Arts and Entertainment

Sound Food reunion celebrates a flavorful past

Mardi Ljubich, left, and Ron Irvine look through scrapbooks in the Sound Food kitchen. - Amelia Heagerty/staff photo
Mardi Ljubich, left, and Ron Irvine look through scrapbooks in the Sound Food kitchen.
— image credit: Amelia Heagerty/staff photo

The flavors of the past will mix with the music of today at Sound Food on Sunday, when friends and former employees of the iconic Island eatery get together for a reunion bash and concert.

Islanders are invited to the restaurant for an evening of food, drink, music and memories. Local acts will serenade attendees during the event, and the evening will be topped off with a performance by Scott Cossu, a noted Windham Hill pianist and former Vashon resident.

The concert and celebration are open to all who love Sound Food, said organizers Ron Irvine of Vashon Winery and Mardi Ljubich of Shefidgets Catering.

Ljubich, along with caterer Nadia D’Aoust of Three Olive Catering, breathed new life into the Sound Food space after the renowned establishment closed in 2007. The pair reopened it as a restaurant in December and have worked hard since then to reclaim Sound Food’s place as a dining and entertainment destination. The restaurant is open for dinner four days a week, featuring foods from Ljubich’s catering repertoire.

Sound Food first opened in 1973, and for decades was a cultural institution on the Island — a favorite meeting place and a progressive eatery. It was one of the first health food restaurants, and famous for its tofu scrambles and homemade salad dressings.

“It just feels special — the inside, the wood, the colors and the light that comes through the window,” Irvine said of the restaurant on Vashon Highway at S.W. 204th. “There’s nobody who can step in there and not feel hugged by the past. Even if you weren’t there 40 years ago, the past still has that sense of being immediate.”

Sept. 6’s event is a throwback to the eatery’s earlier days. Ljubich, who began working at the restaurant as a bread slicer when she was 14, will offer up popular items from old Sound Food menus, including French onion soup, clam chowder, hard cider salmon and the famous “supernatural” salad with classic homemade salad dressings. And Vashon Winery plans to release a new wine for the occasion, Reunion Red.

The strains of live music will fill the homey establishment, as Women, Women and Song, an Island group that was often a favorite at Sound Food, and Island musicians Steve Amsden and Dan Brown spice up the night. Acclaimed pianist Cossu will also play a selection of his own compositions, and violinist Jessica Binn will add voice and violin to the evening.

Many former employees of Sound Food will attend — from the man who saw the bread rise in the morning to the sure-footed waiters who brought platters to diners’ tables — as will many “Sound Foodies,” those who loved the eatery.

Local culinary celebrity Bob Long, who began Bob’s Bakery after working as Sound Food’s baker, plans to attend. Island bus driver Larry Flynn, formerly a waiter at Sound Food, will emcee the evening.

The photographs of Island artist Lotus, a founder of Sound Food in the 1970s, will grace the walls of the cozy restaurant.

Jeff Basom — a former Sound Food chef, and now head chef at Bastyr University in Kirkland — will add flavor to the event, as will other former Sound Food staff members, including Leslie Drahos, Bill Freese, Bea Mann, Glynn Palmer, John Pierce, Kathleen Pierce, Patricia Toovey, Diann Williams and George Wright.

Organizers promise the event will be an interesting and tasty jaunt down memory lane, peppered with music, laughter and good food and drink.

“It’s going to be emotionally fun, and there’s going to be a lot of memories,” said Irvine, who offers wine tastings at Sound Food the first Friday of each month. “It’s going to be a celebration of that time for everyone, especially those people who were a part of Sound Food.”


Doors for the reunion open at 5 p.m. and the concert begins at 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 6. Cover charge is $10; tickets are available at Sound Food, Vashon Bookshop, Books by the Way and The Little House. Contact Irvine at or Ljubich at for more information.

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