Black History Month: Communion

In celebration of Black History Month, we are hosting a series of profiles and stories to amplify and honor people, businesses, organizations, and events connected to the history of Seattle’s Black community.

Chef Kristi Brown rose to culinary fame in the area with her “Seattle Soul” food. She defines the cuisine as “rooted in tradition with innovations based on experiences and influences from Seattle’s lush cultural landscape.” A graduate of Seattle Culinary Academy, Brown started the catering business and culinary brand That Brown Girl Cooks! in 1996. In December 2020, she opened her first brick and mortar location, Communion Restaurant & Bar, at the corner of 24th and Union in the Central District.

“I’m a brown girl too, but I can’t cook like that. It was toolicious!

-Allynn Ruth, Department of Neighborhoods Project Manager

When Brown grew up in the Central District it was about 70 percent Black and was an area of the city that embraced and reflected Black entrepreneurship. Today, after years of gentrification and displacement, the neighborhood is around 75 percent white. In recent years, there has been a community push to honor and preserve the Black cultural legacy of the area. When Brown received the invitation to open her first restaurant in the Liberty Bank Building, she knew it was an important honor.

The first thing you see when entering Communion is the statement “I Am Home” on the foyer floor. In an interview with Cuisine Noir Magazine, Brown explained the declaration was intended to “tie in with the stance we are taking by being here. That we are, not we will, or we were. It’s really about being present.”

Brown’s vision for Communion parallels the word’s definition; the sharing or exchanging of intimate thoughts and feelings, especially when the exchange is on a mental or spiritual level. It is a place where people from different cultures and backgrounds can share space and break bread together.

Communion is currently open for take-out orders and reservation seating. View their menu or order online at www.communionseattle.com

This Black History Month profile was recommended by Seattle Department of Neighborhoods Project Manager, Allynn Ruth.