Chao Bistro & Bar opens Friday September 25. When CHS first encountered the owners a few months ago, this eatery was to be known as Chow. When asked the reason for the name change, Christine Medina, Chao’s PR Coordinator replied: “As far as the name change goes, Dave and his partners felt it fits more distinctively with the overall branding of the business. Chao is going for a very neighborhood-friendly feel, and ‘chao’ means both hello and welcome in Vietnamese.” Via Twitter, we learned that there will be a soft opening Wednesday.
We learned via Facebook that you can email Dave Tran (dave at venomseattle dot com) or call their reservation line to secure a 25% discount when reserving a table for Friday. According to Chao’s press release (full text below), the Pan Asian menu will feature dishes such as Hawaiians Sweet Bread French Toast, Kalbi Tacos, Kobe Beef Chili, Lemongrass Crab Cakes, Banana BBQ Sauce Pork Ribs and Whole Salt & Pepper Chicken with Pickled Daikon. Their bar offerings will include sake and soju. Entree prices are currently capped at $15. They will have five flat screen tvs in their 98-seat space “showcasing sports games by day and a rotation of eccentric pop-art from local and national artists by night”.
The culinary history of 12th & Pike has been somewhat bleak in the past few years. Earlier in the decade, 1200 Bistro reigned as one of the few fine dining places on the hill (that was then). 1200 Bistro’s lounge was especially popular with Capitol Hill gays for its scene. New owners and a new menu, however, alienated the regulars, and 1200 Bistro abruptly closed its doors in December 2007. Pike’s Bar & Grill occupied the space very briefly in the Summer of 2008. Browsing the Yelp reviews and drawing from my own memory, Pike’s lacked atmosphere and the food did not live up to its predecessor’s.
Chao Down at Capitol Hill’s Newest Noshery
Grand Opening of The Hill’s Latest Hot Spot, Chao, Set for September 25, 2009
SEATTLE, Wash. – (September 22, 2009) – To the families of Broadmoor and Madison Park, the professionals of Downtown, the surrounding collegiate population and every Seattleite in-between: your newest dining destination has hit Capitol Hill. Filling the void of a neighborhood restaurant with a down-to-earth, pocket-friendly feel without sacrificing hints of chicness and a mouth-watering menu, Chao, (pronounced like “chow” and meaning welcome and hello in Vietnamese) is set to open its doors on September 25, 2009 at 1200 E Pike Street.Located in the heart of Capitol Hill’s Pike/Pine neighborhood, Chao doesn’t confine itself to a single cuisine, ambiance or dining demographic. Chao features a daring menu heavy on traditional comfort foods with a contemporary twist. Whether labeled Pacific Rim or Pan-Asian, Chao aims to please with a menu so diverse; everyone will find a favorite dish. With a signature breakfast of Hawaiian Sweet Bread French Toast, appetizers like Kalbi Tacos and Kobe Beef Chili, signature entrées of Lemongrass Crab Cakes, Chao Banana BBQ-Sauce Pork Ribs or the perfect-for-sharing Whole Fried Salt & Pepper Chicken with Pickled Daikon, Chao tempts and tantalizes the taste buds. Chao also plans to feature sushi rolls as well as Sake and the Korean liquor Soju. The menu is blissfully budget-proof with brunch plates from $5-10, lunch from $5-12 and dinner from $9-15. Also expect a happy hour to rival the best in town serving up $3 plates and drink specials.Warm-hued, retro décor provide an atmosphere as unique as its menu, while Chao also boasts five HD flat screens in the 98-person bar and dining room; showcasing sports games by day and a rotation of eccentric pop-art from local and national artists by night. Chao is a true chameleon: featuring brunch, lunch, happy hour and dinner options, the space will be transitional, but the loyalty to top-notch service, recession-proof prices and a commitment to a melting pot of flavors and cuisines will remain consistent. Part-owner Tony Kang exclaims: “Chao will be the antidote to Capitol Hill residents and beyond seeking a neighborhood restaurant that doesn’t sacrifice quality over cost. Being embraced by the neighborhood we’re in is the key to our success.”
Chao is located on 1200 E Pike Street in Capitol Hill’s Pike/Pine neighborhood in Seattle. Lunch and dinner are served daily from 11am-2am. Brunch is served on Saturdays and Sundays from 9am-2pm. For more information visit chaobistro.com