Celebrating two years on Capitol Hill, Mamnoon’s Middle Eastern cuisine thrives on a transforming Melrose block

Racha and Wassef (Image: Alex Garland for CHS)

Racha and Wassef (Image: Alex Garland for CHS)

Mamnoon was in no way destined to succeed. Two years ago, CHS asked tech entrepreneur Wassef Haroun if he was sure about his ambitious plans for his first restaurant — a  Middle Eastern venture on Melrose Ave.

Two years later, customers waiting for open tables during a busy Tuesday lunch answered that question (and that was despite a street closure just outside Mamnoon’s door to prepare a gas line for newcomer Stateside).

Even with Mamnoon’s success, Haroun said he and his wife Racha still feel like outsiders among the lifetime restauranteurs that populate the neighborhood. “We’re the black sheep of the restaurant industry,” Haroun said. Continue reading

Blotter | Police looking for pistol-packing trio who pulled two stick-ups in midst of Capitol Hill protests

See something others should know about? Email CHS or call/txt (206) 399-5959. You can view recent CHS Crime coverage here.

  • Gunpoint hold-ups reported: Police are investigating at least two armed street robberies that went down around Capitol Hill just after midnight as Seattle Ferguson protests marched through the area. In the first incident, the victim told police he ran from an armed male who attempted to hold him up near Harvard and Union around 12:20 AM Tuesday. The victim ran three blocks before he was able to contact police who managed to arrive quickly despite the busy night of protests. He described the suspect in the attempted armed hold-up as a black male in his 20s, around 5’5″ with a thin build and wearing a grey hoodie and grey sweatpants.

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Pike/Pine auto row-era home of Value Village makes it over first bump toward landmark protection

Screen Shot 2014-11-18 at 12.24.22 PMWith a boost from a neighborhood community group dedicated to Pike/Pine preservation and development issues, the auto row-era building home to Capitol Hill’s Value Village was deemed worthy of consideration for Seattle landmark protection.

The Seattle Landmarks Board voted last week to move the 1917-built Kelly-Springfield Motor Truck Company building to the next phase in the process. The members of the Ellison family behind Value Village and real estate developer Legacy Commercial are planning a 75-foot tall office building above street-level commercial space that would incorporate elements of the old structure and the neighboring White Motor Company building at the corner in exchange for development incentives in the Pike/Pine Conservation Overlay District. “We are hoping that the site is not determined to be a landmark to provide us the opportunity to realize our vision and the neighborhood’s vision for the block,” a spokesperson for the developer told CHS before last week’s vote. Continue reading

With Ferguson grand jury decision, Capitol Hill ‘Justice for Mike Brown’ rally planned — UPDATE: Protest crosses Hill from downtown to Central District

(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

The crowd assembles early in the evening at Broadway and Pike (Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

A few hundred protesters marched up from downtown and met up with a group rallying at Seattle Central before observing a 4 1/2 minute moment of silence in the street on Broadway Monday night (Image: CHS)

A few hundred protesters marched up from downtown and met up with a group rallying at Seattle Central before observing a 4 1/2 minute moment of silence in the street on Broadway Monday night (Image: CHS)

UPDATE 6:26 PM: As word spread about the grand jury’s decision on no charges in the Michael Brown case, a group of around 400 protesters gathered in Westlake and took to the streets of downtown Seattle. Some reportedly planned to march to rally at Seattle Central’s Broadway plaza. A contingent of Seattle Police accompanied the crowd. There were no reports of arrests during the initial stages of the Monday night protest.

"Another shot of the Ferguson protesters at 20th and Madison" -- @stevepmitchell via Twitter

“Another shot of the Ferguson protesters at 20th and Madison” — @stevepmitchell via Twitter

8:07 PM: A portion of the downtown marchers made their way up Pike to Capitol Hill chanting and blocking the street and intersections as they traveled. Meeting up at Broadway and Pike with a smaller group that had rallied at Seattle Central, the combined crowd observed a moment of silence in memory of Brown before continue to march around Pike/Pine with a contingent of SPD bike officers following and others on patrol to steer cars and buses away from the tie-up. As of 8 PM, there were no reported arrests though people were seen shooting fireworks and taunting police.

