A line of hungry customers trails out of a blue-trimmed building reminiscent of a beach shack as gulls fly overhead and waves from the water taxi’s wake lap against the shore. Behind us, divers suit up in the parking lot. We slowly trickle into the building, but no one seems antsy about the wait. Instead everyone pores over the menu, snaps photos against the backdrop of Seattle’s skyline bathed in the early evening glow, and talks about what’s good here. The short answer? Everything.
The Marination trifecta – Marination Mobile, Marination Station, and Marination Ma Kai – serves up Hawaiian-Korean no-fuss food fittingly wrapped in the breezy slogan: Everyday aloha. Co-owners Kamala Saxton and Roz Edison previously worked in public education on national educational policy reform, and after hitting hard times during the recession, decided to open up a food truck in 2009.
“We were inspired by Kogi in L.A.,” remembers Kamala. “They were the first ones to hit the streets with Korean tacos. We added the Hawaiian part and away we went.”
Recently the duo brought a new head chef aboard after previous chef Josh Kelly went on to pursue new culinary adventures (more on that later). Angie Roberts, who’s résumé reads like a Seattle foodie’s bucket list (Flying Fish, Boka Restaurant and Bar, and The Hollywood Tavern) couldn’t be more thrilled for a change of pace.
“It’s a completely new style of service for me, so I’m definitely learning,” says Angie. “I love that we have a truck in the company and I like that we have so many moving parts. It keeps me on my toes!”
Angie is working on some changes to Marination’s mouthwatering lineup, including a gluten-free option, something for the kids, and a “more significant-sized menu item.” Word on the street is she will also be throwing some blazing-hot beach parties at Ma Kai this summer. She’s not denying the rumors, “Think pig roast with the best view in the city!”
But, some things will never change. Including their much-praised Pork Katsu Sandwich; a healthy cut of crispy pork heaped with tangy slaw and their signature Bulldog Sauce. Kamala and Roz knew there was only one bun for the job of holding in this sandwich’s fillings: our Ciabatta.
“In this city we are fortunate to have many bakeries that provide wholesale baked goods for restaurants,” says Kamala. “Macrina had the products we were seeking and hands-down they have the best customer service.” Plus, she says, there is nothing better than our Giuseppe bread right out of the oven. We can’t argue with her.
As Team Marination barrels toward an action-packed summer, Roz and Kamala have decided to throw another pan in the fire. They’re partnering with Josh and his wife Nancy for a bar in Pioneer Square.
“Josh is going to create a small but focused and delicious menu,” Kamala hints at Good Bar’s plan. “One that will have something for everyone. A menu that is just right.”
Given the group’s track record, we imagine it will be nothing short of greatness.