Grandfather of Capitol Hill Thai, Ayutthaya celebrates 30 year on E Pike

Owner Pai Boon and AJ at Ayutthaya (Image: Grace Qian)

Owner Pai Boon and AJ at Ayutthaya (Image: Grace Qian)

02By Grace Qian — UW News Lab/Special for CHS

Ayutthaya, one of the first Thai restaurants ever on Capitol Hill, is preparing to celebrate a milestone 30th birthday this year.

Pai Boon, the current owner of Ayutthaya and Bangkok native, attributes the restaurant’s popularity to its location and its early start on Thai cuisine in Seattle in the 1980s.

“When we opened, there were not that many Thai restaurants and the people at that time didn’t know about Thai food,” said Boon. “From then on to now, a lot of people know about Thai food.”

Named after an ancient Siamese kingdom, the E Pike at Harvard restaurant has been around long enough to see a robust dining district grow up around it. Continue reading

Sweet and sour success: Hill cocktail entrepreneur brings The Shrubbery drinking vinegars to market

We know. You were mixing shrub cocktails before they were cool. But the rest of us might have something to learn from one of the newest vendors joining Broadway’s farmers market.

“This is my neighborhood market. This is my business,” Capitol Hill drinking vinegar entrepreneur Rebecca SerVoss proudly tells CHS.

Her months-old business The Shrubbery produces small bottles of the flavorful mixers designed to add a sweet and sour punch to, well, your boozy punch. And more.

“The shrub provides multiple elements of a cocktail,” SerVoss said. “It lets you add additional flavors and play with wacky vinegars.”

SerVoss launched her business after getting spun out of the corporate world. “I’ve been making shrubs for my own uses for two and a half years now. Then I lost my corporate job,” she said.

Her response was to refine her recipes and start experimenting. “I get to be a nerd about my vinegar,” she said.

In addition to the farmers market, the Capitol Hill resident has found space on the shelf at E Pine’s Sugarpill apothecary and will also have one of her shrubs again featured in a cocktail at Broadway’s Witness when the spring menu rolls back around.

Her target market includes expert craft cocktailers who know their shrubs — “boozehounds totally know what I’m doing,” she says — and cooks looking for unusual new flavors for their sauces. Shrubs are, you’re probably not surprised, a popular trend as craft cocktail pros look for new ways to create old flavors. The name, by the way, doesn’t refer to botanicals or herbs but to the Arabic word sharāb — “to drink.”

SerVoss is also enjoying introducing those new to shrubs to the flavors she has concocted and is selling by the bottle every three weeks at the Broadway Farmers Market.

The Shrubbery will be in place this Sunday, March 1st. Along with some of her standard flavorings, SerVoss says to make sure to try the early rhubarb and pear and honey shrubs. The latter goes perfectly with gin, SerVoss said she’ll tell the newbies who stop by this weekend.

“People who need education — they’re a whole other level of fun for me.”

You can learn more about The Shrubbery here.

East Precinct meeting talks pot, reform, but mostly violent crime in the CD with City Attorney and SPD brass

Thursday night, Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes and East Precinct commander Captain Pierre Davis met with community members in a packed Seattle University room to talk about updates on precinct crime and how SPD and the attorney’s office can better serve residents.

Many of those in attendance who spoke vented their frustration and concerns with both the nuisance of day to day criminal activity and more serious violence around Capitol Hill and the Central District.

“Cops can’t do everything,” Holmes told the crowd. “if there are building code violations, if there is something that SDOT can do… that [collaboration between departments] is something that my office is really good at helping pull in.” He added that law enforcement is not always the solution. “It could be civil, it could be regulatory.”

Violent crime, particularly in the Central District, was on most attendees’ minds, particularly the intersection of 23rd and Union, which has recently seen numerous instances of gunfire.

“It’s not about gentrification, it’s not about any of that shit. It’s about getting gangs off the streets … you can actually time it [when gun shots occur],” said one attendee.

Some speakers blamed the Midtown Center property at 23rd and Union for the criminal activity. One speaker called out property owner Tom Bangasser — who was present at the meeting — for not selling the property to developers fast enough because he was waiting as the value rises. Continue reading

Really good Garfield High boys basketball team faces really big challenge

(Images and video: Proof is N the Play)

As the pain of this year’s Super Bowl fades, here’s a chance to revive your Central Seattle sports spirit with some post-season basketball excitement from the Central District’s high school team.