The blocks around East Precinct headquarters were blocked off to traffic and the protest marched against the barriers repeatedly but remained mostly peaceful.

There were reports of smaller protests continuing elsewhere in the city including a group of around 10 at 23rd and Union. The large group of protesters on Capitol Hill was last reported heading east on Madison around 17th Ave.

8:52 PM: About 200 protesters made their way to 23rd Ave and Union and on to E Cherry where the group entered the Garfield Community Center and demanded that Seattle Police stationed inside for a community meeting on Ferguson leave the building. The officers reportedly exited without incident per East Precinct radio reports.

9:08 PM: The protest moved on from Garfield and was last reported near 23rd and Yesler headed for Jackson.

10:30 PM: Around 10:15 PM, protestors began entering I-5 from ramps at Madison and Hubbell at one point bringing the northbound lanes to a complete stop. One person was arrested as the freeway was cleared. A crowd of more than 100 was also reported headed east from the freeway up Seneca. There were reports of tagging and property damage to buildings in the area. Police and media at scene are reporting people in the crowd are throwing objects at officers. Police have used flash bangs and pepper spray in attempts to keep protestors off of the freeway and to disperse the crowd. Additional officers from across the city are being brought into the area around East Precinct according to police radio dispatches.

Thanks to Josh Kelety for the video and images above. Here is more coverage of the incidents around I-5 from Casey Jaywork.

10:45 PM: A large group of protesters has returned to Capitol Hill after a spate of property damage on First Hill including a shattered bank window along Madison. There were reports of rocks being thrown at police but we are not aware of any arrests during the Capitol Hill components of the night’s actions.

Police and protesters paused in a prolonged standoff at the barricades in the streets around the East Precinct.

11:26 PM: With activity continuing around 12th and Pike on Capitol Hill, there is word of more protest planned for Tuesday:

In solidarity with the African American community in Ferguson, MO, and to honor the memory of Michael Brown, we have been informed that the Seattle NAACP has called for a rally, tomorrow, Tuesday, November 25, at noon at 23rd & Union in Seattle’s Central District. Following the rally, there will also be a march from 23rd & Union to the Federal Court House.

11:45 PM: Following the long wait at 12th and Pike, several of the officers on bikes exited the area down Pike. The crowd reportedly cheered and many protesters began marching again westbound toward downtown.

3:30 AM: Police say there were five arrests during the protests.

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What’s on Capitol Hill’s Thanksgiving 2014 menus?


Big Mario’s Pilgrim Pie. Sorry. No delivery on Turkey Day.

With Piecora’s shuttered and awaiting demolition, one of the small traditions of Capitol Hill Thanksgiving is gone. Every year, the restaurant opened for a come-all Thanksgiving feast. Don Jensen, executive director at Community Lunch on Capitol Hill, tells CHS that the tradition is still alive with his group and All Pilgrims Church:

I wanted to let you know that Community Lunch on Capitol Hill will be serving a traditional Thanksgiving meal on the 27th at 5pm at All Pilgrims Church, and it is open to EVERYONE! We will have turkey and all the trimmings, and it should be a great meal. I have attached our turkey flier promoting it. All Pilgrims is at Broadway and Republican, entrance on Republican. We will be serving from 5-6pm.

If you’re interested in learning about this and other “feed the hungry” and volunteer opportunities in the area, here’s a roster of local food banks and organizations that are busy this time of year.

Capitol Hill also offers feasts for budgets of mostly every level. Here are some of the special Thanksgiving plans for Capitol Hill food and drink Thursday of the more “last minute” variety. Please let us know about anything we missed.

