Building Bridges & Feeding the People: Tarik Abdullah

Food is a connector. The daily practice of gathering over food at the table (or on the floor, etc.) is an act that nourishes, not only the body, but also the heart, and mind. Community is built, rituals are formed, and stories are shared over and through food. Food facilitates story and tells its own.

In homes around the globe, food is a universal love language. Welcoming someone to the place where you cook and eat can be a deeply personal and intimate opportunity for others to see, hear, and taste who you are. Choosing to break bread with another person is choosing to be in community with them, whether they are new friends, old family, or even foes.

Understanding the power food holds in building connection can open us up to a level of creativity and imagination wherein we envision where we eat as places for healing, diplomacy, and growth. Eating becomes an act of resistance to capitalism–which hinges on isolation and individualism–and colonization–which seeks to erase and eradicate the stories and experiences of native folks and people of color. Seeing food through this lens also allows us to create new models of food work that is driven by the people, for the people.

Guided by these principles, Tarik Abdullah is making waves in Seattle’s local food scene. Beloved by his community, he’s looking to redistribute the power in his work as a chef, by co-founding Black and Tan Hall, a worker-owned co-operatively run food and entertainment venue. Prior to diving into the brick and morter business, Tarik hosted wildly successful pop-up restaurants throughout the central and south end on a mission to feed the people (see photos of his last pop-up here). With a creative vision for where Seattle’s food scene can move, Tarik is mastering the wizardry of using food to connect and empower.

Learn more about Tarik’s work at

Black and Tan Hall hosts weekly work parties on Tuesdays from 5 PM – midnight at their location in Hillman City: 5608 Rainier Ave. S., Seattle, WA 98118