The Garfield High School boys basketball team is really good — like top three teams in the state good. However, the team’s reclassification this year into the 3A division puts Garfield on track to face top ranked Rainier Beach in next month’s state tournament.

Last year, the Bulldogs won the state championship in their 4A division. Remarkably, the team managed to go undefeated in this year’s regular season with an almost entirely new lineup. The team’s final regular season win earlier this month briefly put Garfield in USA Today’s Super 25 national high school basketball rankings. Continue reading

‘A short path to more affordable housing,’ Seattle finalizing plan for homeless encampments

This map shows where in the city the encampments could be allowed. Amendments to be discussed next week could change some of the restrictions (Image:

This map shows where in the city the encampments could be allowed. Amendments to be discussed next week could change some of the restrictions (Image:

A plan that would regulate tent encampments in Seattle in a program creating space for 300 homeless residents received lots of support and lots of suggestions for fine tuning during a public hearing on the legislation Thursday at City Hall. Many of the speakers had first-hand experience with living in Seattle without a home.

“We know that homeless people are turned away each night because the shelters are full,” Real Change vendor Willie Jones said during the public comment period on the legislation. “We know because it has happened to each of us.”

The plan championed by Mayor Ed Murray’s office would change Seattle law to allow three homeless encampments on city or private land in non-residential areas. Many speakers Thursday night spoke out about the “red-lining” in the bill that would restrict the camps from the city’s residential areas. An amendment from Council member Kshama Sawant to be discussed at the next committee meeting on the legislation seeks to address the issue.

onc15-chartIn the meantime, churches would be allowed to continue to offer space to encampments like Tent City’s stays at St. Mark’s or St. Joseph’s on Capitol Hill.

The most significant tent encampments in Seattle have been the Nickelsville projects that have moved around the city as land was available for the facilities. At one point in 2013, there were three different Nickelsville camps in the Central District. Some of those locations could again be under consideration under the new plan but city planners haven’t yet publicly discussed proposals for the dozen or so sites that are expected to be under consideration before choosing the final three.

Planning and land use committee chair Mike O’Brien tells CHS the bill is lined up for a full council vote on March 9th which would mean the first camps under the regulations could be open by late summer or early fall.

In the most recent “One Night Count” of homeless people sleeping on the streets of King County, volunteers tallied 3,772 people sleeping outside.

The city is emphasizing the “transitional” nature of the camps.

“It’s not a permanent solution,” O’Brien told CHS before Thursday night’s hearing. “It’s a step along the path and we have to make sure it’s a short path to more affordable housing.”

UPDATE: The Daily Journal of Commerce reports on one new development that should also help planned for 7th and Cherry:

Plymouth Housing Group will start construction in January on 83 apartments for formerly homeless people on First Hill, near an area under Interstate 5 where people now sleep at night.



Smash Putt a ‘go’ at 23rd and Union

10387630_362316220623926_6016634163602990726_nA community plan to buy the property? Those involved say it’s a long shot while simpler changes like better lighting and more business activity have helped.

And Smash Putt mini-golf themed madhouse bar? That’s in the hole:

Limited Engagement Runs March 20th – July
Weekend evenings & Nights, 21+ with ID
1110 23rd Avenue (23rd & union st), Seattle for tickets ($10–20) and times
Smash Putt! Mega Miniature Golf Apocalypse returns to Seattle for an epic throwdown. Presenting devious devices with wicked robotic brains engineered by industrial-artists and hackers. Putt-putt like you’ve never played it, in a pop-up nightclub setting like Seattle‘s never seen. Inventive, devious, and full of surprises.
Enjoy ingenious fun with an earnest low brow sensibility. Launch and load cannons, survive an earth- quake, challenge a poppin’ lowrider, dodge real lasers, and frustrate your friends with dynamic, destruc- tive games galore. Put your balls on the line for an experience you won’t forget!
Starting March 20th, a limited engagement of mechanized mayhem comes to Seattle‘s Central District. This unique grown-up playground is the perfect place for a date night, guys’ night, girls’ night, pub crawl, office outing, or just plain apocalyptic competition among friends.
Smash Putt! offers VIP lounges, a top-shelf bar with hand-crafted cocktails, local personalities, live entertainment, and good old-fashioned fun. Now available for private parties and corporate team-building.