  • Hopvine: “We are offering a delicious holiday meal this Saturday. Stop in for a whole roasted pig with all the traditional Thanksgiving dishes! Prix Fixe and a la carte. We will also have Sierra Nevada Celebration on cask!” Continue reading

Capitol Hill notes on Seattle’s new $4.8 billion budget: City workers get $15, nonprofit min wage help, design review reform plus more cops, better policing, help for the homeless, CD bike share, and library upgrades

Cash from the Real Estate Excise Tax will go to library upgrades and “Re-Imagined Spaces” across the city — including the Capitol Hill branch (Image: J Brew via Flickr)

The City Council is slated to adopt the city’s 2015-2016 budget on Monday. Earlier this month the council’s budget committee added some spending items to Mayor Ed Murray’s budget before unanimously passing it on to a full council vote, so don’t expect too many tweaks ahead of Monday’s final vote. To continue the theme of the original Murray package, Seattle’s new boom times mean growth not cuts. The council followed suit with most effort in the past few weeks spent on adding line items, not cutting. The council meeting starts at 2 PM.

In all, the council added $8.6 million worth of 2015 spending items onto Murray’s budget. To put that in perspective, the total package tallies more than $4.8 billion. The most notable additions are two items that affect city workers: Accelerate the $15 minimum wage hike to 2015 for all city workers ($810,000 in 2015) and offer paid parental leave for all city workers ($250,000 for 2015).

The council also added $200,000 to hire investigators for the newly created Office of Labor Standards, which will enforce the city’s minimum wage and paid sick time laws. It also ponied up with $1.7 million to help nonprofits comply with the minimum wage law.

The council’s additions also include a $1 million commitment to a proposed regional Transit Orientated Development fund and $50,000 to support reforms to the city’s design review process. Continue reading

Violent gunpoint robbery reported in Volunteer Park — UPDATE

Two people suffered cuts to the head in an armed robbery Sunday night inside Volunteer Park in an incident that may involve a team of criminals responsible for a rash of stick-ups in the area. UPDATE: Police say the robbery and a nearby road rage incident were related and that they were able to get the license plate number of a getaway car believed to be linked to other area robberies.

According to police radio broadcasts, the male and female victims reported they were robbed at gunpoint around 7 PM near the Seattle Asian Art Museum in Volunteer Park. Both victims reportedly suffered head lacerations in the robbery and were being treated by Seattle Fire at a location near the park.

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Only four firms left in bid to build Capitol Hill Station housing+retail sites

And then there were four. Following one bidder’s public drop from the running to develop the Capitol Hill Station housing and commercial sites, CHS has learned five other firms have also pulled out of the project. The Wolff Company decided not to submit a final proposal earlier this month, citing uncertainty around ownership and retail constraints leaving just four developers in the running to build all or part of the 100,000 square feet “transit oriented development” that will include housing, commercial, and a community spaces:

Capitol Hill Housing – Site B North

Gerding Edlen – Master developer for all sites

Jonathan Rose Companies/Capitol Hill Housing – Master developer for all sites

Lowe Enterprises – Sites A, B-South, and C

Dropped out of the race are The Wolff Company which had been pondering joining the competition for Site A, MacFarlane Partners which was making plans around a master developer role, Lennar Multifamily which dropped from Site B-South and Site C competition, Belwether Housing which cleared out of the Site B-North run, and Security Properties which dropped its bid for Site A.

The list of remaining bidders was the second part of CHS’s request to Sound Transit to obtain copies of the firm’s actual proposals. Sound Transit eventually denied the request. In an email to CHS, Sound Transit’s senior legal counsel Loren Armstrong explained why the proposals are exempt from public disclosure.

“This procurement is slightly different from a typical request for proposals,” she said. “Specifically, the submission and evaluation of proposals in this procurement is the first step in a process that for each parcel will culminate with the negotiation and execution of a unique purchase and sale agreement, with terms that are not yet defined.”

Sound Transit is expected to pick its developer(s) by January, at which time we should have some fresh project renderings in addition to details on how the project will take shape. Appraisals have placed the value of the Sound Transit properties at a combined $25 million. Continue reading

Pikes/Pines | Cosmopolitan mushrooms on Capitol Hill


Mushrooms found in Interlaken Park. Credit: Brendan McGarry

When we think about nature in Capitol Hill, I bet you only certain organisms come to mind. On the larger end of the taxonomic organization, main branches house groups we call kingdoms. Plantae and Animalia are obvious staples for they’re the easiest to comprehend and are encountered when stepping out our front door. No matter how urban it may seem, even deepest Broadway has much plant and animal life. However, there’s an entire common kingdom that doesn’t require a microscope or advanced knowledge to appreciate; fungi.

