Li’l Woody’s: Hill nightlife entrepreneur creating ‘classic burger joint’ on Pine

You heard Capitol Hill’s getting a burger joint, right? Make it a double. Neighborhood mover and shaker Marcus Lalario is leading a team of partners behind a project currently under construction on Pine to create a new burger joint with Capitol Hill roots. Li’l Woody’s should be open before summer, Lalario tells us. He also tells us Woody’s will feature the best local and sustainable beef in the region, hand-cut fries and Molly Moon’s shakes.


“We’re going to have the works,” Lalario said.

Last week, CHS reported that Fremont-based Blue Moon Burgers is expanding to the Hill this summer on Broadway. Capitol Hill is about to go from Dick’s standing alone as the area’s sole dedicated burger provider to Dick’s plus two very dedicated shops.

“We’re going to be a classic burger joint,” Lalario said. “Five or six types of burgers including vegetarian. 35 seats and the mezzanine. It’s going to be a good hangout.”

Lalario, whose other ventures include HG Lodge and Capt. Black’s says Li’l Woody’s will definitely be part of his nightlife mix serving beer and wine and staying open to 2:30 or 3 on the weekends. Regular hours are planned to be 11 to 11.

In addition to Capt. Black’s and HG Lodge — which is not going to be sold, we’ve learned — Lalario has been a partner in ventures on the Hill including Woody’s shake provider Molly Moon’s. We don’t have additional information about who his backers will be in the Li’l Woody’s venture but he did say that one of his partners has experience dealing with a “high volume” environment in Portland.

Lalario said he expects the buildout — $50,000 according to city records — to be complete in six to eight weeks. A visit the other day revealed a group busily cleaning up the place and setting about work in the space sandwiched between Machiavelli and the Baltic Room and just around the corner from the Melrose Market that used to house Juliano’s Pizza.

As for the name of the new place — well, there’s no Woody. Lalario said he wanted ‘lil’ in the name (“for the old timey thing”) and his friend’s daughter is a big Toy Story fan. Buzz Burger, we’re guessing, would have probably given off the wrong vibe.

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31 thoughts on “Li’l Woody’s: Hill nightlife entrepreneur creating ‘classic burger joint’ on Pine

  1. I don’t think their “sole” dedication is burgers. They actually have a pretty big menu and blue plate specials. Burgerama ftw!

  2. What kind of connections do these people have to do a buildout this cheaply – or do they just lowball these estimates for some reason I’m not aware of? My hood alone was 20k and last time I looked in that space, it was seriously raw. I’d estimate minimum 100k and that’s before any equipment.
    BTW, i second comment #1 – i think people see the nightlife on friday/saturdays up here and think it’s a goldmine for business owners. They aren’t around for those sunday thru tuesday days and nights when the area is a dead zone.

  3. I need to find an elegant way to express these improvement values reported via DPD. From what I understand, the number includes structure work but not things like finishings. Maybe I’ll come up with a boilerplate note and just get in habit of adding asterisks on buildout values :)

  4. Perhaps they intend upon simply removing the smoke detectors and setting up a hibachi filled with hickory wood. I’ve noticed the unfinished “urban” look seems to be the in thing now. Just rip out the drywall and paneling to expose frame work or cinder block and you have a low maintenance hip cool spot.

  5. call me old fashioned, but when I think burger joint, I don’t think of “best local and sustainable beef in the region, hand-cut fries and Molly Moon’s shakes”. That sentence makes me think of $$$$$ prices and the typical foodie establishment that’s been popping up throughout Cap Hill in the last 3-4 years. Not saying it won’t be delicious, but this place sounds like it has more in common with Quinn’s than Dick’s.

  6. Honestly, we need more Quinn’s and less Dick’s.

    I hate to be “that guy,” but CH will need to continue to aim for the more affluent population to sustain and grow the neighborhood.

    I’d rather see CH continue to improve through being attractive to new businesses serving higher-end customers rather than languish and attract crowds more suited for the Central District.

    From personal experience, I’ve seen more attention from those in Madrona and Madison Park coming into the restaurants on CH than ever before. That’s really great considering these people are the ones with the cash to spend, especially in a recession, and that money will grow businesses. If they feel alienated, they’ll be more apt to head somewhere else and spend their discretionary income.

