CHS has learned details of two new Capitol Hill food and drink establishments that will fill in the blanks after the recent closures of Pike/Pine businesses that seemed to shut down without saying much. Details on the new restaurant destined to take over the Kiki space on E Pine and a rum bar slated for lower Pike, below.
When Kiki closed its doors last month, its owners, who said they had been looking to sell the restaurant, called the shuttering a “temporary closing.” We don’t know the particulars of the deal but we do know that the team behind a popular set of Eastside Mexican restaurants is stepping in. Noel Cortez, Jose Ambriz and Jesus Magaña will soon bring Fogon Cuisine of Mexico to the space at Belmont and E Pine. Magaña and his family opened the Mi Tierra restaurants in Monroe and Woodinville. You can check out the Mi Tierra menus and more at restaurantmitierra.com to get a sense of the offerings.
Cortez, who lives within not-so-long walking distance of the new restaurant’s space, says he knows the checkered history of the location — he’d been to Kurrent — and that he and his partners are ready for the challenge.
“[Mi Tierra] is more like Mexican restaurants that you might see in the suburbs,” Cortez said. “Going on Capitol Hill, we’re not going to try to change a lot but maybe refine it a little more.” He expects to put the 10 years of experience —- and recipes — from Mi Tierra to work at Fogon but with smaller, simpler preparations. And, yes, great margaritas.
“We know the clientele is it a bit different and we need to step up our game a little bit,” Cortez said.
Cortez said he thinks the space also needs more work to help enliven it and make it visible to the thousands of people who travel up and down E Pine every day.
The partners behind Fogon were looking for a place to open a new restaurant in the area for about four years. Cortez said he’s excited to be part of changes coming to this stretch of E Pine as construction of the Terravita apartment building draws to a close and new residents begin to move in. He is also excited about fewer trips to Monroe and Woodinville.
“We want to bring life back to that corner,” he said. “It’s a little bit of an experiment for us but I think we can do it.”
There are no sites or Facebook pages yet but the goal is to have Fogon open sometime in June.
Meanwhile, lower Pike also has a shuttered space re-opening but this project will mean a transition from retail to rum bar.
Rumba is slated to open late this summer on E Pike in the space formerly inhabited by street fashion dealer Goods. That shop abruptly skated off in February. Sliding into its place will be Rumba, an offshoot of the neighboring Tango. The new Travis Rosenthal project will feature a wide selection of rum and rum cocktails matched with Caribbean style food like empanadas. The “classic Cuban/caribbean themed bar” is described as “more bar and less restaurant” than Tango. It will serve until 2a.
Tango manager Kate Perry who will be moving over to Rumba said Rosenthal had been planning a new project and seized the opportunity when a nearby space opened up:
“Travis bought Tango 6 years ago and has been excited about opening a second place from the ground up,” she writes. “We love our lower cap hill neighborhood and when the opportunity to build out the old goods space (although we miss them dearly) happened, he jumped on it.”
Apparently Rosenthal is a rum man so the theme for the project was obvious. “We are excited to see what happens and to be the first rum-oriented bar in such a fantastic cocktail town,” Perry writes.
The project already has a Facebook page to keep you posted on progress. Judging by early pictures featuring piles of old drywall, there is plenty of work to do to complete the $140,000+ buildout. The plan is for the new bar to be open in “late summer 2012.”