Crackhead Teriyaki

This summer I have been volunteering as a mentor at Youth In Focus. My mentee, Malek, is in the intermediate class and is heading into his senior year of high school.

Following a photo shoot at Seattle’s world-famous Pike Place Market, I asked if he wanted to grab a bite to eat. It was about 5 PM and we had been shooting in the bright afternoon sun for over 2 hours. I figured I could go for something cool and refreshing so I headed toward TB’s favorite dining spot, Crepe de France. Malek followed. As we neared the restaurant, I thought, “Wait, this is a good rapport-building opportunity,” and decided to see if Malek had a favorite dining spot that might expand my horizons.

When asked Malek’s face lit up and he said, “Yeah, [inaudible] Teriyaki!” I heard the “teriyaki” part but didn’t bother having him repeat the part I had missed. Teriyaki is teriyaki, right? He said it was about 2 blocks away so we begin walking up Pike, crossed 1st and I saw the restaurant up ahead on the corner of 2nd & Pike. The restaurant looked rundown from the outside and there was neon sign hanging in the window that simply read “Teriyaki.” I became very curious about what I had missed when Malek told me the name earlier.

As we approached this mysterious, hole-in-the-wall, Teriyaki joint, I asked Malek, “What’s the name of this place again?” He turned with a devilish grin and said, “We call it Crackhead Teriyaki.” I must have given him the wha-choo-talkin-bout-Willis look as he quickly clarified. Supposedly, this teriyaki dive got its name from the large number of Seattle crackheads that once loitered around its perimeter. The crackheads have long since gone but the name remains as some kind of twisted term of endearment. Yummy!

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