As the sister restaurant to Island Soul, we bring you the grand premier of Arleana’s. A mixture of French Caribbean soul brings this new Black-owned business to life in the heart of Kirkland, Washington. The owner and creator, Theo “Teddy” Martin, started this business with just a dream and a chance. A chance to be an inspiration to his three children and to young Black entrepreneurs everywhere. With also the dream to make it a reality.
The grand opening of Arleana’s was during this past weekend, April 8th, and it was a huge turnout. Not only did the business have an amazing turnout but they also were able to view a new twist on the traditional French Caribbean style of food. With more personal minuscule dishes, visitors will be able to view more of the details of Martin’s dishes than just an idea. He expressed his favorite item on the menu is the pork chops with an Arleana sour to wash it down. The most difficult item on the menu however, he expressed was the black cod with black lentils, and succotash. Martin also had the opportunity to announce and display his restaurant and some of his dishes with New Day Northwest with help from his head chef, James Gibney. The segment went amazing! I was able to find it online, where their head chef was able to walk through with the reporter and create some of their soon to be signature dishes for a live segment. Not only is this great promotion for the restaurant but we see that the dishes will all be served with a smile but they will have some Soul flavoring added into the mix as well.
Martin expressed that none of this would be possible without his family and God. With the restaurant being named after his mother, he expressed to me when we met for our interview that Sunday morning that your foundation starts at home. That the people within your family, chosen or blood, are your personal backbone when it comes to anything but especially with a business. Which you could absolutely feel when you come into Arleana’s. Not only were the staff welcoming and inviting, but they made sure I knew that they were here to help if I needed anything while I waited for Martin. Martin expressed later on that he tries to be a part of the whole team instead of being in charge because that was what he was used to with Island Soul. Making sure that your everyone is set versus making sure everything is set. Meaning that he would have trust within everyone to have their sections out together before anything else. The atmosphere of the restaurant was incredible! From the entertainment while eating, viewing the chefs prepare each meal from the bar. From the diverse choices from the bar. From the old-school meets new-school R&B melodies that play throughout the restaurant. It’s a place that screams everything Soul!
Martin was able to explain to me why he chose Kirkland instead of someone closer near the Seattle area, mainly because of safety. He expressed that our Downtown Seattle area needs help. That we as a community should be doing more to help make it as it was before. Arleana’s location however is perfect for business! Connected to the apartment complex next door, the restaurant is one of the first you see when pulling over for the complex. It also gives the inclusivity vibe that all are welcome. He was about to give me a tour of the soon-to-be rooftop dining area and his secret room below within the parking garage. Martin has big plans for his business and he made it very clear his goals for the rest of the year will be to continue to expand as much as he can. Meaning he’ll be working towards more locations, hopefully one in Downtown Seattle as well. Martin really stressed that having a location down there would be a wise business decision but that it wouldn’t be the safest or smartest decision given the times that we are living in now. However it’ll still be on the idea board for the location.
With forever being thankful for God and his family as well always, Martin is also thankful for everyone that has helped him, guided him, and prepared him for all of these blessings. Martin was a joy and a wiseful inspirational man to sit down and chat with. Martin’s words of wisdom to young Black people everywhere that are scared to take that leap are “GO FOR IT!” You never know until you try.
Arleana’s Restaurant Instagram
New Day Northwest Arleana’s Segment