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Miss Marjorie’s Steel Drum Plantains started off as an appetizer at Donna Moodie’s restaurant, Marjorie. Inspired by Donna’s Jamaican roots, and by her mother’s cooking, these savory snacks developed a cult following at the restaurant. Marjorie Restaurant originally opened in 2003 in Belltown as homage to Marjorie, Donna’s mom and hostess extraordinaire.
Born in Jamaica and raised in Chicago, Donna found her way into her mother’s kitchen at an early age where she quickly gained respect for “scratch” cooking using only the highest quality ingredients, supplied by local merchants and farmers whenever possible. What left the biggest impression wasn’t just the food, but her mother’s gracious hospitality - with the standard of perfection being the comfort and pleasure of those around her. Marjorie delighted in bringing a diverse mix of friends, family and guests together around the table to enjoy delicious food and spirited conversation.
Donna moved to Seattle in 1993 and opened her first restaurant, Marco’s Supperclub, with former husband and business partner. It opened to great acclaim. By 1997, the pair has a second smash hit on their hands with Lush Life, which featured regional Italian cuisine in a sleek, romantic setting. Both restaurants’ globetrotting menus and mix of sophistication and funky charm anticipated important trends in the Seattle dining scene, and their popular success helped revitalize the city’s then derelict and deserted Belltown neighborhood.
In 2003, Moodie branched out on her own, transforming Lush Life into Marjorie, paying tribute to the inspiration for her lifelong affair with hospitality. After enjoying five successful years in Belltown, Marjorie Restaurant relocated to Seattle’s vibrant and eclectic Capitol Hill neighborhood, opening its doors in the spring of 2010.
Over her 20-year career as a restaurateur in Seattle, Donna has always sought to emulate the values Marjorie instilled in her. Today, she continues to see to it that Marjorie’s passion for entertaining informs every detail of the restaurant named lovingly in her honor, including the fan-favorite appetizer of steel drum plantains.
The popularity of the steel drum plantains launched a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2013, which was one piece of the puzzle that helped Donna make them available for retail sale. Another key element was custom packaging.
The plantains are now carried by more than 75 retail shops across the country, from Seattle-area favorites like Metropolitan Market and The London Plane, to select Whole Foods and Dean & Deluca locations. They’re also available on Amazon and you can pick up a couple boxes to go at the restaurant.
Guiding makers through the custom print and packaging process is part of Guided's purpose. Working with Donna on getting Marjorie's Steel Drum Plantains retail-ready resulted in packaging as perfect as the snack. You can read more about that here.
The coolest thing about Miss Marjorie’s Steel Drum Plantains isn’t even the snack itself, and no, it’s not the box (though it is certainly marvelous), it’s what they are allowing Donna to do for the community. Not just a restaurateur, maker, and mother, Donna Moodie is a community builder.
Last month, Donna began a new venture: Kingston 8. Plymouth Housing’s next great project will eventually open at 501 Rainier Avenue South, formerly Linc’s Bait and Tackle. Donna asked herself: why not activate the existing building while the tedious permitting process is underway? So, she transformed it into a retail shop, event space, and gallery. She hopes the concept can be a prototype for other entrepreneurs, creatives, and makers looking for ways to collaborate in unexpected settings.
With Donna’s vision, drive, and maker mindset, it’s no wonder she was appointed to Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkin’s Small Business Advisory Council, served on the Capitol Hill Housing Boards, the CDForum, and received the UW Foster School of Business Client of the Year Award. Donna is also President and CEO of Mint Holdings, a food and design consulting company she created in 2008. We can’t wait to see where Miss Marjorie’s Steel Drum Plantains will take Donna Moodie next.
What is BLOK Biltong? Often compared to jerky, it is anything but. With a little Guided help, this idea turned into a fully developed brand and shipped product in a mere five months.
Grab one of these beautiful notebooks and write down all your inspirations while sipping away at your best home brewed coffee ever.