    For better or worse, I’d rather see CH get discretionary income from people rather than it go somewhere else.

  7. more like this, you’re going to have to live with being “that guy”, I think.

    I’m not sure exactly what you mean by crowds more suited for the Central District (actually, I’m pretty sure I do know, but I’m going to let it go), but Capitol Hill can definitely support businesses that appeal to those that live here. Even in a recession.

    I think it will be interesting to see if Cap Hill, particularly the Pike/Pine corridor, can sustain the influx of high end restaurants. The market seems pretty saturated – it’s all shiny and new right now, but it remains to be seen if we will truly turn into Belltown, or if people will lose interest in $12 burgers.

    Meanwhile, I’m spending my discretionary income (and yes, I have plenty despite my preference for a good old burger joint without the pretentiousness) on smaller, unglossy businesses. A lot of which are no longer in the neighborhood in which I live.

  8. hey more like this, when you grow up and sober up you might get smart and move to the Central District. Actually you sound more Queen Anne-ish to me.

  9. I gotta agree that “burger joint” doesn’t suggest to me another $12 hamburger. It’s not like CapHill has been crying out for yet another “high end” hamburger. I’d be happy with a somewhere closer to the Dick’s end of the spectrum that just didn’t serve up the same noxious swill that Dick’s does.

    As for your condescending comment about places that “attract crowds more suited for the Central District”– besides being particularly ugly and snotty, I have to wonder if you’ve seen home prices in the Central District lately? Maybe it’s a moot point– if you’re always spending your money on $12 hamburgers and $4 lattes, you’ll be destined to be a renter for a long time anyway.

    As for all those people from Madison Pk and Madrona– speaking as a Madrona resident myself, I can assure you we put our pants on the same as everyone else, and we’re not search and searching for new and different “upscale” places for our dining dollars. You want proof? Have a look at Naam Thai on 34th Ave (which is excellent, BTW). If I had a dollar for every “upscale” place that’s come and gone from that space in the 13 yrs I’ve lived in Madrona, I’d have– OK, I’d only have enough for a 6-pak of really good beer. But my point is, there’s never been a dearth of restaurants aiming for an ‘upscale’ clientele, just a shortage of enough clientele to keep those business full on a regular basis. No, I’m not calling $10-12 burgers upscale, but this notion that higher-income people don’t eat cheap food is pretty silly.

  10. PS… my point about Naam Thai was to say that after all the “upscale” places that have failed in that location, it’s nice to see a moderately-priced place doing very well. The neighborhood is supporting it very well precisely because of that.

  11. “…rather than languish and attract crowds more suited for the Central District.”

    Wtf does that even mean?? I can only assume what you meant, but that sentiment makes you sound like a classist and racist ass, imho…just what the Hill does NOT need.

    There should be a range of businesses and affordable options for EVERYONE on the Hill. I want to continue supporting a neighborhood with a diverse mix of people, incomes, races and businesses. Once that diversity is lost, so is the character that makes this neighborhood special.

  12. They may have been thinking it, but that means they were racist snobs too.

    I assure you there is no surplus of high-income people complaining, “I just can’t find anywhere expensive enough to eat!”

  13. First, I’m not sure why it’s mutually exclusive to be able to have discretionary income only if you live in the Central District?

    The other thing here is — and I agree with a prior poster — how is a $12 hamburger upscale? My point was that we need more moderately-priced AND higher-end places on CH than ever before. I’m thinking upscale being Sitka and Spruce. S&S is the type of place that attracts the MadPark crowds. Dick’s is neither moderately-priced NOR higher-end.

    I heard the same, though, about Po Dog — people who were balking about spending $20 on two hot dogs and two beers and thought it was hideously expensive. I say that we need more of this, especially so CH can continue to grow. I’d rather have a Po Dog or a Sitka and Spruce over a Dicks or some hole-in-the-wall Thai place.

    Finally, yes, you do see higher-income earners complaining. You can only go to the same few decent restaurants so many times before it gets boring. There are plenty of more upscale restaurants in the city, the problem is that there are only really a few really *good* restaurants to choose from.

