Tuesday, November 29, 2005


Short answer . . . I don't think that there is any. For evening entertainment, Mikelle and I often turn to NetFlix--When we do go out, here's what we do:

Movies. We see lots of movies. The nice thing about Renton is that no one has much of a taste for the artsy movie, so we can go on opening night and not worry about a sell out. We saw Kill Bill (vols 1 &2) on opening night and shared a theater with about 12 people. In fact, the only time we ever stood in line for a film was Farenheit 9/11--which made me feel pretty good about my neighbors.

Bars and Clubs. I've mentioned a few good bars in my post about dining: Whistlestop Alehouse, Red House, and the Dog and Pony are all nice, casual places to hang out. All are primarily restaurants, though. The Giant's Causeway is a gigantic Irish bar downtown, that is usually packed. The food is terrible though (how hard is it to cook corned beef and cabbage?) so we rarely go. I'm holding out hope for Jubilante, the jazz bar--but we haven't made it there yet. I have a friend who always takes me out to the Renton VFW when he's up from Kent--and that's always amusing (and cheap!). I'm not aware of any "clubs" in Renton. That could be because my clubbing days are behind me--and I really haven't looked.

The Skyway Bowl and Casino. This place deserves it's own entry. It's in Skyway (just outside of Renton) and it is a huge bowling alley/indoor minigolf/resturaunt/bar/casino/karaoke venue. Not to be missed. The whole place smells vaugely of pee, but it is mighty entertaining.

Other things we should try: In the Summer, Renton has a little more to offer. They have a big celebration called Renton River Days, which we should attend rather than just mocking it. They also have an outdoor cinema on the Piazza (the central plaza Downtown--sort of like Red Square designed by unimaginative architects on the cheap). The Piazza also hosts a Farmer's market in the summer, which is pretty good. Last time we went, there was an old-timey singing group performing that consisted of octogenarians in matching red hoedown outfits.

If you know of any night-lifey things to go in Renton--let me know. I'm open to suggestions.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Conveniently located . . .

One thing that I will say for living in Renton is that we are close to a lot of businesses that usually lure Seattleites down to our neck of the woods on weekends. They are probably located in the Renton area because:

  1. Land here is undoubtably cheaper than in Seattle.
  2. Parking is plentiful.
  3. Renton can be easily accessed from the Seattle area (via I-5) or the East side (via I-405).
Here are some of the stores that are in (or near) Renton:

  1. IKEA--Everyone's favorite cheap yet chic Swedish furniture store. To keep the Swedish super chain happy, the Renton city council was planning to rename the street that IKEA is on "IKEA Way." The only problem is that the other businesses on that street weren't overjoyed to include the name of a competitor in their addresses. Imagine going to shop at the Mor Furniture on IKEA Way. Doesn't really work does it? They settled on the "IKEA Business District"

  2. McLendon's Hardware--A local fixture in Renton since 1926. It's the kind of place where redneck-ish (in a cute way) female cashiers have no qualms about calling you "sweety" and "honey." It's always been a nice hardware store, and they just moved into a much larger space--a vacant K-mart on Rainier Ave. It's a little pricier than Home Depot, but it's also 1/4 mile from my house!

  3. Fry's--The electronics dealer's only store in Washington State. Better prices and better service than your average Best Buy or Circut City.

  4. There are a variety of really nice antique stores in downtown Renton. I had no idea until I moved here.

  5. In the near future (2007) they'll be even more retail options: They're building a new retail park in Renton similar to Redmond Town Center.

  6. Also, we're not far (3-4 miles) from Tukwila where Costco, Home Depot, PetSmart, Best Buy, etc. are located.

It's convenient to shop in Renton, it's mostly meglo-stores (we have a Wal-Mart too, but that's hardly an accomplishment), but it's still pretty convenient when you need to run out and get something on the way home from work.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Dining out

One of the hardest adjustments about moving to Renton is finding good restaurants. but, we have found a few . . .

1. The Melrose Grill. This is an EXCELLENT steakhouse, and the best restaurant in Renton. It's a little hard to find (see directions on their site) but it's 1000% worth the effort. Great steaks and seafood ($15-$30 per entree), and the meal includes a salad and vegetables--unlike some other Seattle steakhouses. They don't take reservations though, so plan ahead and consider going early. Full bar.