Also coming to Capitol Hill’s underground light rail station and tunnels in 2016: wireless service

IMG_3562-2The Sound Transit board is set to approve a contract on Thursday to add cell phone service inside its light rail tunnels and stations. The bad news: no more phone silence when your train goes underground.

Last year, the company Mobilitie was selected to build out the neutral host 4G LTE cell network (i.e., a multi-carrier network with data) to service all underground light rail stations and tunnels. Installation is expect to start in the coming months, but service won’t be available until mid-2016.

Under the proposed contract (PDF), Mobilitie would be responsible for funding, installing, and maintaining the cellular system. The company will also pay Sound Transit $7,500 a month and a one-time $250,000 payment when the University Link tunnel comes online. The company will profit by selling network access to cellular providers.

University Link light rail trains remain on track to start rolling through Capitol Hill Station by early next year. The University Link line will extend underground from downtown to connect with Capitol Hill and University District stations. Sound Transit began boring for the Northgate Link tunnel in November, which will add three more stations north of the University Station: U District, Roosevelt, and Northgate. As of last month, construction on the Capitol Hill Station was around 78% complete.

In addition to enhancing rider experience, Sound Transit anticipates cell service could be used for direct communication with passengers:

Installing wireless communications coverage will improve safety, security, and information opportunities for transit passengers travelling in the underground facilities. It will also create opportunities for additional communications methods and media for transit operations.

Meanwhile, the Sound Transit board is still evaluating proposals to develop the housing and retail properties surrounding the Broadway light rail station. The board is expected to announce the winning contractor(s) in early March.

Broadway bikeway bollard braces

Never mind the bollards (Image: @checkereddan via Twitter)

(Image: @checkereddan via Twitter)

From the start, there were problems with the artful blue plastic bollards supposedly protecting riders in the Broadway bikeway.

Tagging was less of an issue than how easily the protective elements were moved despite being filled with hundreds of pounds of sand.

After one of the more concentrated failures of the bollards last week, SDOT is now working on a plan to secure the needle and thread inspired bollards with large metal bracings.

A picture of the new braces was shared on Twitter by city traffic engineer Dongho Chang:B-u1PAxUsAAKPSuWe’ve asked SDOT for information on when the new braces will be installed and what it will cost.

In the meantime, the new Seattle Bike Map is out. Check it out, below. Continue reading

All Pilgrims ready to grow $200K Same Love Garden on Broadway


Next week, Broadway’s All Pilgrims will host a forum on anti-LGBTQ hate crime. It’s the kind of community role the venue often plays in the busy commercial core of Capitol Hill. The 1906-built house of worship is also ready to move forward with its new plan to create a different kind of community space — a Same Love Garden green space surrounding the Broadway at Republican church “that has been a leader in the recognition of the full acceptance of persons of gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender identities.”

“With increased residential density on Capitol Hill, and the coming of light rail and trolley service to our neighborhood, All Pilgrims wants this garden to be a reflection of the character of our neighborhood and a place of celebration that will serve our growing community,” All Pilgrims pastor Greg Turk said in the announcement of a new fundraising campaign to help pay for the project.

All Pilgrims is seeking to raise $100,000 from the community to match the $100,000 it is putting into the project with a name inspired by the Macklemore and Ryan Lewis song celebrating marriage equality. Part of the community campaign includes a $20,000 online giving goal — You can give here via Indiegogo:

We seek $100,000 from friends like you to match our own $100,000 investment to create a garden memorial to the success of the marriage equality movement and the hope it represents for positive social change. Continue reading

On the List | Magmafest, Northwest Regional Science Olympiad, Search for Meaning Book Festival, EastPAC, Langston Hughes party

Science Olympiad champs past (Image: CHS)

Science Olympiad champs past (Image: CHS)

February is done. It’s already time for March. The spanning weekend is full of things to do on and around Capitol Hill including the start of a month-long music fest, a spirituality and book festival, a community meeting on public safety, and a birthday celebration. Saturday, you can also stop by Seattle Central to check out the fun and competition at the Northwest Regional Science Olympiad Tournament.

