1401 Third Avenue
Corner of Third and Union
Seattle, WA 98101
On a furiously stormy January night, we needed a place to celebrate the new year with our dear friends from Oregon. One of us is a vegan; one of us ventures into the animal kingdom only for certain kinds of fish; and two of us eat everything humanly possible. We needed a place that could accommodate all food desires deliciously with comfortable space for a wheelchair, so we reserved a spot at the aromatic candlelit haven that is Wild Ginger.
Looking out the Wild Ginger windows at the gloom of downtown Seattle on a windy rain-cloaked night, we felt as though we were safely tucked away in a warm place that would serve us a lovely meal, and we were not disappointed. We all shared lively spring rolls with a pineapple dipping sauce to start. Our omnivores chucked down oysters, prawns, and chicken; our vegan chose a couple of savory small plates from the vegan/vegetarian menu, including a pumpkin soup; and our vegetarian fish eater had an amazing tofu and eggplant dish with a stolen prawn on the side.
The wait staff were divine—attentive and negligent exactly when we wanted them to be. They let us take our time so we could enjoy each other and this very sweet and—with the exception of parking–accessible spot.
Parking: Parking is the only glitch in wheelchair dining at Wild Ginger. There may be parking garages all around the restaurant, but there are none next door and hills everywhere. Third Avenue is a bus-heavy street, so street parking is not available in front of or near the restaurant. Wild Ginger’s website advertises reasonably priced valet parking, however, so we decided to go that route.
Once at Third and Union, we found that the valet service is about half-way down the hill from Third on Union, not under cover, and with no ramp on the curb, except for the ramp back up the hill on the corner. My beloved pusher had to get the wheelchair out of the trunk, set it up, stabilize it near me, help me get up the curb to it, and then push it up the hill to Third Avenue—all in the howling rain.
When we were ready to leave the restaurant, the hostess tried to call the valet service to have our car brought out. We were hoping that the valet could back our car up Union to where the curb was ramped at Third, and—if the service people were not willing to do that, one of us would do the backing. But the valet service never answered the hostess’s call. In the end, one of our friends went to the valet station and asked the valet to bring the car around to the front of the restaurant on Third, which he did.
Needless to say, Wild Ginger—and probably the other businesses around it—could be made more accessible to wheelchair travelers if there were a load-only space close by the ramped corner or if the valet service had a better parking plan for people needing assistance.
Entrances: Once you get to it, the entrance to Wild Ginger is flat, and the door is easy to open. The reception desk is right next to a big window, so the host or hostess can see who might need help coming in.
Tables: Seating in Wild Ginger is excellent. We had called ahead with a reservation, so we were taken to a table for four with plenty of space around it and close to the corridor leading to the restrooms. The tables in the southwest area of the restaurant where we sat are placed in such a way that you don’t overhear the conversation next to you, and everyone has a feeling of privacy and space. There are other seating areas in the restaurant that we did not visit, including an area up a flight of stairs. Our table was perfect.
Restrooms: The restrooms are located down a corridor at the back of the main floor dining area. The women’s room had a nice wide entry to the handicapped stall and well-placed grab bars around the toilet. The space between toilet seat and toilet paper was a little close–which my able-bodied friend even noticed–unless you used the second roll.
Photos of interior space online: Yes on Google Images, but most are images of food.
Photos of entrances online: One on Google Images.
Reservations taken: Yes. Make sure you tell them that Spoken Wheel recommended them when you call to reserve your spot!
What the wheelchair pusher has to say: Aside from the terrible trip from valet parking to the front door, once inside the path was absolutely flat, wide, and easy. The waitstaff were very helpful with doors and getting us seated. The table couldn’t have been better!