Yellow Dot Cafe

Need a place to watch the big game, convince yourself you’re studying, and avoid cooking on a Sunday afternoon? Then Yellow Dot Café at 701 N. 34th Street in Fremont may be just the conscience-satisfying destination you need.

The café, whose Fremont branch is a recent expansion beyond their original location in South Lake Union, is a well-achieved blend of coffee house and sports bar.  Sharing a storefront with Fremont-staple Blue Moon Burgers, Yellow Dot offers a sprawling and open floor plan stocked with tall bar stools and tables of dark wood. For those intent on seclusion, a tall booth spans the whole of the back wall, away from the counter and large TV mounted from the ceiling, and complete with a thoughtful foot-rail.

But if the game really is your quarry, there’s plenty of seating in the front of the café as well and a menu fit for a tailgate party. Yellow Dot’s Pulled Pork Sandwich ($8.50) comes piled with coleslaw and house-blended barbecue sauce on a fresh-baked French roll, and the overflowing Meatball Sandwich ($8.95) wafts steam and the hearty flavors of provolone and bell peppers, homemade tomato sauce and parmesan cheese.

Or if you’re in the mood for lighter fare, Yellow Dot features a large range of cold sandwiches, wraps, paninis or salads. Particularly popular on our visit was the Chipotle Chicken Wrap ($8.50), a hefty fistful of chicken, cheddar cheese, tomato, red onion, romaine, house-made chipotle sauce and our ingenious addition of bacon wrapped to bursting in a spinach tortilla.

Paninis are pressed on premium organic bread, though all cold and warm sandwiches may be converted to gluten-free offerings with the additional benefit of a price reduction (usually $2-3). In fact, a cursory glance at Yellow Dot’s menu is bound to illicit some grumbles about over-pricing though in general the meals have proven substantial and filling. Given the high gastronomic precedent of Seattle one could easily desire greater ingenuity or creativity in the offerings, though it’s to Yellow Dot’s credit they do the basics well.

The café’s perhaps best-known at its South Lake Union location for its breakfast menu, also available at the Fremont location, which features a wide variety of breakfast burritos packed with potatoes, onion, cheese, spices, and your choice of bacon, ham, sausage, or spinach ($5.95). For a more exotic start to the day, try the Lox Bagel Sandwich ($8.50) stacked with smoked salmon, cream cheese, red onion, capers, and dill on a toasted bagel. Be advised, however, staff have a steady eye on the clock and breakfast items are available strictly from 7-11am on weekdays and 9am-12pm on weekends. The café as a whole is open till 8pm daily.

Coffee and espresso from Zoka Coffee Roasters are also available, along with a wide range of juices and teas. For some southern serendipity in the midst of our rainy winter try the Hawaiian Mocha, a smooth, flowery and not-too-sweet blend of hazelnut, white chocolate, and espresso, or the Almond Honey Latte, subtlety bitter with a tinge of spring.

In terms of atmosphere, Yellow Dot excels at creating an environment of echoing laughter and group joviality but its yellow teardrop wall art and coned glass lamps may appear cold and cookie-cutter to those looking for a personal touch. Communal is the by-word here, not cozy. Yet any café that manages to marry latte art in creamy Anthropologie mugs with local beers on tap and a flatscreen TV without blinking an eye is surely worth the visit—and the Seahawks take on the Niners this Sunday at 3.

Published 15 January 2014 in The Falcon as “Yellow Dot offers unique combination”

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