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A downtown institution returns to Seattle's dining scene this summer

caption: A rendering of FareStart's renovated restaurant, which will have a fast, casual atmosphere.
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A rendering of FareStart's renovated restaurant, which will have a fast, casual atmosphere.
Rendering by NBBJ, provided by FareStart

Nonprofit restaurant and training center FareStart once again will welcome guests to its South Lake Union location on 7th and Virginia.

RELATED: This Seattle culinary program helps people get out of homelessness

For more than three decades, the restaurant was a staple for office workers and a training ground for people transitioning from homelessness, making it a steady pipeline for restaurant jobs. But like many businesses, FareStart closed during the pandemic.

It's now expected to reopen in early July.

The training never stopped even while it was closed to the public, though, said CEO Patrick D’Amelio. Students continued to cook as they prepared community meals for people in need.

“We produced close to 2 million meals a year for various partner agencies, communities, and folks that would’ve otherwise experienced hunger,” D’Amelio said.

D’Amelio said those years of pivoting during Covid gave them fresh ideas to expand the job training program to include other food-related industries.

RELATED: FareStart helps students find jobs beyond the food industry

“It’s not just about a job as a line cook in a restaurant, but there’s farming, grocery, there are food distribution jobs,” D’Amelio said.

Covid also changed people's work habits, a shift D'Amelio said will be reflected in the restaurant’s look and feel. The space is still undergoing renovations. When FareStart reopens, it will have a relaxed fast-casual atmosphere. Plus, they're adding breakfast to the menu, a first for the restaurant.

Also returning is their guest chef series, when students team up with local chefs to prepare three course meals. That program returns on June 27.

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