2. The Red House. Renton's only tapas and wine bar (as far as I know). The restaurant is actually a big red house, with a great front deck for summer outdoor fun. The menu changes a lot, and features everything from hot wings to spicy garlic shimp to roasted articokes and fish tacos. They also have an amazing selection of rare wine and beer from around the world. You can pop open a bottle to drink with your dinner (for a modest $4 corkage fee), or you can buy the wine/beer for take-out. Beer and wine.

3. The Whistle Stop Ale House. Great neighborhood bar. Smoke-free (every place in Washington will be in a month!). Solid food featuring good sandwitches and burgers all day, and more substantial entrees at night. I love the steak skewers. Full bar.

4. The Dog and Pony. Another great neighborhood bar in downtown Renton. Also smoke free and I think it's owned by the same folks who run the Red House. Good solid bar fare, and unbelievable set of rotating taps (they actually don't serve any beer from the large brewers). Good jukebox, pool table, and an outdoor deck. Full bar.

5. Royal Orchid. A very good Thai place. We get takeout all the time. The dining room is nice and they have a good selection of wines. Beer and wine.

6. Vince's Italian Resturaunt and Pizzeria. Very good Italian in a kitch-filled environment (big wall murals of Venus de Milo, red checkered table cloths). They have a "lounge" that was probably last remodelled in 1983--They have Karaoke on weekends! Full bar.

7. Hong Kong Seafood Resturaunt. This is actually up Rainier Ave a bit towards Seattle, and it looks like a total dump from the street. We went there after reading a citysearch review, and we were pleasantly surprised. They have a broad range of Chinese fare, and it was all fresh and delicious. The decor leaves a little to be desired (it's kind of a Motel 6 lobby meets high school gym), but the food is mighty good. We ordered enough food for 3 meals each for under $20. Beer and wine.

8. Taqueria Guaymas. We were pleased to find this old Capitol Hill standby was also in Renton. Very good Mexican food, but the decor, and the salsa bar are not quite as good. Still--glad to have it. Torrero's (the Mexican place in Broadway Market) has a location down here too, and it's pretty good. Beer and wine.

9. Stanford's. Ok, it's a chain, and it's not in Renton. It's in neighboring Tukwila, but still . . . It's a very good place, with classly dark wood decor, excellent service, and diverse menu (lots of vegitarian choices, wood fired pizzas, steaks). It's really not that pricey ($10-20 an entree). It's a great place to bring parents and dates to the homecoming dance. It also rarely has a wait to get a table, unlike other Tukwila chains like Claim Jumper, Olive Garden, and Outback Steakhouse. Full bar.

10. Jimmy Mac's Roadhouse. Sometimes, even the hipster in me craves listening to bad 80s country music and throwing peanut shells on the floor. Way overpriced, but the schtick is funny and the food is good (especially the dinner rolls--really). We usually go there on a whim, but we always like it.

Honorable mention:
Golden Indian Curry House. Probably the best Indian food I've had on the south side (In Seattle, Tandoor in the University District is outstanding!). Golden Curry is in a strip mall in Tukwila, so you might drive right past it, but the food is very good and affordable.

The All-City Diner. Maybe the best breakfast in Renton. Big omelets, great service. Not so great for lunch and dinner. It also has a bar that no one ever goes into.

Jubilante. A Jazz club downtown that supposedly has great food. We've never been, but will go soon. I didn't want to leave it off the list, though, as many people think that this is the best restaurant is Renton.

Hope this helps. . . Seattle is only 12 miles away (10-30 min depending on traffic) so it's not too hard to commute back to our favorite places, but these restaurants have gotten us through the last two years.

Ah Renton . . .

I lived in the heart of Seattle--lovely Capitol Hill--for nine glorious years. For those of you who don't know Seattle, the hill is a wonderfully diverse neighborhood of where there's a great mix of multimillion dollar homes, crappy little apartments, fabulous resturants, bars, and clubs, homeless teenagers, and beautiful parks and open spaces. It was a fabulous, bustling place.

I don't live there anymore . . .

My wife and I bought a house and moved south--to Renton. Renton is a bit different than Capitol Hill. There are a couple pretty good resturaunts, and a few ok bars, but by and large, it's a bit lacking. So my wife and I have been on a crusade to find all of the little gems that make living in this southland-not paradise a little more fun. We'll use this blog to catch you up on where we are on that project, and post from time to time as we have new adventures.