CHS Year in Review 2012 | Capitol Hill food+drink doubles down

Inside the Bait Shop (Image: CHS)

Our write-up reviewing 2011 — the year Capitol Hill food and drink broke — positioned the period as a seminal moment when the Hill’s explosive growth in the entertainment economy reached a new, super-star level. Unlike punk in ’92, what follows is apparently not a sellout but a doubling down. Investment in the Capitol Hill food+drink economy continued nearly unabated in 2012. Familiar names put even more chips in play. New hands joined a few tables. And some crapped out nearly as quickly as they were dealt in. Here is a look at the year that was. You can let us know anything we left out — but should have included — in comments.


Earnhardt and cake (Image: Alex Crick for CHS)

Familiar names
Many of the biggest investments in Capitol Hill’s food and drink economy in 2012 were made by investors already holding a steak, er, stake in the neighborhood. 

  • Want to do it classy style? First you tell everybody exactly what you are going to do. Then you do exactly that. And it’s still exciting when everybody gets to be part of it. Linda Derschang made a big splash when news broke that she was planning her first return to Broadway since her days in retail. Bait Shop debuted to end 2012 and, believe it or not, lived down to every hyped expectation for the latest Derschang dive bar. That’s how you do it classy style.
  • Volunteer Park Cafe vet Heather Earnhardt teamed up with a community of supporters to bring her Southern-style bakery The Wandering Goose  to life on 15th Ave E.
  • The big player that is Ethan Stowell Restaurants bet even more money on Capitol Hill as it stacked its chips on 15th Ave. First,  Rione XIII debuted and slowly developed a dedicated following in the core of the 15th Ave E business district. Then came word of an expansion of Stowell’s efforts at 15th and Pine as a new charcuterie component is added to The Pearl building’s retail strip.
  • The much-loved Cafe Pettirosso was reincarnated on 11th Ave. You can add new names Miki and Yuki Sodos to the Capitol Hill milieu.
  • The owners behind Quinn’s moved their little Zoe up the Hill from Belltown for a February 2012 debut and a successful reinvention of the longtime Seattle favorite.
  • Meanwhile, others doubled down — way down. Neumos debuted a subterranean evil twin, Barboza. As did the Unicorn which spawned The Narwhal  to kick off the Capitol Hill summer.
  • The Add-a-Ball boys brought pinball to John John’s Gameroom  on E Olive Way. You can notch another in the dearly departed column for the outgoing Faire.
  • Kaladi debuted a lovely overhaul on E Pike.
  • Jeremy Hardy gaves his Coastal Kitchen a 20-year makeover.
  • Marcus Lalario brought the third incarnation under his watch to Harvard and E Pike in sports bar 95 Slide.

    The sisters Sodos (Image: Suzi Pratt for CHS)

    A new Zoe was born (Image: CHS)

Used to be Rosebud (Image: Doug McLaughlin for CHS)

Crumble & Flake’s Robertson (Image: Dave Lichterman for CHS)

New players
The year also saw plenty of newbies and Capitol Hill rookies enter the field. Will we see any of these owners play another hand in 2013?

Know when to fold em
This is a limited “dearly departed” list. There were a few other casualties among both fresh efforts and long-time loves. While we’ll use language from around war and games and Wall Street to sometimes describe the efforts, know this — CHS is well aware that none of this happens without passion and a lot of work. Pardon us if it ever seems we take a closure too lightly.

More sadness

Bets on the future 

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