Capitol Hill food+drink | Vaca Loca hopes crazy love for sandwiches enough for long stay in Broadway Alley

11156345_1422390878069266_2237833160372104042_nThe recent history of Broadway Alley’s Suite 14 is painful for you, we know. One after the other, affordable, Latin American-flavored restaurants have come to the space, won your heart, and, then, shuttered. Count the ways: Villa Escondida (2014), Torteria Barriga Llena (2013), Guanaco’s Tacos Pupuseria (2010).

We’re not going to make any promises that first-time restaurateur Daniel Rosero can’t keep but if his newly opened Vaca Loca is going to make it, he knows what will make the little place in the back of the Broadway Alley famous.

“Sandwiches,” he said. “$8.50. And delicious.”

Knowing what on your menu you’ll live and die by is likely an important element to success in a space tucked away inside the eclectic Broadway Alley. Rosero only has to look upstairs for an example of success. Tacos Chukis has survived — and expanded — inside Broadway Alley powered in most part by doing one thing really well. Continue reading

With a stop at Charlie’s, SPD rolls out Safe Place anti-hate crime program

LGBTQ Liaison Officer Jim Ritter was on Broadway Tuesday afternoon to help Charlie’s on Broadway owner Ken Bauer affix his new Safe Place program sticker to the front door of the longtime Capitol Hill restaurant.

Ritter said Charlie’s was one of 50 Capitol Hill businesses to sign up for the new program designed to raise awareness of anti-LGBTQ hate crime — and give victims places to turn to if they find themselves feeling threatened. CHS wrote last week about the new program and the continued rise of bias crime totals that SPD officials say is a product of better tools, procedures, and reporting.

SPD has also launched which is designed as a portal with information about bias crimes and prevention along with tools to help victims report incidents.

To be part of the program, owners like Bauer must pledge to prepare their businesses as safe harbors for victims and train employees:

By signing this commitment pledge I agree to use these decals/signs for their intended purpose by posting them on my premise. I further agree to instruct my organization’s employees to assist the victims and/or witnesses to anti-LGBTQ crimes by calling the police on their behalf and allowing them to remain on my premise until police arrive.

You can sign up to get the decals here. There are three versions of the rainbow badge you can choose from.



First look: inside Capitol Hill Station

(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

With a message one Sound Transit official was so proud of he repeated it twice, King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray lead a media tour Tuesday morning of the “ahead of schedule and under budget” U-Link subway line’s Capitol Hill Station.

“When U-Link opens early next year it will transform how people get around this city,” Constantine said before getting to the heart of the matter — a public push to pass the state transportation budget in Olympia including a fully-funded Sound Transit 3 package.

Mayor Murray echoed the call to Olympia before heading underground below Broadway. “Tens of thousands of people will use this as a way to commute to work,” Murray said, “to enjoy life when they’re not working. It’s going to make a difference.”

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Tuesday’s tour was the first public opportunity to see inside the $110 million station that stretches from John to Denny below two acres of Broadway just northwest of Cal Anderson Park. Later this summer, Sound Transit says it will begin “pre-revenue testing” on the twin tracks between downtown and Montlake via Capitol Hill. Starting around August, every train will continue from Westlake tunnel to put the system fully through its paces. Passengers, of course, will need to get off the train before it continues all the way to UW station.
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Upgrades planned for Capitol Hill’s densely packed Tashkent Park

Workers take a break from fiber installation at a new apartment building built next to the park (Images: CHS)

Workers take a break from fiber installation at a new apartment building built next to the park (Images: CHS)

IMG_5791Part of some of the most densely packed blocks in the Pacific Northwest, Capitol Hill’s pockets of public open space play many roles and give us all a little breathing room when we need it.

Tashkent Park on Boylston between Republican and Mercer just a few blocks below Broadway is more tightly packed than most. Built in the late 1980s and named in tribute to Seattle’s Uzbekistani sister city, the park sits near thousands of neighbors and is ready for a major refresh.

