At some point Tuesday, the kitchen crew, wait staff and bartenders of Lost Lake Cafe may have enjoyed a quiet moment before they never stop working — again. Capitol Hill’s 24-hour dive — with a buildout budget somewhere between Big Mario’s and Poquitos according to co-owner Dave Meinert — has started its round-the-clock service of Pike/Pine after a whirlwind of work to whip the new space into shape for it big debut. Expect it to be open to the public for the first time Wednesday morning at 8 AM.
“I’ll probably have the Philly cheesesteak or the Cuban pulled pork sandwich,” Meinert said of his plans for his first official order inside the new joint that rises on 10th Ave as cousin to his 5 Point Cafe in Belltown.
Like the 5 Point, the plan is for Lost Lake’s kitchen to always be open serving bonafide diner chow, slices of pie and — except for the hours between 2 and 6 AM when you’ll have to drink coffee or ginger ale or coffee mixed with ginger ale — booze.
To help make the operation work, Meinert and Jason Lajuenesse of Capitol Hill Block Party and Neumos have put 5 Point kitchen manager Jim Pearson and general manager Michele Young in charge of things up on the Hill, too.
The new space includes two separate entities joined by one kitchen. To the left, you’ll find the dark, taxidermy-friendly lounge with a long bar and booths worthy of passing out in around 3 in the morning. A wildcat prowls above. The wall-mounted pike rests and does not judge your pulltab habit. To the right, step into a brighter diner where you can choose a seat on a stool at the counter with a view of the pie case and the clock so you know just how much you are taking advantage of this 24-hour thing or at the rows of tables. Another set of booths also awaits you here — but this is the side for waking up, not blacking out.
On the menu, expect $8 burgers, $15 steaks and drunk food like baskets of mac and cheese wedges and onion rings. It’s also always breakfast. Yes, you can eat pancakes and drink a rum and Coke. You are an adult. Kids, by the way, are also totally welcome.
Also, for you early birds and graveyard shifters, Lost Lake will soon be home to the Hill’s only 6a happy hour. $3.50 wells, $2 beers. Good morning.
CHS first told you about plans for the former Block Party partners Meinert and Lajuenesse to team up on a Pike/Pine cafe last September as planning began to transform former gay sex club Basic Plumbing into a dual-sided diner and lounge. By February, the highly anticipated project revealed its name evoking Pacific Northwest getaways and the good time found — sometimes — in a simpler world. As its planned spring opening drew near, an April fire scorched the building but only ended up setting the project back a few weeks while giving the project, already deep in nostalgia real and imagined, more back story for its legend.
In its 24-hour status, Lost Lake joins a short but much-loved list of Seattle restaurants including The Hurricane and Beth’s plus newcomers the Square Knot. Providing all-hours food and drink on the Hill has remained a coveted but elusive opportunity. There are plenty of Seattle U students and other creatures of the night to serve. Skillet — the closest in look and feel to Lost Lake on the diner end of things doesn’t try it. Only Glo’s does serious middle-of-the-night food and drink business on the Hill and even that is restricted to the weekend. Other late night players have started and usually faded away though E Madison’s IHOP is always an option.
Meanwhile, the overhaul of the old sex club around the corner from the Comet continues the changes on 10th Ave that have seen the Odd Fellows building reinvigorated and Elliott Bay Book Company succeeding in its Capitol Hill move. A brand new dive diner, for now, completes the street.
You can learn more at lostlakecafe.com.