When Talia Sorinsin-Allen and her eldest daughter, Melissa Sorinsin, were looking for a place to have lunch in Bellingham, they faced a familiar problem.
“It’s really, really hard for our family to be able to go to restaurants,” Sorinsin-Allen says, explaining that her family has dietary restrictions, especially pertaining to dairy. “[Allergens are] in the sauces, in the breads, and those things are not always labeled.”
While driving by the now-closed vegan restaurant, Quantum Leaf, the two saw a “For Lease” sign in the window.
“Within a month, we had everything signed and done,” says Sorinsin-Allen. The mother-daughter team opened The Fat Beet, their vegan and gluten-free-forward restaurant, in the Quantum Leaf space in April 2023. “It’s such an important niche in our community, we didn’t want to give that up.”
Photo by Cocoa Laney
“Me and my mom have always dreamed about owning a business of some sort,” adds Sorinsin. “Mom’s definitely the cook here. She’s got all the creative empowerment in the kitchen, and then I get to do all the books and the paperwork and business licensing, and it makes a well-rounded team.”
The restaurant isn’t just a mother-daughter venture— the whole family chips in. Middle child Tasha puts in a lot of work in the kitchen, and Sorinsin-Allen’s wife, Cait Sorinsin-Allen, handles The Fat Beet’s social media. Along with Melissa’s partner, Tanner Like, these family members form the backbone of the business, providing both labor and creativity.
The Fat Beet family loves to connect with customers by including them in their taste-testing. I was given that treatment myself with the first batch of Sorinsin-Allen’s new twice-baked potato recipe (it was absolutely delicious, though everyone agreed it needed chives).
After my tasty trial potato, I ordered the Mac ‘n Cheeze ($6) to get started. Super creamy vegan cheeze sauce and gluten-free noodles made up this craveable, comforting side. I was sipping on the Chai Spiced Mule mocktail ($9), an iced chai, lemon, and ginger beer beverage that was big and tasty enough to accompany my whole meal.
Photograph by Cocoa Laney
Beets make appearances all over the menu, and with my Beet Bowl ($16) they came in two fashions– marinated and pickled on the side in the Beet Kraut! The bowl also featured fresh avocado, kimchi, rice, nori seaweed, and a spicy secret sauce. Altogether it was a delicious, filling, and healthy meal.
Photograph by Cocoa Laney
Of course, I couldn’t resist a dessert! The Fat Beet serves vegan ice cream made by local business Alchemy Creamery. I got to try not only the indulgent Petite Sundae ($6), which was a classic delight of vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, strawberries, and walnuts, but also a couple spoonfuls of the special beet ice cream made just for The Fat Beet. The earthy flavor of beets complimented with candied lemon is a unique sweet treat!
Their homestyle food and cozy space are welcoming, and The Fat Beet family hopes that the community will come to see their restaurant as a joyful gathering space. Now that they’re getting into the swing of running a restaurant, they hope to have more events. Currently, they have Game Nights on Friday, where customers can order a shareable plate and a dessert for $15 and play some of the games they have on hand.
“Everyone’s welcome, we’re an inclusive restaurant for all people,” says Sorinsin-Allen. “We are a vegan restaurant, but [even for] people who aren’t vegan. We want to make really good food and give choices to people.” 1149 N. State St., Bellingham, 360.684.0283, thefatbeet.com