Thursday night, you’re invited to be part of the planning for a new project hoped to begin construction this August:

Tashkent Park Improvements
Seattle Parks and Recreation invites the community to a public meeting for the Tashkent Park improvements. This is an opportunity to learn about the proposed new landscaping and small plaza. The Sr. Landscape Architect from Seattle Parks will present the proposed plan, answer questions and gather community feedback.

Seattle Parks is applying for funding through the Community Development Block Grant and anticipates construction to begin in August 2015.

Thursday, May 28, 2015
6:30 – 7:45 p.m.
Capitol Hill Branch
425 Harvard Ave. E

IMG_5808“Our main goal for this project is to improve the landscaping with more shade tolerant plants and make the park plaza ADA accessible,” a Seattle Parks rep tells CHS. Continue reading

Rancho Bravo ready to shift Pike/Pine’s only drive-thru into action


(Images: CHS)

(Images: CHS)

As a plan to create a pedestrian only area in Pike/Pine’s nightlife zone moves forward, an equally audacious machination in an entirely different gear is also being readied for the two-block radius.

Rancho Bravo’s drive-thru is a “go.”

“I want to make sure the pedestrians and people in the cars are safe,” Rancho’s Freddy Rivas tells CHS.

Sometime likely in June, the not-so-new feature at the six-year-old Mexican joint will swing back into action. The signs are being painted, the menu boards and ordering intercom box have been in place all along.

The drive-thru is likely to instantly become a nightlife magnet on scale with the ultimately doomed Broadway Jack in the Box…

The drive-thru is likely to instantly become a nightlife magnet on scale with the ultimately doomed Broadway Jack in the Box which sometimes required SPD traffic control at the height of its weekend business hours. If Mix were rapping in the early 2000s, he might have made a different choice. Meanwhile, Capitol Hill, like any good American neighborhood, has a good history of food and cars intertwined.

Now, Rancho will suddenly become the only operating drive-thru restaurant in Seattle’s core. The Pike/Pine scene already attracts plenty of cruisers despite a slow go on clogged Friday and Saturday night roads. Expect a scene.

“First, we have to have enough people,” Rivas said of the logistics of opening what he believes will be a new feature that will significantly increase sales volumes at the restaurant. “We are ramping up.” Continue reading

CHS Pics | ‘Thank you for choosing Seattle’ — Eritreans mark independence in annual Capitol Hill celebration

Many of the approximately 39,000 East Africans who call Seattle home were in Volunteer Park Sunday to celebrate Eritrean Independence Day.

On May 24, 1991, “Eritrean People’s Liberation Front forces moved into the capital Asmara, reinstating independence, following a 30-year-long battle against the Ethiopian military regime,” Wikipedia sums it up in what seems to be a massive simplification. Continue reading

Broadway Shoe Repair cobbler Mitch Caddy remembered

Customers and friends at Broadway Shoe Repair are remembering cobbler Mitch Caddy.

A sign posted at the busy shop inside the Broadway Market shopping center announced Caddy’s passing. The West Seattle resident was 61.

Caddy worked with soles — and more than a few heels — on Broadway for 24 years. According to his obituary, he was a musician whose band once opened for Tower of Power and Merilee Rush. “He was a Cobbler who could fix ANYTHING leather,” the tribute notes. CHS can attest — our ball glove got a strap repair courtesy Caddy nearly 10 years ago. It’s held up just fine even if the cobbler didn’t quite match the leathers.

According to the sign posted at the shop, there will be no repairs on Thursday, May 28th so staff can attend services for Caddy. “He loved his Capitol Hill family and we sure do miss his kind and gentle spirit,” the sign posted at Broadway Shoe Repair reads.



Thanks to Stacy for letting CHS know.

Capitol Hill Community Council | Reclaiming Power (and creating a Pike/Pine pedestrian zone)

Zachary Pullin, Vice President of the Capitol Hill Community Council, contributes to CHS about community civics and politics on a monthly basis.

Each week, my partner and I have my sister over for dinner. Before she leaves for the drive home, I remind her to be safe, walk with awareness, and text me immediately when she’s home. She’s a smart woman and I have faith she’d fight against violence. So, I was shocked at my becoming numb that foggy, winter morning when someone stole my power.

