Ever wondered if meatless options can be as tasty, rich and satisfying as their traditional counterparts? If it’s at Hilltop’s Quickie Too restaurant, the answer is, “Oh, yes.”
Serving up an entirely plant-based version of traditional Southern comfort food favorites, Quickie Too has been creating loyal fans since the 1990s. This family-run, vegan establishment uses creativity and the riches of the plant kingdom to bring you unforgettable dishes like Seitan Cutlets (made with a meat-like, wheat-based protein) and Mac ‘n’ Yease (made with dairy-free, nutritional-yeast-based sauce). You’ll find a variety of meat-free burgers, served with house-made sweet potato fries or soup. And for dessert, the vegan carrot cake is a top seller.
Everything served at Quickie Too is made in-house, and you’ll find memorable flavors, substantial portion sizes and down-to-earth service in a laid-back environment. Made with items like tofu, quinoa and seitan, the dishes are unique and interesting while still down home enough to appeal to a range of palates. Posters of Bob Marley and news clippings from the years line the walls. The dining room is cozy enough that you feel like you can really enjoy your conversation and – of course – your meal.
While Quickie Too is a great place to dine, its history is also something that stands out.
Back in the 1990s, before vegan restaurants were common, founder Niombi Howell took a risk and opened a vegan sandwich shop, Hillside Quickie, in the Hilltop neighborhood, wanting to bring healthy and appealing food options to her local community. It was a hit, with sandwiches soon being sold wholesale at delis and groceries across the Puget Sound. Vegans from around the area discovered the shop as well, and as her daughter Afi says, “A whole generation of people are like, ‘I grew up eating your sandwiches!”
Soon, the full-service restaurant was born, and when the family discussed what to name it, Niombi suggested, “Quickie, too!” so people would know the same family operated it. And thus, a local legend was named. In this era of new dining and food trends, Quickie Too has stood the test of time.
The restaurant has always been a family affair. Today Niombi and her daughter, Afi, run the Hilltop restaurant together. Several family members have contributed over the years. While Quickie Too is their only establishment at this time, daughter Makini owns Plum Bistro in Seattle. And today, while they still draw local regulars and dedicated vegans, Afi notes that more and more people of all dietary preferences are trying the restaurant. “A lot of people come in looking for something different, and it’s fun to hear customers say, ‘I’m not vegan, but this is really good food. People who say they never would have tried [plant-based meals] come with an open mind, and they end up liking and enjoying it.”
The secret to success seems to be a combination of several things: history and reputation; having rock-solid dishes nailed down (the Crazy Jamaican Burger, Mama Africa Burger, Smoky Mushroom Burger, and Really Big Burger are all perennial favorites); and providing an inviting, warm atmosphere. Staff member Evelyn Johnston says she feels treated like family, and loves promoting the vegan food. Cook Chia Collins is a graduate of the rigorous Bates Technical College Culinary Arts program, and brings the variety of skills she has learned to create a great impression for customers. And Afi Howell helps keep it all running smoothly, seamlessly helping get dishes out and overseeing daily operations.
Quickie Too is open for your dining pleasure Wednesday through Saturday for lunch and dinner, and they also serve a popular Sunday brunch. You can get to-go orders and they also offer their proteins for sale by the pound. After eating at Quickie, Afi notes, “Sometimes people get on a roll with vegan cuisine and get inspired by it.” But no one does it quite like Quickie. Indeed, Quickie Too is still serving its original mission of expanding the idea of good food by serving up traditional favorites, one savory plate at a time.
Seitan Quesadilla, anyone? Or maybe Friday Night ‘Fish’ Fry? Yes, please. Once you’ve been to Quickie Too, you’ll want them both.