Listen, Seattle: It’s time to loosen up about chain restaurants. If Din Tai Fung has taught us anything—besides how to have the patience of a preschool teacher while waiting for a table—it’s that sometimes really great food can come from bigger businesses. (And sometimes, not so much: RIP, Old Spaghetti Factory.) Now, the trend is making room for smaller or international chains serving mostly casual, quick meals and desserts to set up shop. These spots are all opening soon:
Opening July 28, this Kyoto-based ramen shop will be serving big bowls of shoyu (soy sauce) broth and a popular chicken broth.
Capitol Hill; tentenyu-us.com
Hokkaido Ramen Santouka
More ramen: This one from the northernmost Japanese island of Hokkaido with a long-simmered pork broth and an AI robot to greet you at the door, as of Aug. 5.
University Village; santouka-usa.com
The Halal Guys
Long a New York favorite, these gyro slingers will be opening the doors in early August, covering everything with their signature (reportedly super addictive) white sauce.
Pioneer Square; thehalalguys.com
85°C Bakery Café
Lines still occasionally snake around the Tukwila location of this Taiwanese bakery, so it’s good that Lynnwood is getting its own shop in August—likely not the last we’ll see locally from these guys.
If the Kardashians like it, it’s good enough for us. An over-the-top spot for fancy sundaes and doughnuts, this chain with locations around the country (and the globe) is coming to the Bravern later this summer.
Salt & Straw
This Portland ice cream purveyor is already a Seattle legend after collaborating with Tom Douglas on the most amazing coconut cream pie ice cream last year. Now, we’re getting our own location—two, in fact—this winter. Can we have a Wiz Bang Bar, too?
Capitol Hill and Ballard; saltandstraw.com
In my fantasies, this list would also include both an In-N-Out and Shake Shack, a Momofuku Milk Bar, a Blue Bottle Coffee and a Waffle House. Keep dreaming, huh?