt Dillon, the James Beard Foundation Award–winning chef who opened two lovely destination-worthy spots: first, Bar Sajor, and then, The London Plane, on opposite corners of Jackson and Occidental. Dillon generally eschews any talk of a master plan to revitalize the neighborhood with his projects, insisting that his presence is simply a reflection of his loyal and long-standing affection for the area. Still, his actions have spurred a shift in attitudes, and the historic streets of Seattle’s oldest neighborhood are coming alive yet again.