SEQUIM, Wash. — Soup in the Alley, a new restaurant in Sequim, serves one thing:
"Just ramen,” said cook David Rivers.
But that ramen does a lot of work.
“Everything is pay it forward or pay it by donation," Rivers explained. "If you want to pay 20 dollars you can, if you can't afford anything and money is tight you can come here for free, it's totally on us.”
It's free if you need it to be, but plenty of paying customers have been packing the place since it opened in May of 2022, getting a delicious lunch and supporting a good cause.
"All the profit goes to help other people get meals when they need it,” Rivers said.
Anna Potter manages Soup in the Alley and says everyone is excited to have a ramen place in Sequim, especially one that pays it forward. Some customers have dropped one hundred bucks for a bowl.
“I've had too many of them to count, it's been amazing,” Potter said.
David makes the broth from scratch, from organic ingredients — he calls it the backbone of the soup. Then volunteers serve it. Noodles topped with pork or chicken, colorful veggies, and an egg with a perfectly runny yolk. Customers can customize with seaweed and siracha.
A savory bowl of Japanese comfort food nourishes the folks who can afford to pay the eight-dollar suggested price, just like it nourishes the folks who temporarily cannot, like Randy, who came in as a client in need of food and ended up becoming a volunteer. He comes for more than the work and the meals.
"Well because the Lord’s here. I get to help people, it’s a great environment," he said. "The food's good too."
Soup in the Alley is owned by a Sequim church — Calvary Chapel.
“We're trying to just share the gospel and let people know and understand who Jesus is, and we're doing it through ramen!” laughed pastor Hans Bailey.
Non-religious ramen-lovers fear not, Pastor Bailey promises Soup in the Alley is not a preachy place, and all are welcome here.
And it’s clear from the sheer amount of community members coming into this new eatery that the power of a hot bowl of ramen is undeniable.