With pastry popular from Tirana to Instanbul, Byrek and Baguette opens on 12th Ave

Eva Gjekmarkaj (Image: CHS)

Eva Gjekmarkaj (Image: CHS)

Natalie Gjekmarkaj behind the counter (Image: Byrek and Baguette)

Natalie Gjekmarkaj behind the counter (Image: Byrek and Baguette)

Natalie Gjekmarkaj knows how to make byrek, said by some to be among the best street food in the world. Now, she has brought the recipe and its secrets to 12th Ave.

“My home country Albania — byrek. Even in Italy, Croatia, Serbia… If you go in Turkey it’s a big deal, too,” Gjekmarkaj tells CHS.

Quietly the newest part of 12th Ave’s Seattle U-proximate food and drink scene, Byrek and Baguette has opened near the corner of E Columbia inside a former Vietnamese restaurant. There, you’ll find a deli case full of byrek and Gjekmarkaj baking away to fill orders from what has become a bit of a booming business providing her flaky creations for business lunch delivery.

The byrek is intended to be a savory, light pastry. “It’s a very light dough and you need to work it about three times and keep it very thin,” Gjekmarkaj says. Her fillings are simple. She currently offers six: Continue reading

Police arrest suspected gunman in Capitol Hill robbery shooting

SPD announced Thursday that a SWAT team has arrested the suspected gunman in a May 23rd shooting near Summit and Howell:

SWAT officers served a search warrant in the Leschi neighborhood early this morning and arrested the suspected gunman in Saturday’s shooting.

SWAT officers converged on a home in the 800 block of 28 Ave. S. and arrested a 20-year-old man, identified by robbery detectives during their investigation.

Police interviewed the man and booked him into King County Jail for investigation of Robbery and Assault. Detectives continue to investigate the case.

The May 23rd shooting sent a cell phone robbery victim to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries in the incident just after 2:30 AM near Summit and Howell. One of the robbery suspects also was shot in the foot. Police say the gunfire began after the robbery as the victim and a person with him began following the suspects demanding the return of a phone. Police say the suspect pulled out a gun and began shooting, hitting the victim in the leg and striking the other suspect in the foot. A nearby apartment building was also struck by the gunfire.

Earlier Thursday, CHS reported that police said the suspected accomplice in the crime has not yet been arrested while he recuperates from his gunshot wound.

Blotter | Woman suspected of trying to add stolen car to booty from 14th Ave restaurant theft nabbed by employees

(Image: Nue via Vimeo)

(Image: Nue via Vimeo)

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

  • 14th Ave theft suspect caught on video: The employees at Nue restaurant swung into action Tuesday night after a suspected thief attempted to return to the scene and allegedly make off with an even larger prize. Here’s the video and details posted by Nue about Tuesday night’s caper:

    Okay, maybe I had a little too much fun doing this but we caught our first crook! Last night a woman came into Nue, ordered a Coke and some food, sat around for a bit and then darted out with a stolen purse, cellphone, keys to the restaurant, our house and our car! A while later she returned to the ‘scene’ trying to figure out which car the key fob worked on in order to steal that too. Butterfingers accidentally hit the ‘Alarm’ button at which point our bartender and kitchen crew hopped off the line, chased her down for a tackle and a full recovery of the goods before the police arrived.
    The cops asked if I had any video footage and just couldn’t resist the urge to put together a ‘case’. Lessons learned: 1: Stealing is wrong, 2: NEVER return to the scene and 3: Nue has some bad ass staff. Footnote: We never did get paid for the Coke :(
    Police responded to the area around 9:30 PM to a report that three or four people were holding a woman down on the pavement near 14th and Madison. She had apparently waited around two hours after the purse theft to return to the area. The suspect was taken into custody but we don’t more about any charges at this point. There were no reported injuries. Continue reading

Seattle tenant protection bills introduced as renter rights issues gain ground

District 3 isn’t the only City Council race where candidates are trying to prove their mettle on affordable housing. City Council president Tim Burgess has introduced two tenant protection bills: one to extend the notice landlords must give for certain evictions, and another to require owners of some affordable housing buildings to notify the city before selling their properties.

The move comes as Burgess’s top challenger in the citywide Council Position 8 race — former Tenant’s Union director Jon Grant — has gained ground heading towards the August 4th primary.

Grant’s strong showing in the 43rd District Democrats endorsement event has put him in a runoff vote with Burgess next month. Grant has also picked up endorsements from the 46th District Democrats and the 32nd District Democrats.

