Central District says goodbye to legendary Catfish Corner

(Image: Catfish Corner)

(Image: Catfish Corner)

With an expensive judgement in a lawsuit brought by its MLK and Cherry landlord sealing the deal, a legendary Central District restaurant and community spot has shuttered.

Catfish Corner quietly closed earlier this month as the unlawful detainer case came to a close with the court ruling the Corner’s ownership owes more than $18,000 to building owners Cederstrand Rentals. A check of court records also shows a string of warrants for unpaid state taxes in recent years. Court documents indicate the space rented for around $1,800 a month.

The closure marks the end of 30 years of fried goodness and a black-owned business at the corner — and has many fans lamenting they didn’t get a last chance to say goodbye:

As a hub for information on the Black Community Catfish Corner will be missed by all for the Food and a gathering place.

NBA star Aaron Brooks enjoying some Smartar Tartar (Image: Catfish Corner)

NBA star Aaron Brooks enjoying some Smartar Tartar (Image: Catfish Corner)

Catfish Corner is owned by a company headed by the West family who have owned the business since the mid-2000s. The Go West company also produces Smartar Tartar

You’ll notice the difference in color. It’s not white with pickles. The texture is different because of all the other ingredients in it. And best of all, is the taste.

We’ve reached out to Go West and Smartar Tartar to learn more but have not yet heard back.

In the late ’90s, Catfish Corner founders Rosie and Woody Jackson sought to move the restaurant to 23rd and Jackson but were beat out by a little coffee company called Starbucks, according to the Seattle Times. A Kent Catfish Corner location lasted only a few years before shuttering in 2012.

There don’t appear to be any major overhauls lined up for the MLK and Cherry location known for its giant Martin Luther King, Jr. mural and we haven’t seen any permit activity that indicates a new tenant is ready to move in.

In the meantime, Catfish Corner fans are in mourning. “What are we gonna do now?,” one person lamented on the restaurant’s Facebook page. “I was raised on your fish. Why didn’t someone tell us so we could stock up? I am spinning right now.”

Stylists cut back, take over at E Pike’s Emerson Salon

_DSC0730Emerson Salon is changing ownership and downsizing come September. The salon located on E Pike just off Broadway will switch to self-employed stylists working in a common space under the Emerson banner.

“I want people to understand that we are a lot of individuals that are trying to work together for a common goal where we are all successful,” D’Arcy Harrison, one of the new owners, tells CHS.

Harrison and Lancer Forney are both stylists at Emerson Salon and are taking over ownership on the new lease. Emerson was founded by neighborhood entrepreneur and investor Alex Garcia. Garcia has seen his local investments dwindle with the Emerson changes and 2013′s closure of The Social on E Olive Way.

Harrison and Forney say they have been small business owners in the past and are determined to get it right this time. Both have participated in business training programs through the south Seattle non-profit Washington CASH.

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Blotter | Another Capitol Hill mugging, SWAT called to 17th/Yesler home

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

  • Harvard/Pike mugging: Only a few hours after our report on a surge of August street robberies around Capitol Hill, a man told police he was mugged by a group of three males near Harvard and Pike early Tuesday morning. According to SPD radio dispatches, it wasn’t clear if the suspect who took off with the victim’s stuff in the 1:45 AM attack grabbed his wallet, his iPhone or both. The victim could only provide a vague suspect description and there were no immediate arrests. Monday, CHS reported that August 2014 was shaping up to have the highest ever monthly total for reported robberies in the East Precinct beats that cover Capitol Hill. Even with the surge, the neighborhood is below 2013′s robbery and mugging pace. Tuesday morning’s mugging marks the 27th robbery reported on Capitol Hill this month.
  • 17th Ave S standoff: Police and SWAT officers surrounded a home near 17th Ave S and Yesler for hours overnight after a young man reportedly posted a picture of himself on Facebook with a gun to his head. Police were called to the area around 1:30 AM after the picture was posted and the 18-year-old’s family was unable to contact him inside his room in the house. A stand-off ensued through the night with police entering the home around 5 AM only to find the man dead inside in an apparent suicide. There were no further details on the incident at this time.
  • Bad drugs around Freeway Park: Sunday night, Seattle Police took the unusual step of warning its officers over East Precinct radio of what was suspected to be a batch of bad drugs causing overdoses around Freeway Park. Three overdoses were reported in the area involving possible symptoms of excited delirium. CHS does not have additional information on the condition of the overdose victims or what kinds of drugs were believed to be involved.

