Of all the parks in all the city, Golden Gardens is a favorite for good reason: It’s got a huge expanse of sandy beach, a playground, picnicking spots, tidepooling, volleyball, bonfires and even parking (though certainly not enough on a warm summer day). But it’s long been common knowledge that you have to pack your own picnic, as the sad cash-only concession stand sold only neon-colored popsicles and bags of Doritos. Thankfully, that’s no longer the case.
Miri Plowman and her partner Gabe Skoda opened Miri’s Snack Shack in that little concession spot next to the bathhouse a couple of weeks ago. They’re no strangers to Golden Gardens; their first date was on that beach back in 2014. (“He brought the champagne and I brought the oysters,” Plowman says.” Cue the awwwwwwww.)
You may recognize the duo from their poffertjes—tiny, yeasted Dutch pancakes similar to Danish ebelskivers but less like donuts and more custardy, says Plowman—stand they’ve been running at Capitol Hill and Magnolia farmers markets. Those poffertjes have found a home here, too, topped with ice cream and berries, jam and whipped cream or just butter and sugar. But that’s not all: Skoda is a former Crush chef de cuisine with a background in fine dining, and he’s making kebab sandwiches (a nod to Plowman’s birthplace) with beef kofta or marinated grilled chicken on house-made flatbread, picnic platters, acai bowls, avocado toast and even specials like marinated leg of lamb. Don’t worry though—there are still bags of chips and popsicles, only this time they’re ice cream bars from Full Tilt and tropical paletas. And though they aren’t permitted to sell alcohol, they’ve got two slushie machines swirling away—the pina colada is awesome—and promise agua frescas all summer long, so plan to BYOB to add. (Please note this is not supported by Miri's, who wants you to know that alcohol isn't permitted in the park.)
Skoda’s not the only one with a background in restaurants—Plowman says she spent most of her 20s on Orcas Island, running a bed and breakfast, managing front of house at Doe Bay, working the farmers market there. “My friends joke that I moved to the big city and chose the most seasonal job there could be,” she says laughing.
That seasonality means last weekend when the weather hit 80 degrees, they got crushed and sold out of almost everything. They’re incredibly humble—readily admitting this is a work in progress. “It’s hard to be everything to everybody, but frankly that’s what we’re shooting for,” Plowman says. That means keeping the price point low enough, since the public park serves everyone. It means doing catering, whether for parties thrown at the rentable park shelters or weddings at the adjacent bathhouse or even a really great beach picnic. And it means knowing that they may have to concede a few things in order to keep the line moving quickly. “I personally am totally cool with not being hyper polished,” she says. “But we want to make really great food.”
For the rest of May, the plan is to be open Thursday through Sunday from about 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., expanding to seven days (if all goes well) in June. Stop by, say hi and have about a dozen poffertjes for me.
Ballard, 8498 Seaview Pl.; mirisseattle.com