Burgess’s first proposal would require landlords to give 90 days notice when they plan to move into the unit or move in an immediate family member. Currently, landlords only have to give 20 days notice for such evictions. The legislation would also require landlords intending to sell a rental unit to give renters 90 days notice instead of 60 days notice.

The second bill would mandate that landlords notify the city when they intend to sell any multi-family rental housing building with five or more units, where at least one unit is affordable to households at or below 80% of area median income. The notification would, in theory, give the city’s Office of Housing and the Seattle Housing Authority time to consider purchasing the units. There’s no requirement that the property owner sell to the city should it make an offer.

In 98102, an affordable rent for a household making 80% of the area’s median income would’ve been roughly $1,445 a month in 2013 (assuming 30% of income spent on housing is affordable).

“The growing lack of affordable housing poses a direct challenge to our vision of an equitable city,” Burgess said in a statement.

Screen Shot 2015-05-27 at 9.26.22 PMAnd it’s not just in Seattle. A recent study found that average rents nationwide have gone up 5% for the third straight month, leading to the biggest growth in rents in nearly four years. Meanwhile, in a sample of recent Capitol Hill listings, the median monthly lease for a one-bedroom apartment was nearly $1,800, up $100 from a similar sampling method last month. Rent for studios are, on average, listing for about $200 more as well. Continue reading

On the List | Garfield High Drumline Expo, Bite of Greece, Invisible Arcade, Cathedrals X

The Bulldog Drumline Expo (BDX) in 2014 (Image: CHS)

The Bulldog Drumline Expo (BDX) in 2014 (Image: CHS)

A seventh annual celebration of keeping the beat and hitting it hard at Garfield High School leads this weekend’s parade of things to do around Capitol Hill.

The Bulldog Drumline Expo (BDX) is Saturday:

Mark your calendars for the 7th Annual Bulldog Drumline Expo (BDX) on May 30th, 2015 from 12 noon to 3pm at the Garfield High School Gymnasium in Seattle. The event brings middle and high school drumlines from across the state to showcase their talent and compete in friendly drumline battles. Garfield’s Varsity Drumline as the host school will showcase their music and perform cadences.

Here’s what it looked — and sounded — like in 2014.

More weekend highlights:

  • ecLyiH_rsz_1rsz_1rsz_ad_250_x_250_5-6-15Pedestrian Pike/Pine discussion — Thursday: The Capitol Hill Community Council meets Thursday night for a public discussion on creating a Pike/Pine pedestrian zone.
  • Tashkent Park Improvement — Thursday: Add your feedback to the plans to upgrade Boylston Ave’s Tashkent Park.
  • Invisible Arcade at Fred Wildlife — Thursday: Invisible Arcade is “a recurring video game expo/concert” in which “performers play their games on-stage as a performance for the audience.” Some of you probably just said, “No way.” Others said, “Cool!” Added bonus: It’s free.
  • Bite of Greece — all weekend: Head to 13th Ave for the the 3rd Annual Bite of Greece at the Greek Orthodox Church of the Assumption: From souvlaki to salata, from bougatsa to baklava! We have a Taverna, Kafenion, and music and dancing too! OPA!!!
  • Montlake Elementary 3rd Annual Eat Real & Art Walk — Friday: The Montlake Elementary school fundraiser includes “school garden tours, plant sales, fresh food by Cafe Lago, El Chito, and Big Spoon Ice Cream, a small farmers market,live music from past graduates, UW Bookstore sale, and the ever popular urban farm animal petting zoo.”5-30-Cathedrals-X-Web-590x456-400x309
  • Cathedrals X — Saturday: St. Mark’s hosts a night of “a’capella performances by local indie musicians.”
  • A Celebration of Judith Kitchen — Sunday: Hugo House hosts a memorial for writer Judith Kitchen. “In addition to a few planned remembrances, there will be a chance for anybody who is so moved to speak briefly about Judith, read something of hers, or read something influenced by her.” The reviewer for the Georgia Review passed away last fall.

Check out the CHS Calendar for more or add your community events.  Continue reading

Capitol Hill food and drink veteran sells Broadway’s Corretto

Corretto opened on Broadway in spring 2014 (Image: CHS)

Corretto opened on Broadway in spring 2014 (Image: CHS)

After a year of coffee and cocktail craft in the location, a Capitol Hill food and drink veteran has cashed out of Broadway.

Duvall said he’s “only usually on the other side of the counter”

Travis Rosenthal, owner of longtime Pike date spot Tango and next door sibling rum bar Rumba, tells CHS that he has sold his Broadway Italian restaurant and cocktail bar, Corretto. Rosenthal said the sale was driven by a desire to spend more time with his family and focus on his neighboring Pike ventures.