I did not plan to tell anyone about the sexual assault he inflicted on me three months ago. I self-prescribed a daily treatment of denial and suppression nurtured by a tenacious abundance of sadness, shame, and frustration. Violence and oppression separate us from our self, our bodies, and our communities.

I became a refugee from my own body.

Just three weeks after the assault, a mentor asked me if I sought power, if people like me should want power. I shuddered because, to me, power had become a swear word.  “Power” – much like the words “God,” “Love,” and “Progressive” — needs a reset to eliminate disparate, often conflicting, definitions that arise from deeply held beliefs about their meanings.

The Capitol Hill Community Council’s own history provides examples of power being used to actively lobby against a gay community center in the 1970s to prevent “perverts” and people of that “lifestyle” from ruining the neighborhood, or earlier neighborhood group iterations as active proponents of redlining. Negative illustrations and exercises of power in government, business, and social settings certainly repel me as it does so many progressive Seattleites. Continue reading

SPD makes arrest after victims jumped, robbed in Broadway/Pike parking lot

An 18-year-old was taken into custody early Sunday morning in another last-call street robbery in Pike/Pine.

According to police, a group of male suspects jumped the victims in the parking lot above the Harvard Market QFC just before 2 AM. A victim told police he was punched in the face and had his wallet stolen by a group of five to six males. CHS does not have description information for the suspects though one was reportedly wearing a white Seahawks jersey and had long hair.

As police fanned out in the area, a group was contacted on Harvard between Pike and Pine, according to East Precinct radio. The suspect was identified and taken into custody. He is jailed for investigation of robbery.

The victims were treated for their injuries by Seattle Fire. The victim’s wallet was not recovered.

During the search for the suspects, police received reports of a single gunshot heard by several witnesses on the north end of Cal Anderson Park. No damage was reported and police did not find a disturbance in the area.

Sunday’s arrest follows a small burst of street robbery activity this week on Capitol Hill including an incident early Saturday morning near Summit and Howell in which the suspect opened fire, hitting a victim who was trying to get his phone back after being robbed and, police say, also striking one of his accomplices.

Responding to concerns from area businesses, SPD has rolled out Pike/Pine emphasis patrols on Friday and Saturday nights to help deal with the swell of people who come to take part in the neighborhood’s booming nightlife scene.

Here is the preliminary report from SPD on Sunday morning’s arrest:

Officers arrested a suspect in a strong-arm robbery on Capitol Hill early Sunday morning.

Police were alerted to the robbery that happened in a parking lot near Broadway and Pike St shortly before 2 AM. The roughed up victims told officers several men began accosting them trying to demand their wallets. When the victims balked, the attackers summoned help and an additional group of suspects joined the fray punching the victims and eventually stealing a wallet from one of them.

With patrol officers and nightlife emphasis foot-beat officers in the area gang detectives quickly located a possible suspect seen running from the direction of the crime. The detectives arrested the 18-year-old man after a victim confirmed him as a participant in the robbery. Officers later booked him into King County Jail on investigation of robbery.

CHS Community Post | Vivace’s David Schomer on coffee art — and affordability

Vivace founder David Schomer sent this essay to CHS. It’s a meditation on the art of coffee — with a twist.

Macchiato for You?
By David Schomer

When you order I am listening, intently. Is this a time for friendly banter or a little peace and quiet for you?…after all maybe you have not had coffee yet. Is there a special request like not too hot or no foam? And no one wants to be chatted up before coffee so I am very attuned to your mood. For macchiato I grab a small porcelain cup and fill 1/3 with hot water.

Next I am turning on the grinder and getting a look at the consistency of the grind, is it cakey? Do I have a little cling going on? The grinder goes for about 11 seconds to produce 20g of fresh powder, and during that time I grab the .33 L pitcher and put about 100ml of fresh milk into it.

I grab the porta-filter from the machine and give the coffee basket a quick wipe with a cotton rag on the way to the grinder, dose the coffee into it, and distribute the lumps and channels out of the fluff before packing firmly. The texture of the ground coffee is a sticky powder with subtle lumps and channels in it. To get a good shot it is quickly massaged and measured. Then I pack it with 30 pounds pressure and a nice flourish of the tamper. Pack, tap, pack…

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