Friday Fictioneers: THE ICON GRILL


I was going to ask everyone to guess what city this was taken in, except that might be too obvious.  Each week, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields hosts a meeting of the FRIDAY FICTIONEERS.  She posts a photograph, and an august group of writers pen a 100 word flash fiction based on their impression.  Sometimes she ‘borrows’ one of those writer’s photos… this week she chose one of mine.

Instead of writing a fiction story, I thought it would be interesting to share my thoughts, and more photos of the Icon Grill.  For the first time in my Friday Fictioneers history I will write more than 100 words… Hey, it’s my photo and my story!  I always stuck to the 100 words because I was afraid of Rich, who believe me, counts every one.  It’s been over 14 months since I wrote my first story… I had commented on one of Madison Wood’s FF pieces and she suggested I write one… I said I couldn’t because I wasn’t a writer… She said “Bullshit!”  So I did… here is my first FriFic story… Friday Fictioneers#1… Semi-Precious Gememoir… not exactly fiction, but a start.

My new favorite restaurant in Seattle is the Icon Grill, under the monorail train track across 5th Ave from the Westin Hotel.  I like to stay at the Westin… right in the heart of downtown and a block away from The Palace Kitchen.  A short walk to the Seattle Art Museum, Pike Place Market, Tom Douglas Restaurants, Penzey Spices, all the theaters that count, and shopping.  In short… all the things I like to do in Seattle.  I’d looked at ‘The Grill’ before and didn’t pay much attention, maybe I was a bit put off by the tacky marquee in front…most likely left over from some old diner long before the Westin.  The neon sign was pretty cool though, so we checked out the menu in the window and were surprised at how upscale it seemed.  I was in town with my friend Michel Ann to see the musical “Flashdance” at the Paramont Theater.  She really wanted Crab Benedict, and they had it listed so we went for breakfast at the Icon Grill.  We were not really ready for the assault on the senses upon entering.  There was stuff everywhere you  looked… paintings, lamps, blown glass orbs of every shape, size and color… and the colors of the restaurant with the rich wood was absolutely beautiful.  Like a decorator on steroids… but I got the feeling it all evolved over the years, and that’s what makes it special to me.  We were seated in a spacious comfortable booth and ordered.  The food was exceptional without being ‘over the top’ with cuteness that seems to make the rounds these days.  Priced fairly, and best of all… great coffee!  But what also impressed me, was that our waiter Michael had been serving diners there for 13 years… that is the mark of a good restaurant, or any business, when the ‘help’ stays like that.  I was taught how to be a bartender by Liz Sinclair at Paragary’s Bar and Oven in Sacramento some 35 years ago… she is still tending bar at Paragary’s… and last time I was there I saw a few waiters I worked with then.  That restaurant is family… and I could see by the interaction of the staff, that the Icon Grill is family.  The art of being a good server is to make the diners feel they are welcome and important… without letting them know you are doing it.  To size up the table and know how much interaction will make them happy, and know when to shut up.  That is tricky to do well, I like to think I was pretty good… Michael is excellent at his job.  I couldn’t wait to start taking photos of this ab fab place, I couldn’t help it.  The banquet or meeting room blew me away… and the men’s room, well there’s a photo below.  I used to hang out in bars a lot, and if I had lived in Seattle, this would have been my bar.  The beautiful and relaxing ambience of the Icon settled a feeling of comfort and joy into that booth… the company didn’t hurt either.  Michel Ann loved her Crab Benedict and the bite she shared was delicious… that’s my choice next trip.          Here is the photo Rochelle chose for the prompt…

The photo I took with my iphone and posted on facebook.

The photo I took with my iPhone and posted on facebook, that became the prompt…

And here are some more of the Icon Grill.  If you are ever in Seattle… go see Michael and tell him I sent you.  Their motto is Aroused Americana!

Here’s the ICON GRILL!

Paramont Theater... The play was fabulous!

Paramont Theater… The play was fabulous!


The Dinning Room

The Bar

The Bar



Looking down from upstairs...

Looking down from upstairs…


Looking down at the bar area…

The Banquette Room...

The Banquette Room…

The Men's Room...

The Men’s Room…


Everywhere you look… it’s crazy!

Back Bar...

Back Bar…


Got to love it!

So that’s my tour of the Icon Grill in Seattle… to read my friends stories -> -> -> ->  

48 responses

  1. Thanks for sharing with us Ted. That place looks like a real find and I bet some From FF will make it out that way and check it out sometime. I know I will if I find myself in Seattle. Just one complaint:

    No ladies room pictures???


    1. Next time for sure!

  2. Thanks for this week’s photo, Ted! I enjoyed looking at the other photos you posted, too. My curiosity is piqued by those globules in the light fixture. They sort of look like frozen turkeys in bubble wrap! Maybe someone will write a story depicting them as evil aliens 😉

    1. They were pretty amazing… and everywhere. There are a lot of glass artists in Seattle and a very famous one… Dale Chihuly

  3. really nice, this place looks like it’s worth visiting. thanks for sharing the photos with us Ted. ^^wasn’t gonna write a story this week cos i’m not feelin too well but when i saw that it’s your photo, i knew i gotta write one ^^ lol

    1. That’s sweet, kz. I will be looking for you story… I hope you feel well soon.

  4. Reblogged this on The Cheese Whines and commented:
    Very cool photo, especially for a camera phone. Some people have such an eye!