Capitol Hill food+drink | Cantinetta duo bringing El Correo to 12th Ave

Current home to several Capitol Hill microhousing residents, future home of El Correo (Image: CHS)

Current home to several Capitol Hill microhousing residents, future home of El Correo (Image: CHS)

Coinciding with its cascading waves of boom-like apartment development, Capitol Hill has also, you’re sure to have noticed, welcomed a continuing surge of new restaurant and bar investment. Many watch for harbingers of a bubble ready to pop. CHS watches other signs — like the long-anticipated arrivals of the city’s food and drink veterans on these hotly contested food+drink shores. While big players dealing into the neighborhood might encourage the bubble poppers, there are still successful Seattle restauranteurs apparently lining up to create their first venture on Capitol Hill.

Two of these partners have taken their route to Capitol Hill with a stop in Madison Valley — just to get acclimated, we’re sure. CHS has learned that Trevor Greenwood and Wade Moller, the duo behind Wallingford-born Cantinetta and the Madison Valley sibling Bar Cantinetta, are climbing onto Capitol Hill with a new project under construction on 12th Ave.

A project being called El Correo is being built in the 12th Ave microhousing development from Melrose Market developer Scott Shapiro under construction above the burial grounds for the old Capitol Hill Market. Continue reading

Big changes for Capitol Hill campus as Group Health babies making First Hill move

Little Lucas Douglas was Baby New Year to start 2014 at the Group Health Family Beginnings Birthing Center at 15th and Thomas (Image: Courtesy of Group Health)

Little Lucas Douglas was Baby New Year to start 2014 at the Group Health Family Beginnings Birthing Center at 15th and Thomas (Image: Courtesy of Group Health)

Nearly 2,000 residents landed just off 15th Ave E on Capitol Hill in 2013 — and none of them work at Amazon… yet. Part of the news in an announcement last week that Group Health was ending its affiliation with Virginia Mason and planning to partner up with Swedish is the end of an era at the Group Health Capitol Hill campus. Sometime in spring 2015, the last momma will give birth at Group Health’s 15th at Thomas campus.

Starting in 2016, Group Health patients will go to Swedish First Hill and Cherry Hill hospitals where they will be treated by Group Health. As part of the planned change, maternity services will transition to Swedish’s busy First Hill Birth Center.

Group Health officials say “patients’ access to services, including voluntary termination of pregnancy, ‘death with dignity’ services and access for gays and lesbians, will not be compromised by Swedish’s connection to Providence Health & Services, a Catholic health-care system,” the Seattle Times reports.

A Group Health spokesperson told CHS the Capitol Hill maternity facility welcomed more than 1,700 babies to the world in 2013 with a complimentary first breath of Capitol Hill air. Let’s hope a future dominated by First Hill babies is a good one.

Weekend mugging swarm has August shaping up as Capitol Hill’s most rob-biest month… ever

On a per capita basis, your odds for getting mugged on Capitol Hill probably peaked in the mid-90s but after a small swarm of street robberies around the Hill this weekend, August 2014 appears to be shaping up as the worst month in recent years for robbery in the East Precinct beats covering Capitol Hill.

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This weekend pushed the month over the top with a roster of reports coming in:

  • 8/22 2:52 AM: Two males reportedly hit victim near Broadway Market QFC. Medics were declined. Victim lived nearby.
  • 8/23 1:32 AM: Victim found on sidewalk near Broadway/Pike, suspect last seen fleeing on the Harvard Market stairs. Suspects described only as “group of black males in their 20s.”
  • 8/23 1:55 AM: Report of fist fight at 11/Union turned out to be street robbery. Suspects ran northbound on 11th Ave described as three black males, all wearing beanies and shorts. Two adult male victims suffered head lacerations in the scuffle.
  • 8/23 3 AM: Suspect reportedly stole something from a female victim’s purse. She fell chasing the thief near 13th/Olive St. Her male counterpart told police he thought suspects fled to Cal Anderson. The perpetrator was described only as a “short, white male.”
  • 8/24 10:21 PM: E Pine near Harvard. Caller reported 10 people attempted a strong arm robbery, trying to take wallet out of victim’s hand and threatened him with knife but didn’t show. The group was described only as black males and female teens. The group was last seen leaving the area on Harvard.

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Capitol Hill bike notes | Big day for bike share, Broadway bikeway extension, Greenway meetings

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Pronto at the 2014 Bike-In at Cal Anderson Park earlier this month (Images: CHS)

Pronto at the 2014 Bike-In at Cal Anderson Park earlier this month (Images: CHS)

On a big day for Seattle bikes, here are a few pedal-focused news notes for Capitol Hill and the multi-modal streets beyond.

  • Pronto’s first big hill climb: The first public bike system in the Pacific Northwest faces a major test Monday as memberships for Seattle’s Pronto bicycle share go on sale starting at noon.
    unnamed10633507_263541060512193_1299985923774099176_oCustomers will have the option of signing up for two levels of “founding memberships” –

    It’s that moment you’ve all been waiting for! On Monday, August 25, be one of the first 600 to sign up for an annual membership online at pronto cycleshare.com and receive the coveted status of a Pronto Founding Member. Besides bragging rights and all the street cred that comes with being part of Seattle history, Founding Members will receive an exclusive, limited-edition blue key to access the system. It’s no secret that these are going to sell out fast (Citibike’s 5,000 founding memberships sold out in just 30 hours!), so mark your calendars for noon on August 25th and secure yours before it’s too late!

