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This restaurant, coffeehouse, and juice bar, whose menu is "approximately 99 percent organic" and 99 percent vegan, serves good sandwiches, entrées, and desserts. About half of the restaurant's offerings qualify as "raw food," which means no heat was used in the process of preparing them. None of Chaco's politics would matter, of course, if the pesto melt (made with vegan cheese) and the Reuben (made with Field Roast) weren't delicious. That they are proves that progressive thinking and adventurous food go together like . . . mock tuna and spicy apple-cranberry chutney.
Chaco Canyon, the U District cafe specializing in organic, raw, and vegan fare, has a great bathroom. No, really, think about it: How many times do you go into a restaurant's bathroom and say "Wow, this john's fantastic!" And not only does it look nice inside—all dimly lit and calming—but it's also quite possibly the "greenest" bathroom in the city. Owner Chris Maykut was kind enough to give me the rundown: The walls were painted soothing colors with the lowest-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint on the market; it's been insulated with recycled denim, not fiberglass; dual-flush toilets save about 14,000 gallons of water per year; low-energy hand dryers prevent paper-towel waste; and, of course, the t.p.'s 100 percent recycled. Maykut also plans to begin using Ballard Organics soap (which, coincidentally, is currently manufactured in Chaco's old location, one block east). "I wanted to make sure people knew we weren't a scummy joint, but a nice, clean cafe," he says. Mission accomplished.—Brian J. Barr
I love eating here. I have never had a bad meal. I usually take my laptop and hang out for an hour or two. The portions are good and it tastes great. My favorite sandwich is the artichoke melt. I also love their smoothies.
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