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Originally published Friday, October 21, 2011 at 5:33 AM

Dining Deal

Loretta's Northwesterner: unfussy setting, affordable prices

Loretta's Northwesterner in South Park offers a setting and food prices from a day gone by.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Loretta's Northwesterner

American

8617 14th Ave. S., Seattle

206-327-9649

Hours: Open 11 a.m.- midnight Monday- Thursday, 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Sunday

Etc: Adults-only establishment with a full bar; street parking; Visa and MasterCard; no obstacles to access

Prices: $-$$

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Loretta's Northwesterner is one of those great finds easily ruined by excess enthusiasm.

Go on too much about the cozy booths, the rustic feel and the inexpensive steak dinners, voice your covetous thoughts about the Airstream trailer clubhouse parked in the back patio, and you'll ruin the chill vibe that makes this adults-only establishment such a pleasurable place to eat and hang out.

The South Park neighborhood needs no introduction to Loretta's: the noisy front door opened to their comings and goings all night, and the carrot-soup special was already sold out when we arrived for dinner at 8 p.m. on a recent Thursday.

We slid into one of the six available booths and, for two hours, yakked, drank, ate burgers, sirloin steak and salmon salad, and received the kind of relaxed service from the barkeep that made us feel like locals instead of interlopers.

The menu: Tavern food, served in portions suitable for average appetites. The sirloin steak, served with fries or stuffed baked potato, was cooked perfectly to our liking, and a great deal at $13. Other offerings include rib-eye steak with baked potato and vegetables ($18), fish and chips ($9), a variety of tasty burgers ($3 for a single veggie or beef burger, $5 for a double), salmon or steak salad ($11) and homemade soup of the day ($3 cup; $5 bowl).

Breakfast, served weekends until 2 p.m., includes eggs ($1), hash browns, bacon, sausage and corned beef (each $2). Also there's corned-beef hash and eggs, and beef and gravy with eggs (each $7).

What to write home about: The sinful baked potato with sour cream, bacon, chives and cheddar cheese. (Comes with the steaks, or available as a side for $5).

What to skip: Sitting by the front door, which banged noisily and rarely closed on its own, creating plenty of drafts.

The setting: A neighborhood bar with loud music and lively patrons. Six booths and bar seating for 10. Outdoor patio with group and solo seating, and an Airstream trailer that serves as part clubhouse, part 1970s time machine.

Summing up: Sirloin steak and baked potato, salmon salad and beef burger came to $32 with tip. It's the drinks that get you.

Susan Kelleher: 206-464-2508 or skelleher@seattletimes.com

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