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- A hole in the Pike/Pine food and drink scene is about to be filled. And we’re not talking about the space left behind when E Pike at 11th’s Oasis Cafe faded away earlier this summer after failing to attract a buyer. No, we refer to the space in your Capitol Hill tummy reserved for tiki cocktails and Taiwanese+Mexican LA fusion chow that Chino’s is prepared to set to work on next week as first-time restaurateurs Mari Tiscareño Lee and Walter Lee make their opening plans.
“We want to build around the drinks,” Tiscareño Lee tells CHS about the Chino’s strategy for muscling in on the E Pike scene in straight-up, working-class Southern California style. “We want to be a bar where people can get great food.”
At the center of the showcase, the Lees are building around former Poppy bartender Veronika Groth to bring SoCal-style tiki into the Pike/Pine mix. Think Dodger fans drinking mai tais. Except, these are Dodger fans you don’t hate. Even though they root for the Dodgers.
Inside the lightly overhauled restaurant at the corner of E Pike and 11th, the Chino’s team has installed more counter space and added their own touches like custom stools and a — LA authentic, we’re told — cinder block bar. Mari also had the old velour curtains removed, she said. Good call. Later, a mural from the guy who gave the Unicorn its legendary paint job is planned for the entry wall.
As for the food, here’s what Walter told us about the concept when we first reported on Chino’s back in July:
It will be Taiwanese and Mexican small plates, to share, while drinking. The food will be authentic and true to the flavors of the cultures, rather than “fusion” (where you have chipotle mayo on a sushi roll, or kobe sliders with wasabi aioli). Rather, we will serve simple, authentic comfort/street food, that is true to the flavor profiles of Taiwanese-Chinese food, as well as *real* Mexican food — which is very similar to Chinese food (think of slow braised or roasted cheap cuts of meat and meat parts with simple spices, NOT cheese-drenched refried beans or heavy, fried, floury things like chimichangas).
With liquor license in hand and the paperwork from city agencies just about signed, the duo hopes to be serving its first mai tais and gua bao late next week. Stay tuned to @chinos_seattle to keep track.
- Will Broadway’s Galerias be able to recover from last week’s intense and smoky fire? Seattle Fire hasn’t released the results of investigation yet in the $800,000 blaze.
- Lots of Capitol Hill food & drink deals on the big Shop the Hill independent Black Friday sale roster.
- Dude! Dude from Faith No More lined up to take over former Rosebud space.
- Central District’s Beehive Bakery shutters after a few short months at 23rd and Union.
- “The latest trend in menu verbiage may be most interesting of all: Naming the staff. The opening menu at the new Marché in Pike Place Market lists both chef (the great Daisley Gordon, who piloted the kitchen of Marché’s predecessor, Campagne) and sous. Maria Hines has been spreading the love for years at Tilth with this practice, naming the chef de cuisine and the sous in addition to herself; when she opened Golden Beetle earlier this year she also threw the lead line cook in for good measure.”
- Owner of CHS advertiser Ba Bar sold off his Capitol Hill Baguette Box location to finance his new 12th Ave venture — and this talented pastry chef. Oh, they also have “Hue dumplings prepared by hand.”
- One baker enters, another leaves. Goodbye to Volunteer Park Cafe’s Heather Earnhardt.
- Speaking of Eric Banh, his family’s Monsoon empire got poached as Bako nets a new chef.
- 12th Ave’s The Lemongrass is getting a full bar.
- Turkey Day! Our list of sides and pies you can order (but better be quick) and Capitol Hill restaurants and bars serving Thanksgiving Day feasts.
- Like most marketing, it’s either warped… or brilliant. Cupcake Royale is giving away free pumpkin maple babycake with any Stumptown espresso drink purchase on Thanksgiving morning. Think of it as a pre-game stretch, they say, before the feasting.
- Eater Seattle’s 2011 awards are very Capitol Hill thanks to Jamie Boudreau and Laura Olson.
- Slog has details on various types of delicious hot chocolates available from Oddfellows this winter.
- 8oz Burger Seattle — also LA-style — has a sign.
- Broadway’s The Byzantion has breakfast now, banner says. That’s all we know. They’re not on Facebook. Call? Suppose we could.
- Oola Distillery: winner.
- “A peculiarly charming gem on Capitol Hill, it features curtain-shrouded booths that offer the ultimate in privacy for a rumor-plagued couple.”
- We’re finally running out of space for new bars it appears.
This week’s CHS food+drink advertiser directory