Sisters Laurel and Leslie Coaston

The Kingfish Yarn

Southern cooking is a testament to both our past and present. Reunions, holidays, and other special occasions are times when the menu is just as important as the guest list. With that in mind, during the spring of 1997, we opened The Kingfish Café—a tribute to our family and the food we grew up on.

Our mother, Geraldine, has always had a passion for food and family. To this day, she bakes our sweet potato pies, and has handed down her coveted corn bread muffins recipe. Our love for food and tradition began early while spending countless evening is the kitchens of our mother and Aunt Fannie.

Our father, Louis, was born in Selma, Alabama during the Great Depression. He taught us to never give up on the things that we want, and it is with this upbringing that we stay true to our inspirations, and our visions.

We were born and raised in Seattle, and attended Garfield High School and The University of Washington. Prior to opening the restaurant, we spent five years researching and developing recipes. We traveled to different cities across the country and met with restaurant owners, chefs, and our family members. We returned home enthusiastic, enriched, and determined to fulfill our dream.

Because the inspiration began with family and food, it was only fitting that we honored the memory of our beginnings. Each photograph that adorns our walls is a family member; from our great, great aunt Mary Laura Josephine, born a slave in 1850, to our third cousin, poet, Langston Hughes.

The restaurant name comes from George “Kingfish” Stevens, a character on the 1950’s Television show Amos ‘n Andy; his business ventures were many, and often chaotic, but always comical. Like “Kingfish”, we encountered a myriad of challenges on our journey, but the largest was our lack of restaurant experience and formal culinary training.

Because of the way our parents raised us, we understood that the idea, quite simply, was not enough, and our lack of experience, coupled with having very little money, made the inception of our dream difficult. However, persistence, faith, and the belief that Seattle would embrace our concept are what made us finally realize our dream.

Many of our recipes are foods that we were raised on, while others were created under the direction of our chef, Kenyetta Carter, and our amazing staff. Soulfully cooked food is richly flavored, passed down from generation to generation, and filled with tradition and history. We are firm believers in simple pleasures, and we are delighted to share our version of Southern hospitality with you.

We thank everyone who has graced our tables and shared pieces of themselves. It is a pleasure to share a little bit of home with you.

Red beans and ricefully yours,
Laurel & Leslie Coaston