CHS spoke with Jim DuVall who said he bought the Broadway restaurant as an “opportunity” even though he’d never been inside and is new to the food and drink business.

Duvall, who said he works in city government in the greater Seattle area, said he’s “only usually on the other side of the counter” so is in learning mode and isn’t planning any major changes in the near term. “Just like anything else, we’re figuring out how they’ve been doing it,” Duvall said. Later, an expanded menu and hours could be part of the plan.

“Its location actually has quite a bit of potential,” Duvall said.

It’s the second sale of the restaurant business in only three years. In 2014, Rosenthal acquired the Panevino restaurant that had inhabited the space. The Corretto concept he had been planning for Minor and Pine was moved up the Hill. Along with an ambitious overhaul came an ambitious mission to mix the worlds of craft cocktails and craft coffee:

One small business cannot completely embody a neighborhood, but it’s not uncommon for a single bar or cafe to reach symbolic status in a city, to be first thing that leaps to mind upon mention of a certain area or its inhabitants.

It remains to be seen if Corretto will become that business for Broadway or Capitol Hill. But the melding of craft cocktails with craft coffee wrapped in a decidedly Seattle decor certainly looks like Capitol Hill’s ultimate act.

Hmmm. That might have been a bit… much. Over the year since it opened in spring 2014, Corretto scaled back and shed the daytime hours. This month’s sale will further shave away the original concept.

Given our track record in the search for any greater meaning in our write-up on Corretto’s opening, you might want to take any CHS big picture pontification at this point in 416 Broadway E’s lifespan with a grain of salt. But we can tell you this. In addition to more family time and time at Tango and Rumba, Rosenthal also tells CHS he received his commercial real estate agent license, “so if anyone is looking to buy or sell a restaurant,” he says, “look me up.” We’ll let you sort out what it all means.

CHS Pics | Kevin Bacon at The Egyptian


Bacon at Tuesday’s Q&A (Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

IMG_6423The only cinematic connection CHS can find between the 2015 Seattle International Film Festival lifetime achievement honoree Kevin Bacon and last year’s SIFF honoree Laura Dern is this poorly reviewed 2001 Steve Martin vehicle. The audience got a little closer Tuesday night at the Egyptian as Bacon appeared for an audience Q&A and to introduce his classic of wholesome teenage rebellion, Footloose.

Wednesday on E Pine, Bacon gets his trophy — tickets to “an evening with Kevin Bacon” and the screening of his new film are still available:

SIFF welcomes Kevin Bacon to the stage for an interview featuring film clips from his career and to receive the Seattle International Film Festival Career Achievement award. Afterwards, there will be a screening of Bacon’s latest film, Cop Car, directed by Jon Watts.

UPDATE: What? More Bacon? The actor stopped by Garfield High School Wednesday afternoon to meet the drama kids. Thanks to Garfield Stage for sharing pictures from the visit:

Meanwhile, there are still lots of Capitol Hill SIFF 2015 highlights still to come to the screens at the Egyptian and the Harvard Exit in the venue’s final run as a cinema:

A few more pictures and a couple notes from the Q&A from the crowd, below. Continue reading

4 at 11th/Aloha, 6 on Bellevue Ave E, 2035 at City Hall

Coming to 11th and Aloha

Coming to 11th and Aloha

(Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

Wednesday night brings two Capitol Hill projects in front of the design review board — one a local lightning rod for anti-development rancor, the other a plan to create a new apartment building on top of a rejected landmark — while City Hall hosts a public meeting on shaping the city’s development over the next 20 years.Screen Shot 2015-05-27 at 12.31.20 PM

  • 748 11th Ave E: Displacement is real. And so are concerns about building new apartments on Capitol Hill without parking, apparently. Bradley Khouri’s b9 Architects and developer Robert Hardy will bring their revised vision for a four-story, 30+ unit apartment building at the corner of 11th and Aloha in front of the design review board Wednesday night for what they hope is the final sign-off on the project that has faced pushback from neighbors living along the streets just above Lowell Elementary. In addition to paring back the project by shaving off two units and attempting to reduce the project’s scale, Khouri and Hardy have thrown concerned neighbors a bone on the parking front:
    Developer has a preliminary agreement with Diamond parking for tenants to lease stalls in the parking lot directly west of the site. The lot is currently used by Seattle Public Schools for teacher parking and other neighborhood events and is not fully utilized.

    Neighbors asked for the building to be reduced to three stories -- this slice shows the compromise

    Neighbors asked for the building to be reduced to three stories — this slice shows the compromise

    Continue reading

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 SPDSAFEPLACE.com 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.