    1. What a nice comment. Thank you for reblogging my story.

  5. Dear Ted,
    Thanks for sharing your Iconic experiences and for the “loan” of the photo. As you can see, some wonderful stories coming from it. Although a few want to just smash the bar. I enjoyed the tour of the Icon Grill. Maybe someday I’ll make it to Seattle.

    1. Stop off on your way to Hawaii… when we have the FFConvention at Doug’s place. Thanks for using my pic, Rochelle… I loved your story.

      1. I love the way you think, Ted. 😉

  6. Thanks for sharing these, Ted! Ron and I enjoyed crafting stories to your prompt. BTW I loved the movie ‘Flashdance’. I can’t begin to imagine what the musical must be like!

    1. I loved the movie too… the musical was fantastic… the best I have seen in a long time. The scene in the strip club, where she is in a shower, was breathtaking. Check and see if the touring company is coming to a town near you.

      I’ll be looking for your stories…

  7. Thanks for sharing this and the other pictures. I find your evolution to writer fascinating. I can relate to a great find such as the Icon Grill. I seek out such places in my travels and shy away from chains. Sometimes; a whole lot of times, I am disappointed but then there is the diamond in the rough and it justifies the search.

    1. Yes, once in awhile you find a pot of gold… this was one. Thank you for the nice words… I’m a little surprised at my evolution.

      1. It’s a grand thing about getting older; being able to recognize it.

  8. […] photo prompt this week is courtesy of Ted Strutz. His photo of the Icon Grill in Seattle has prompted many stories from the talented group of […]

    1. Thanks for the link, Vincent.

      1. You are welcome, thank you for the photo. It has been the catalyst for some great stories this week. The nearest I got to Seattle was a visit to Vancouver, should have made an extra stopover.

  9. I know it and love it well. Sounds like time for a visit downtown…..

    Thanks for sharing – and uou know, it’s a civil offense to serve bad coffee in Seattle!! (sipping a Dilettante dark mocha as I type…..)

    1. Well we may just have to meet there someday!!! That would be fun to have all the writers in the area. I have only known of one in Seattle… now I know 2.

  10. Great photo of what looks like a great place. A must the next time I’m in Seattle.

    Here’s my story:

    1. I have to start a list of who comes to Seattle for a reunion… wait none of us has met (well, except for here) yet. I liked your story, Phyllis.

  11. Loved your description of the Icon Grill, you could feel the charm. I will
    definitely go there when I visit Seattle. Thank you

    1. I’m sure you will like the Crab Benedict… yes, I’m sure you will go there.

  12. Wonderful share… Next time in Seattle that’s a place to go to.

  13. Great photos and write up. I will have to add this place to my ‘Bucket List’.

    1. You and Marty should make a trip West, Betty!

  14. I used to go to Seattle every summer but never saw this place. It looks like the kind of place you’d love to have as “your” place and as you said, the fact that the servers have worked there so long speaks volumes. Thanks for sharing this wonderful story, Ted, and may you have many more good times and good meals there.


    1. Thanks, Janet… You would love it… Come back…

  15. Ted, that was awesome!!!! I like small business restaurants and have a taste for them (no pun intended, but as long as I’m here …). Their histories, their developments, etc. are ALL really fascinating. But, hey, I’m a foodie!
    I liked your comments on the help. This is true. Employee loyalty is just as important as customer loyalty. That affects business and is definitely a plus when it spills into the mix.
    We have a lot of restaurants in Kansas City that are great one-of-a-kind restaurants, quality food, service terrific, etc. One of the well-known area chefs, Jasper Mirabile, says KC has a lot of “food energy here” and he is correct. I meet a lot of the local chefs from various restaurants at my job and they are wonderful. Their reward is the, “Wow! This is delicious!” statement. You need to visit someday! We’ll all do a “restaurant crawl.”

    1. I agree, Bill. I have heard that about KC!

  16. Nothing like the old corner bar “where everyone knows your name”, I suspect the Icon will see a few new faces in the coming months. Great review.

    1. I hope so… thanks, vb!

    1. Me too, Scott. I did work at one place like that in Chicago.

  17. Wow! what a review. Sounds like a great place.

    1. It is, Randy… pretty cool place. A very conducive writer’s paradise.

  18. Makes me want to go there!! I’ll ask Travis if he has ever been…..we’ll go when I come to visit. Great story!

    1. Maybe he has. When you come to visit… we will definitely go, even Travis too.

  19. Thanks for sharing the context around the photo. I’m glad I wrote my piece before reading this as it would have changed my perception of the place.

    1. Thank you Rog… I thought about that, and struggled with whether or not to post it… then thought most people will write their story first. I do before reading anyone’s storys… well I always read Rochelle’s.

  20. I was wondering about this place. Thank you for letting us know about it. If I ever go to Seattle, I’ll make sure to go there. It looks like there’s art everywhere. Definitely a good place to sit and imagine.

    1. You got that right Sheila… a nice city to visit too.

  21. love your blog concept, and if i ever get to the island i’ll look you up – i look forward to reading more from you and thanks for reading and following mine ) beth

  22. […] photo prompt this week is courtesy of Ted Strutz. His photo of the Icon Grill in Seattle has prompted many stories from the talented group of […]

  23. Hi Ted,

    I helped open the icon back in 1998 and worked there for three + years – and know the Michael you’re referring to; great guy. The icon family, especially in the early days, was so strong and some of my best friends, I met there. Awesome memories and great food. The Mac n Cheese is the best around. Thanks for writing – brought back very warm memories.

    ….And Nick Musser, the chef, is one of the nicest and most authentic humans you’ll ever meet.

    Thanks for posting, Ted.

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