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Plus: There are not enough cooks in our kitchens. Receive Newsletters like this

Seriously. Can you spy our city through that smoke? (Thanks for tagging #theevergrey, Gowtham!) 📸: @innereyephotography

NOW HERE’S WHAT’S GOING ON IN YOUR CITY 🌫

  • It’s not just you, it’s hazy out there. Smoke from wildfires in British Columbia has made its way down here, and the usual breeze isn’t carrying it away. The bad news: the lingering smog is causing delays at the airport and might bother people with asthma. The good news: the sun’s rays reflect off smoke, so our weirdly hot weather is probably a couple degrees cooler than it would have been otherwise. (The Seattle Times)
  • Does your pillow fit in your freezer? We might break 100 degrees today, and that’s only happened three times in the last 123 years. At least things will cool down when the sun goes down, right? Well, not really. Prepare yourself for some warm evenings and read these tips from a meteorologist, like freezing your pillow and misting yourself with cold mint tea.
  • Honoring a local philanthropist. Jeff Brotman, the founder of locally based Costco, passed away suddenly on Tuesday, and a lot of people are paying him tribute. Starbucks’ Howard Schultz remembers Jeff as a brother and one of first investors, and UW President Ana Mari Cauce remembers him for the many contributions he made to the school. (The Seattle Times)
    >> Evergrey reader Madeline Moy, who worked with Jeff at United Way, wrote in to tell us how much his local support of the arts, human services, health care, and education inspired her. “The Seattle that I’ve lived in and known for the last 20 years has included business leaders who have had a deep and abiding interest in caring for others,” Madeline wrote. “Perhaps the most dynamic was Jeff Brotman.”
  • Seattle’s a hotbed for software jobs. Seattle had the biggest increase in software-related jobs of any city in the last five years. And get this: Out of all the software job postings on Glassdoor, 16.9% of them are right here. Go ahead, guess where a lot of those jobs are. Yup: Amazon. (MarketWatch)
  • We finally get to meet Lulu! Woodland Park Zoo’s newest giraffe is now out and about where we can see her every day from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. And try not to smile when you hear this: They had to do some baby-proofing in the exhibit to keep Lulu out of trouble. Aww. ☺️ (KING 5)

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WHERE ARE ALL THE SEATTLE COOKS? 🍽

You don’t have to go far around here to find good restaurants. But our restaurants are having a heck of a time finding good cooks.

There’s a shortage, it turns out, of cooks, dishwashers, and other “back of house” restaurant staff in cities all over the country. And Seattle — the fastest growing city in America — is getting hit hard.

“If you come to the interview, and you’re not a sh*t show, I am going to hire you, because I am desperate for competent help,” reads an exasperated and anonymous restaurant job post on Craigslist that’s been making the rounds within the industry. (The post appears to be from Ballard, but there’s no telling who’s behind it — we emailed to ask, but no one’s emailed back.)

What’s going on here? We’ve heard several theories: There are too many restaurants. It’s too expensive to live here on a low wage and too much of a hassle to get into the city if you don’t.

Let’s look at the numbers.

Seattle has about 2,500 restaurants — 500 more than we had a decade ago — and the number is spiking. So many new restaurants are opening just this summer, in fact, that The Seattle Times actually included the phrase “Can you believe it?!” in the headline of this story.

Meanwhile, the gap between staff supply and demand in the industry is enormous. According to this state report, food service companies in Seattle and King County needed 3,955 prep and serving staff in June. But the supply of people to fill those jobs? It was just 634.

What does this staff shortage mean for Seattle restaurants? It means positions aren’t being filled, other staff are picking up the slack, and managers are getting frustrated and in some cases, exhausted. Little Uncle, a Thai restaurant in Capitol Hill, cut back its hours temporarily last summer because they were short staffed. Now they’ve told their customers they’re closing for lunch every day but Friday.

“Closing for lunch is a big deal as we have an abundance of lunch business, but we just need a break,“ co-owners and co-chefs Wiley Frank and Poncharee Kounpungchart told us. “We have had two open cook positions for a year. We have occasionally hired some to fill these positions, but they do not last more than a month.”

Read more about Seattle’s cook shortage — including what people think is behind it and what one organization is doing about it — at theevergrey.com.


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HERE'S WHAT'S COMING UP 🗓

OUR EVENTS
AROUND TOWN

THE HOPPIEST DAY OF THE YEAR 🍻

It’s National IPA Day (yup, that’s a thing) and a few bars are putting on events to celebrate the summery beer. Reuben’s Brews in Ballard, Teku Tavern in Queen Anne, and Flatstick Pub in Pioneer Square and Kirkland will be pouring the cold stuff on a hot, hot day.

 

We’ll see you tomorrow. — The Evergrey