Blue C Sushi

University Village
4601 26th Ave NE
Seattle, WA 98105

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“Goodness in motion” is the motto of Blue C Sushi, a California and Washington chain of sushi restaurants that feature a conveyer belt of sushi, rolls, spinach, katsu, and other dishes circumnavigating the dining area.  When you see something you want, you pull it off its little stand; add the soy sauce, wasabi, and ginger provided in generous quantities at your seat; and enjoy.  The little traveling stands that hold the dishes include the ingredients in the item and note whether it is cooked or raw.  Gluten free, vegetarian, and vegan items are available.


You can also order off the menu, but that is not nearly as much fun as waiting for the conveyer to bring you new surprises in every circuit.  If you are leaning toward the menu because you’re worried about how long that Spicy California Roll has been cruising the dining room, no worries there.  An RFID chip is embedded in each plate, so the staff can monitor how long any item has been making the rounds and remove it when it’s time has come.

The plates circling the room with their many temptations are color coded to prices, from green plates at $2 each to purple at $5.50.  The story the featured image above tells, with its three red and three yellow plates, is that my sweet pusher and I spent $21.75 on a delightful and accessible late lunch earlier this month, not counting the lemongrass lemonade.


Parking:  The newly-built, south end parking garage has wheelchair parking spaces close to elevators. Though spaces are provided and likely the number of them meets ADA requirements, open handicapped parking spaces are scarce at the U Village, often because people without handicapped permits are either parked in them or lurking in them waiting for friends.  It would be great if U Village security made monitoring permit-less use of these spaces a priority.  Once you’ve found a space in the parking garage, take the elevator to the ground floor and “sidewalk level.”  Turn left and head west down the sidewalk to Blue C, which is on the southwest corner of the U Village.

Entrances:  The entrance is wide, step-free, and easy to get through.  In the summer, the restaurant opens the whole front wall, but in either case, entry is pain-free.

Tables:   There are booths at Blue C, but these are not great for wheelchair diners, who would need to sit at the end and ask others to grab that shrimp tempura roll for them.  However, the countertop that winds around the restaurant is perfect and easy to access.  Wait staff are happy to move chairs for you.  A warning though:  Blue C in the U Village is often packed, which may complicate getting that spot that is perfect for you.  We were there after the lunch crowd had left, and we had no problems finding a space that was roomy and close enough so I could snare a fresh vegetable roll from my chair.


Restrooms:   The restrooms are located at the back of the restaurant down a corridor.  Without crowds, it is easy to get to, but if the place is full, you may have to ask one or two people to tuck in as you pass behind them.   The bathroom is great—a large handicapped stall, good toilet paper placement, and a roll-under sink that works for people at any mobility level.


Photos of interior space online:  Yes, on Google images.  The restaurant’s website includes a gallery but photos are not necessarily of THIS Blue C and they don’t show much of the interior space.

Photos of entrances online:  Yes, on Google images

Reservations taken:  I’m not sure, but whether or not they take reservations, I would call ahead to let them know you are coming in a wheelchair and will need a counter space.  Tell them Spoken Wheel recommended them!

What the wheelchair pusher has to say:  It’s flat, wide enough to navigate around corners.  The wait staff is really helpful.  I’d give it five wheels!  We’ve already been back and will probably be back again.

Photo credits:  Picture of veggie roll,; picture of restaurant,

Pike Place Market

1st Ave and Pike St.
Seattle, WA 98101

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For about 30 years, I loved walking through Pike Place Market.  When we were new to Seattle and trying to keep afloat on a graduate student’s TA-ship and a part-time job, I did most of my Christmas shopping there.  I’d find fanciful earrings for my sisters, glittering fabric fish for my daughters,  hand-carved cheeseboards for my mother, bright t-shirts silk-screened with ravens capturing the sun for my beloved nephews and nieces—treasures that didn’t cost much but that grew from the hands and imaginations of our Northwest craftspeople.


There were other treasures, too—lush bouquets of flowers; the patchwork quilt of greens, tomatoes, eggplants, corn; fresh sockeye for dinner; samples of cherries and smoked almonds; and, of course, those little donuts hot off the conveyer belt near DeLaurenti.

More than 100 years old, the Market is the place we Seattlites show off to visitors from inland universes.  It’s the place we love to meander through on a Saturday morning in October but avoid on a Saturday in July.  It’s a place of magic and industry, a temple to our rich soil and sea and the breathtaking variety of our region.  No longer able to walk through the market, I’m grateful that so much of it is accessible by wheelchair.


That doesn’t mean, though, that all of the Market is accessible.  Any crowded place makes it challenging for wheelchair travelers to see beyond people’s knees and butts.  Even when people thoughtfully make room for you—as they almost always do—and vendors bring their wares to your hands—as they almost always will—there will be places you can’t get to and things you can’t see.


Built in a less-wheelchair friendly time than the present,  some places in and around the market are hard to enter or impossible to navigate.  DiLaurenti, with its Italian delectables packed into tight aisles that are packed tightly with people, is no longer an option.  Le Panier’s entry steps render its deep-flavored tomato feuilletes and sweet vanilla briands off limits for wheelchair travelers travelling alone.  And forget a trip through Sur Le Table unless you can wheel yourself straight up the side of a cliff.  Cobblestone streets and steep curb ramps can also bump up the anxiety levels of a trip to the Market.


In spite of such drawbacks, most of the pleasures of the Market are accessible if you stick to the main Market and its neighbors across the street.  A ride through the Market is still a lovely journey!

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Liam’s Restaurant

University Village
2685 NE 46th Street
Seattle, WA 98105

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One sweet summer afternoon mid-week, my pusher and I found ourselves needing to make a run to the University Village, so we decided to stop at Liam’s Restaurant for a late lunch.   For those of us with mobility challenges, restaurant dining a bit before or after the  most popular hours works well,  because we have more table choices and fewer other diners to navigate around.

Liam’s is owned by Beecher’s Handmade Cheese—the Seattle cheese empire that almost single-handedly gave mac and cheese a respectable seat at the restaurant table, both by its comforting self and in its more dressed-up versions (e.g., with prawns, prosciutto, or kale).  We called ahead, and when we arrived, the hostess gave us our choice of available tables, as well a nice bottle of water and a menu.  We picked the table that was the easiest to wheel to–close to the front of the restaurant and on the perimeter.


At Liam’s the delicious choices include the aforementioned mac and cheese dishes, arancini with a Beecher’s smoked surprise inside, mushroom tarts, sandwiches, and salads, as well as “comfort” foods beyond mac and cheese, such as the amazing chocolate pudding in the featured photo above.  How nice that these dishes are accessible to all of us!


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