    The issue I originally brought up is that, as a CH resident, I have no problem with seeing more affluent groups coming in, spending their money, benefitting CH. The more development that happens that’s positive (more expensive housing, restaurants, retail, etc) that CH can grow and sustain, the better. I just feel like some residents don’t like this because they will eventually be priced out of the neighborhood. That’s a pretty selfish attitude considering that, if they truly loved the neighborhood, they’d be happy to see CH prosper — with or without them.

  14. I agree with “more like this” to some degree, in that the trend towards more upscale businesses and condos is a very good thing for Capitol Hill….these things bring a more affluent element to the community to live and to work, and this in turn helps all businesses, upscale and lower-scale alike. Our neighborhood still has many, many less expensive restaurants, pizza places, Asian, and now “burger joints” to choose from…and this will always be the case, because of the presence of so many younger people living here.

    By the way, how do your previous posters know that the new place will have $12 burgers?….maybe, maybe not.

  15. Hey, “Hey,” that’s an over-reaction. I see nothing “whiney” about ProstSeattle’s comments. Why the crude request?

  16. Your neighborhood is changing. Its only going to get way more expensive and your rent will never go down. Crime is most likely to increase slightly (more muggings and car prowls but that will be about it). You are going a lot of bars and restaurants because it has become a destination, and alternative is now in. I lived on CH for 5 years and loved it mostly, but now that I a homeowner of a 90 year old 2 BR 2Ba house in the CD nothign could make me happier. You have to realize that the days of non HH cheap eats and cheap drinks are coming to a close on the Hill and anything that replaces something will automatically be more expensive. Sure the hood will become more generic and anywhere USA, but it is going to happen.

  17. Capitol Hill is changing for the worse. I don’t think we need a fake upscale retro “old timey” burger place. At least its not another mexican food place. What’s up with that? Does everyone come up with the exact same idea at the exact same time or what?

  18. Is it “worse” because you think you won’t eventually be able to afford CH?

    No offense, just trying to figure out why you wouldn’t want a successful, small business in this place that currently is just an abandoned area of the hill. Plus, I bet the folks who get jobs here probably enjoy it opening up…

  19. Hey Marcus and Li’l Woody’s
    Can you provide gluten free buns? It may not bring in a ton more business but hey… a few more folks who can enjoy your food never hurt.

    Thanks in advance.

  20. I’m not sure why you think a lack of enthusiasm over the current wave of similarly-themed restaurant equals current CH residents not being able to afford to live in the neighborhood. JimS made a great point about even the well off wanting food options that are affordable, and just not trying so damned hard.

  21. if you think the CD will ever become what CH is you are all wet. its not set up the same, its well established with some medium old, decent shape houses, has much less density) it takes a lot longer for gentrification to fully occur–the prob is people got sick of living on CH, found it overpriced (which everyone knows their rent is by about %25) and got sick of paying too much when for their dollars they can escape to Ballard (Zzz) or the Central District (new and improved). the things friends who rent and own in the CD enjoy..cheaper housing all the way around, good transit, easy access to water and woods, never having to look for a parking space (maybe more apartments would cure this I’m all for 6 story buildings from madison to cherry for sure) and very close access to CH via walk bike or bus or car.

    The restaurants over in madison park/valley are good for a hyper local quickie scene…madrona does not count (sorry pals) and being able to afford something that is yours with no HOA dues? Fantastic. Be happy I am coming to your neighborhood to spend my money at your bars and restaurants..better than the Belltown crowd which is on a “mission creep” of sorts–i’ve seen em more and more at the newer places like barrio tavern law, boom noodle..all places i have been but care not to go that much…and all these new places will welcome anyone with money. Get used to it.
    this sort of bad design and gross overhaul that has been blowing out CH will probably never happen in the CD for at least the next 80 years or so barring another great depression…they simply don’t have the commercial streets and areas like the HIll has. and the homeowners who dropped $390K for a 4 BR house this decade will not let that happen in their neighborhood–they own land there and have too much invested. The bad design ugly building will always be easier to slap into poorer neighborhoods or those with low home ownership rates.

    But at least the LINK will be there, and those lucky few who can still afford to pay rent on CH (projected to increase another %30min in the next 5 years on the outside). in the next 7 years–the entire character will have changed on CH..it already has started but wait and see.

  22. are construction valuation, which is REALLY different than actual cost. In fact I’d guess a multiple between 2 and 4.