The writing has been on the wall. On a sign. Above E Pine. Capitol Hill institution Travelers Tea Co. has lived its recent life under a “for lease” advertisement for more than a year. CHS has learned that the time has come for change. Eric Logan of E Pike’s Gamma Ray Games says he will open a new gaming cafe in the Travelers location by mid-August.
“We tried to find a unique space and I decided to jump now before too many others realize what an opportunity this is,” Logan said.
Across the street, the new Terravita apartments and retail spaces are finishing construction. Once a key restaurant tenant falls into place, the smaller spaces will likely fill in, too. Logan’s space on E Pine is secure.
For Travelers, the change comes as fans of the funky provider of thali, chai and good karma have rallied to raise money to help cover medical expenses for one of the cafe’s owners — and one year from our news that the boutique, market and cafe was branching out to Beacon Hill in a bid to start a second location as things became uncertain with their new landlord on E Pine, Ron Amundson.
With the “for lease” sign above his head, Travelers owner Allen Kornmesser continued on in the location his business has called home since 1998. Now the days for Travelers on E Pine are officially numbered.
We’ve reached out to Travelers management for more information on the situation but our messages have not yet been returned.
On Tuesday, CHS reported that another of Capitol Hill funkier cafes, Faire on E Olive Way, was also going out of business.
The new gaming cafe will be an offshoot of the original Gamma Ray Games. The store will continue to operate as a retailer of strategy and board games on E Pike but use of its upstairs gaming space will shift over to the new E Pine cafe where Logan is planning things to be very bright and the music, quiet.
Game nights at other area bars and restaurants will also be absorbed by the new cafe.
Logan, who readily admits he has zero restaurant experience, hopes the menu will be affordable and provide variety for regular gamers who sometimes spend multiple nights a week doing battle with dice, cards and plastic game pieces. Beer and wine will be served. Requests from gamers for a full bar are being considered but are probably not likely. Food will be served on — literrally — small plates to maximize play space at tables.
“The cafe will be basically be a large play space,” Logan said.
He’s still noodling on names. Could be The Raygun Cafe. Could be Game Bar. The plan is to be open by mid-August following an overhaul of the space and just in time for the cafe to host its first big event planned around the start of this year’s Penny Arcade Expo.
“Our three year anniversary is June 15th,” Logan said of biting off the new project. “We’re ready. The first year we had no idea how it was going to go. The second year was going well but we were like ‘We don’t want to risk it.’”
Confidence gained in those three years plus a wave of successful ventures with similar models including Ballard’s Mox Cafe have convinced Logan that he’s ready to advance his Capitol Hill born and bred business to a new space on the board.
“This is yet again a bold risk,” Logan said. ”I know as little about opening a cafe as I did about opening a store”