Details on Magmafest, the Search for Meaning Book Festival, Thursday night’s EastPAC meeting, and the Langston Hughes Motown Birthday Bash are below. Continue reading

Blotter | Valentine’s brawl outside Rhino Room

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

  • Club fight: A female victim suffered a minor facial injury and a male victim was knocked unconscious in an assault reported late on Valentine’s outside the Rhino Room at 11th and Pine. We’re not sure exactly how to explain what played out but the report seems to describe an altercation between a group of women and two males that got turned up a notch when two more guys intervened and started throwing punches. Here’s how one victim reported the melee began:
    Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 4.14.45 PMRhino Room security described a scene when two new people showed up out of nowhere and started punching: Continue reading

Hundreds rally at Seattle U in union fight


(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

Students, faculty, and staff walked out of Seattle University buildings Wednesday afternoon to support an ongoing effort by adjunct and part-time faculty to unionize.

The demonstration was part of the National Adjunct Walkout Day, and comes as some Seattle U non-tenured faculty members continue their fight with the university administration to form a union. The hour-long demonstration stretched along the university’s section of 12th Ave and ended with a rally on campus.

Speaking at the rally, council members Kshama Sawant and Nick Licata called on the Seattle U administration to increase wages for “contingent” faculty members, which make up about half of the faculty. “Many of the PhD’s who are adjuncts qualify for food stamps,” Sawant said. Continue reading

Capitol Hill chiropractic entrepreneurs hope new sports rehab clinic will keep E Olive Way running

Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 11.43.18 AMBy Erika Sommer — UW News Lab/Special for CHS

The new Capitol Hill will have high performance sport trainers to help you achieve your physical best — and  Velocity Sports Rehab (conveniently within hobbling distance) for when you break down.

“Up here, a lot of people walk and run… and are into fitness and health. A lot of people don’t even use cars up here,” Velocity’s Jayson Yaplee said.

Yaplee and Michael Braccio are the co-owners and the primary chiropractors of the new rehabilitation clinic slated to be part of the newly completed Zephyr apartment building on E Olive Way. Unhealthily, they’ll neighbor the coming-soon boozy milkshake and sweets provider Hot Cakes when it opens its Capitol Hill location in the same building on the corner where B&O Espresso once stood. But, hey, there will soon be a new sports bar just up E Olive WayKessler’s plans to be open in time for March Madness.

If you pull something picking this year’s NCAA Championships pool, Velocity might be just what the doctor ordered. Continue reading

Barking dogs over developers: Why so many district candidates are City Hall newbies

Someday, all of this can be yours, candidate (Image:

Someday, all of this can be yours, candidate (Image:

In 2015, Seattle will hold the first non-citywide City Council election in more than a century, with seven of the nine seats on the council elected by district. 36 candidates are currently filed with the city clerk’s office, and nearly a third of the incumbents have already declined to run for reelection. So with the old guard seemingly stepping aside and the young Turks charging in, CHS asked various players in the city government: How will this change things?

Mike McGinn

Former mayor Mike McGinn — some old blood you probably remember

Best case scenario: the district system will make money less decisive in city politics. When all nine seats were elected at-large, former mayor Mike McGinn told CHS, little people didn’t stand a chance.

“Under the old system,” said McGinn, “the mayor and the city council all relied on the same traditional sources of political support, the big donors and the large endorsing organizations.”

With the smaller scale of district elections lowering campaigns’ price tag, dollar-spouting lobbyists could be less essential to candidates — and therefore less influential on those elected.

“Redistricting… created a new kind of accountability [to local communities],” candidate Jon Grant told CHS, “and new kind of platform for grassroots candidates to actually have a shot at challenging incumbents who are bankrolled by moneyed interests like developers.”

There also seems to be a growing force of potential big-time leaders focused on small-time problems.

“I think you’re gonna hear more about dogs barking, more about traffic congestion, more about, maybe [about] a crack house or something,” said retiring councilor Nick Licata. “I think the influence of developers will go down… because they’re probably the most active business constituent in the city.” Continue reading

Pike/Pine business owners bemoan ‘culture clash,’ construction impacts as Mayor Murray tours neighborhood

(Images: Bryan Cohen/CHS)

These days, most Capitol Hill business owners can point to at least two or three giant cranes above — and two or three construction projects directly impacting their business in some way. Neighborhood growth hasn’t come without growing pains. Mayor Ed Murray got an earful about those effects and the impact of the area’s growing nightlife economy from a handful of business owners during a little publicized Monday evening stroll through Pike/Pine.

The issues raised during the scheduled meet-and-greet probably won’t come as a surprise anyone living on Capitol Hill, but it gave business owners an opportunity to speak directly with the mayor on home turf. Continue reading