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UW alum Ken Hughes and the JaK’s Grill community

UW alumni Ken Hughes of JaK's Grill (Harley Soltes)The story of JaK’s Grill is the story of community.

Ken Hughes and his business partner, John, both UW alums and the principal owners of the popular JaK’s Grill family, started the restaurant in 1996 in the Admiral District of West Seattle. They were hands-on from the beginning, bringing in their own equipment and building their own stuff, including the wood benches that are now a staple of the JaK’s experience.

Today, there are three JaK’s Grills: the original in West Seattle—albeit in a new location down the street—and two additional spots in Issaquah and Laurelhurst. Opening in Laurelhurst, with its close proximity to the UW campus, was like coming home for Ken and John. “It’s a nice place to celebrate a victory,” Ken says. “We’ve had some bad years recently, but I see a lot of Cougars buying after the Apple Cup.”

The two Huskies, both economics majors at the UW, wanted to excel at customer service and aimed to become “the Nordstrom of neighborhood steakhouses.” Ken is proud of the restaurant’s local roots and the fact it supports roughly 100 employees who work in the JaK’s community.

“It feels good giving people a place to work, especially at the UW,” he says. “We see a lot of really good young people working their way through college.”

Last year, the JaK’s team opened the Sunset Alehouse in Issaquah that is Husky-themed. It’s not your traditional bar, but a hybrid with “a little pub feel, a little alehouse feel.” So far, the restaurant has given the loyal JaK’s following a place to enjoy in addition to their favorite Grill.

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UW alums open showroom for digital printing shop

UW shirts from Maverick Apparel PrintingA pair of UW alums have opened a downtown Seattle showroom for their custom printing business, Maverick Apparel Printing. Co-founders Mark Pattison and Greg Smith are committed to a fun, hip and “100% customer-centric” experience, and Maverick’s clients speak for themselves—Seattle Art Museum, Cherry Street Coffee and The Triple Door, to name a few.

Pattison played football for the UW and spent several seasons in the NFL with the New Orleans Saints and Oakland Raiders. He launched a few start-ups and still operates The Pattison Group located here in Seattle, a branded merchandising company, before partnering with Smith on the Maverick venture, which utilizes direct-to-garment digital technology.

Smith is the founder and CEO of Urban Visions, a sustainable real estate development company. He has moderated lectures for the University of Washington and holds a certificate in commercial real estate from the UW’s extension program. His work in sustainable living helped put Seattle on the list of top green cities in America.

Read more about the showroom on the Seattle Met blog.

Enjoy this week’s Dawg Treats:

  • A story in the Washington Post explains how colleges can identify depressed students and includes survey results from UW students.
  • The Wall Street Journal interviews UW alum Andrew Okpeaha MacLean about his coming-of-age drama “On the Ice,” which is playing at the Sundance Film Festival.
  • Two UW alums are developing a video game that challenges players to design new ways to fold RNA molecules. Dr. Rhiju Das, a physicist at Stanford, and Adrien Treuille, an assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon, met as postgraduate researchers at the UW, where they were on the team that created Foldit.
  • Get the CliffsNotes for the Cliff Mass Weather Blog.
  • Artist and UW alum David C. Kane was featured in the Artdish blog and highlights his show at Eidelauer Picture Club in Seattle.
  • UW Public Health Professor Michelle Williams won a presidential award for excellence in science mentoring, The White House announced recently. Williams established a program to train students from economically and educationally disadvantaged backgrounds for research and leadership careers in public health.

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