University Village
2630 NE University Village St,
Seattle, WA 98105

Spoken WheelSpoken Wheel

On a cold, rainy day of shopping at the University Village, my beloved pusher and I decided that Elemental might be a cozy place for a late lunch.  Located in the north end of the ever-expanding shopping center, Elemental specializes in a big selection of wood-fired pizzas that can accommodate gluten-free diets, vegan cheese needs,  meat-worshippers’ desires, and the obsessions of potato lovers alike.  Many of the toppings, along with the flour used in the pizza dough, are locally sourced.  In addition, Elemental serves delicious appetizers, such as the wood-fired cauliflower shown in the picture above, and hearty sandwiches, including the grilled veggie shown in the photo below.


The food at Elemental is tasty, and the servers are sweet and generous.  However, the path in and out is tight and bathroom access is extremely challenging, making Elemental a less than optimal choice for wheelchair diners.

Parking:   A few wheelchair parking spaces can be found near the restaurant in the giant parking lot that surrounds and flows between the shopping areas at the U village.  The main entry to the restaurant faces the northern mall area itself, so if you park nearby, you will have to wheel to or around the building to gain access.

As noted in other reviews, although handicapped spaces are provided at U Village and although it is likely that the number of them meets ADA requirements, open handicapped parking spaces are scarce here.  One reason for this scarcity is that quite often people without handicapped permits are parked in the handicapped spaces.  This seems to be a greater problem at U Village than at any other place I have frequented.  The last time I was there, a low-life throwback had parked his/her late model white BMW convertible in the large space between handicapped slots that is provided for wheelchair ramped vans, making it impossible for me to get into our car.  As we were trying to figure out how to get me in, a family of four wandered over to the SUV—with no handicapped placard or plate—that was parked in the adjacent handicapped spot and climbed in.  They smiled at us and waved as they left.  Security at the U Village needs to make the removal or ticketing of cars without handicapped permits occupying the handicapped spots a priority.  I would have loved to have had to wait while a tow truck hauled that BMW out of there.

Entrances:  The entrance to Elemental is a little cramped, although the staff are happy to help by holding the door and moving obstacles.

Tables:   The restaurant has both the high tables popular today and regular tables for customers, and they are packed in tightly together.  There was no space behind my chair for others to access the table to our right, and it would have been very challenging for us to be seated at any other table in the restaurant, even though at that time—about 2 p.m.—the restaurant was only half-full.    The tight aisles make the restaurant difficult to navigate for those in wheelchairs.


Restrooms:   The restrooms are located outside the restaurant.  They are actually a set of public restrooms available for shoppers, as well as for restaurant patrons.  I couldn’t get to the doorway closest to them, because I would have had to disrupt other diners and move tables and chairs to get there.  My other option would have been to leave the way we came in and roll around the outside of the restaurant to access the restrooms.  I declined to take the trip, but my beloved pusher checked them out for me and assured me they were wheelchair friendly although located around corners making access even more difficult.

Photos of interior space online:  No.

Photos of entrances online:  No.

Reservations taken:  I’m not sure if they take reservations, but if you can, do call ahead to let them know you are coming in a wheelchair.

What the wheelchair pusher has to say:  There was no available handicapped parking nearby, and it can be a long push from wherever you’re coming.  The doorway was narrow and hard to navigate, seems to have been leftover from an earlier time.  The staff was very helpful, though.  Once inside, we were shown to a table near the door that had room to maneuver in the aisle way so we could get seated;  however, we blocked off the table next to us.  Getting to the restroom would have been impossible without getting nearly everyone in the restaurant to stand up and move for us.  I investigated the restrooms by myself and got through the patrons scooting sideways.  I got to the circuitous hallway to the restroom to discover that the door led to outside and the path to the communal restrooms for University Village.   The food was good, but overall I’d recommend that someone who can walk go in and get take out for you.

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