The main part of the Fungal Kingdom we notice are mushrooms, but what exactly is a mushroom? In the not too distant past, taxonomists still considered mushrooms odd plants, but they are actually the reproductive arm of a variety of fungi. Mushrooms protrude from the ground, leaf litter, dung, or appear on logs, trees, and unfortunately sometimes our homes, with the hope of spreading of their spores about. Spores are dense clusters of cells that eventually spawn more fungi. Most of a fungus we never notice because these non-reproductive mycelium (as they’re called) stretch like roots in mostly dark, unseen places.

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One year ago this week on Capitol Hill


(Image: Library of Congress)

Here are the top CHS posts from this week in 2013:

  1. Police shoot and kill armed suspect in 23rd/John standoff
  2. E Pike ch-ch-changes: Super Genius move, Boom goes Blue C, Comet overhaul, 12th/Pike demo
  3. National beer chain makes debut on Capitol Hill
  4. A visit to Capitol Hill, November 1851
  5. Dinette decides it’s ready for new home — Revolver next on E Olive Way

Seattle Fire takes care of Belmont Ave basement kitchen fire — UPDATE: Another Sunday morning fire

The fire marshal was called to investigate a small kitchen fire in a Belmont Ave apartment building that drew a large Seattle Fire response early Sunday. There were no reported injuries.

Firefighters were called to the 1600 block Belmont Ave structure just after 3 AM to a report of a “rubbish fire” and a burning pan in the three-story building’s basement. The small fire was under control after 15 minutes. A person found in the basement level was able to walk out during the response.

We do not yet have details on any damage to the 1914-built, 33-unit apartments. The fire marshal was called to the scene to investigate the blaze.

UPDATE 11:22 AM: 18th/Madison fire
IMG_6240SFD’s Fire Station 25 had a busy Sunday, battling a second apartment fire in the area after smoke was reported billowing from the second floor of the Ponderosa Apartments, a Capitol Hill Housing building on 18th Ave at Madison.

Firefighters had the blaze extinguished within 20 minutes of arriving at the fire first reported just before 11 AM.

The fire was contained to one second-floor unit but SFD was checking other units for possible damage from the flames and the water. The Red Cross was called to assist a male resident whose unit was damaged in the incident.

The fire marshal was called to investigate. There were no serious injuries reported.

CHS Crow | Lily, Kevin, and D-Nice — ‘Good things come and go’

The last call at the Lobby Bar‘s 916 E Pike incarnation will happen this weekend. Swooping in for the final Thursday at the original space of this “bastion of LGBTQ nightlife” in Pike/Pine, the CHS Crow shared bittersweet moments with a Seattle drag star with words of caution and of hope, a Movember’d IT pro with fond Lobby memories and a student and sound engineer with words about making the most. Cheers friends ~


Who are you?2014.11 CHS Crow portrait, Lily -- by Jacob Olsn
My name is Lily Armani. I’m a female impersonator. I’m also a stand-up comic. And I’ve been here with The Lobby for five years now. We started with RuPaul’s Drag Race: Season 2, and I’ve been co-hosting with Glamazonia, my life partner, ever since then.

We’ve been together almost nine years, and we’ve hosted every single season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, RuPaul’s Drag U. All the things nobody watched, we were hosting.

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CHS Pics | This week in Capitol Hill pictures

The CHS Flickr Pool contains more than 18,000 19,000 20,000 21,000  22,000 23,000 24,000 photographs -— most of Capitol Hill images, many glorious, some technically amazing. The pool is a mix of contributions from Capitol Hill — and nearby — shutterbugs. Interested in being part of it? If we like your photo and it helps us tell the story, we may feature it on CHS so please include your name and/or a link to your website so we can properly credit you. Interested in working as a paid CHS contributor for scheduled assignments? Drop us a line –- our roster is full for general assignments but pitch us on an idea.

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