Oddfellows is a stylish American eatery in Seattle. A neighborhood destination, it offers a variety of seasonal fare and craft drinks to a bustling crowd. It’s a giant, scarred wooden restaurant with a lofted ceiling and beautiful beams running across the top. Oddfellows always feels like home—and it comes with a story.
FROM EMBALMING TO FOOD PREP
The building was originally constructed as Oddfellows Lodge in 1908—you can see the members in the large photo hanging on the wall. They did all sorts of things here, like offer medical services. The embalming supposedly took place downstairs. It is pretty creepy down there, and when I lock up at night I always run up the stairs after switching out the lights. We are even on the local ghost tour!
These days, the building is shared by lots of tenets, from offices to a dance hall and an ice-creamery, so there is a really fun network of people crossing between spaces. I refer to Oddfellows as 'Capital Hill's Living Room.' It's open to everyone for all occasions. I have even been nicknamed 'mom' by the staff, and, once in a while when I have to respectfully point something out, I am 'stern mom!'
ONE LARGE FAMILY
We want to extend the same feeling of welcomeness to the staff as we do to our guests. When a new staff member is hired, we invite them to come in and eat their way through the menu—on us! We have a discount for the staff when they come in on nights off and for employees of the sister spots in our hospitality group. We really want to make all the staff feel valued, which in turn creates a really healthy work environment that is reflected in the guest’s experience.
OVERLAPPING STAFF MEALS
We have a large communal table in the back where we have our staff meal. For brunch, we have a slightly more formal family meal with communal dishes. Other days it's a bit more free-flowing, where the staff just orders something from the menu during a pause in their days. We are open all day, so the team doing the day shift sits down at various times, and they finish eating as the evening staff grabs a bite just as they are about to start their shift. And, after every shift, everyone also gets a drink!
DRESS YOUR BEST
We also put on lots of fun activities for the staff that range from outings where we will do volunteer work together to dress up themed days. Some recent ones have been purple dress for Prince's birthday, piano teachers’ day, Aloha Fridays, and—of course—Halloween and Pride are the really big ones!