Gaelyn and Theo Martin, Island Soul Rum Bar & Soul Shack

If rib oxtail with sweet plantains and whole snapper with collard greens get your mouth watering, then Island Soul Rum Bar & Soul Shack is the place for you. A family-owned business for 15 years and a fixture in Seattle’s Columbia City since 2007, Island Soul has food that might be best described as a fusion of native Caribbean foods with traditional soul food from the Louisiana bayou. Although, some just describe it as awesome.

Island Soul owners Gaelyn and Theo Martin were out of the country when they learned that Seattle was about to close all restaurants due to the virus. They cut their vacation short and caught a flight home immediately. Just as fast, delivery and takeout services became the only options available to restaurants, services Island Soul, unfortunately, wasn’t set up for. It was a steep learning curve but one they knew they had to climb quickly if they wanted to keep the restaurant open. They adapted, and Island Soul was able to serve its hungry customer base with just a 10% reduction in staff.

Having been raised in families that fed the homeless on a regular basis, Gaelyn and Theo know the importance of giving back. So when they learned about the Pass It On Project, they jumped at the opportunity. The Rainier Valley Food Bank is right down the street, and Gaelyn and Theo are giving the people who work there free meals from Island Soul. Columbia Bank is picking up the tab.

Gaelyn and Theo know that the workers who serve the hungry need as much love and support as the people they serve the food to. So, they will make sure those tireless frontline workers get gumbo. And jerk chicken. And the gratitude they so richly deserve.