    The new system will begin with 500 bikes serving the city with Capitol Hill, First Hill, the U-District, Eastlake, South Lake Union, Belltown, downtown, Pioneer Square and International District stations . Each station will have docks for 12 to 20 bikes and will feature a kiosk where non-members can sign up for 24-hour, or multiday passes, and or access bikes using a code. Those who pay $85 for an annual membership will be able to bypass the kiosk and check bikes out directly from their docks. Continue reading

Location, location, location — and proximity to transit: Developers line up Broadway post office site for 5-story apartment building

Screen Shot 2014-08-24 at 8.07.18 PM

(Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

The “long-term holders” who purchased the building home to Capitol Hill’s post office in 2012 are lining up plans to build a five-story apartment building on the Broadway site.

Mark Craig, of Bartell’s real estate investment subsidiary Henbart which bought the property in 2012 for $3 million, confirmed the start of the public development process for the corner building home to the U.S. Post Office Broadway branch.

“We’re real excited about the location and the proximity to transit,” Craig said. UPDATE: Henbart is owned by the Bartell’s family but is not a subsidiary of the drugstore chain. Sorry for the mistake.

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CHS Pics | Hopscotch CD II: No record but lots of fun

(Image: Jackson Commons)

An attempt at a world record hopscotch jump fell short in 2014 but still drew a crowd. View the video, below (Image: Jackson Commons)

A 2.9-mile course hopscotch connected the Central District again Saturday in the return of  community event to “spread fun” through the neighborhood. The second annual Hopscotch CD welcomed the neighborhood to walk or hop along the path from Jackson & 28th to Union & 23rd.

Along the route, numerous businesses and community organizations set up stands and gave out free treats to the hopscotchers. There were also lemonade stands, art shows, and book sales along the way. The end of the route at 23rd and Union awarded jumpers with food stalls, a pet adoption bus, and a beer garden with local bands playing into the evening. If the kids were not tired of jumping by the end, a bouncy house was there to finish them off.

Organizers haven’t said for sure but sounded enthusiastic about the event returning for a third edition in 2015. With this year’s world record attempt falling a little short, there’s added incentive to jump in again next year.

More pictures and a video from high above, below. Continue reading

Pikes/Pines | Top five (animal) predators of Capitol Hill — ka-kaw! Eagle sound!

CHS reader Cory R. King sent in these images of a bald eagle at work in the skies of Capitol Hill and, along with Shark Week, inspired this week’s Pikes/Pines edition of “Top 5 predators” – ka-kaw! Eagle sound!

What exactly makes a top predator? A voracious appetite for other, more diminutive creatures? Extreme efficiency in dispatch and consumption of said prey? How about sheer bulk or some other valuable trait? Your definition is as good as mine.

Capitol Hill is well beyond discussion of apex predators and keystone species. Without a glimmer of disdain for what Capitol Hill is and isn’t, we can’t look at the predatory species in our neighborhood and say they provide essential balance to our ecosystems, because they are so altered. Still, plenty of predators in our urban environment do control prey populations, are voracious predators, and are surprisingly efficient too. Of course there are more than five, but here’s a few that come to mind when considering Capitol Hill’s top predators. Continue reading

One year ago this week on Capitol Hill

IMG_1269-600x400Here are the top CHS posts from this week in 2013:

  1. After 21 years on Capitol Hill, Fran’s Chocolates moving to Georgetown
  2. Big contract for mini bottles has Sun Liquor Distillery expanding on E Pike
  3. Capitol Hill restaurant owner pleads not guilty to DUI
  4. Bar Sue — ‘Capitol Hill’s Southern Bar’ — opening with ‘no frills and no fuss’
  5. Group used pellet gun in seven robberies near Cal Anderson Park, suspect tells police
  6. The McGinn-Murray border war splitting Capitol Hill
  7. Striking fast food workers hold Pike/Boren rally, march on Broadway

 

 

One last song from the piano in Volunteer Park

Monty Banks

Monty Banks

The pianos in the parks are gone, auctioned off to the highest bidders to support public open spaces in King County. In addition to inspiring musical spins around Capitol Hill’s green spaces, the Pianos in the Parks campaign has also inspired some excellent performances. A contest to capture some of the best from around the parks system has wrapped up — the winning video shot down on the waterfront is below. We’ve also included a finalist who chose the Volunteer Park piano for his plinking — check out the performance by Monty Banks after the jump. Continue reading