The building is in the neighborhood where he lived for years and he is already a longtime CHS reader. Now a first-time owner just needs to transform a failed Capitol Hill nightclub into Seattle’s next big thing in Chinese restaurants.
“It’s definitely my first project,” Steve Cheng says of Zhu Dang, the restaurant and event space he is building in the former location of The Social nightclub on E Olive Way. “I spent the last 10 years working in kitchens. I’ve been wanting to open a place for a while now. We’re really fortunate we found this building.”
Zhu Dang — Pig Party, Cheng says for a kind of fantasy progressive political party that he just likes the sound of — will “bring updated Chinese food with a Northwest vibe” to the collection of nightspots growing on E Olive Way.
“We want to focus on flavor above tradition, while still remaining true to the Chinese palate,” Cheng said. “Our aim is to create interesting, delicious food with quality ingredients at a reasonable price.”
He also wants to create a place for some really big dinners. Cheng plans to put the former footprint of the 8,000 square-foot Social to work as both a restaurant and an 100-person event space where celebrants can host receptions and parties. The club, which shuttered last year amid struggles with the state liquor board, was also home to a related restaurant venture that ceased operations within months of its opening. In addition to expunging any lingering karma, Cheng plans to expand the existing kitchen greatly and overhaul the entirety of the old club and restaurant space to make a more unified venue. He also plans to make big changes to the outdoor deck that rises above the street and is separated from the activity below. While club planners probably envisioned a swank party deck filled with 24-hour party people, the patio with the building partly empty has most often been filled with campers and junkies. Cheng is looking forward to creating a new outdoor area more connected with the streetscape.
Inside, Cheng also promised on-tap cocktails and a jazz-influence hip hop soundtrack for your dining pleasure.
For some, the venture might be reminiscent of the ill-fated Bako on Broadway that opened in part of the overhauled Jade Pagoda building before shuttering and clearing the decks for Bait Shop. Perhaps Bako’s failure can be part of Cheng’s success.
“There’s not a lot of Chinese on the Hill,” Cheng said. “This is a good opportunity to put something unique in the neighborhood.”
If not, at least he’ll get to visit his old stomping grounds. Cheng says he lived about two blocks away for several years before moving recently north of the Cut.
Zhu Dang is planned for a late summer opening. There are no sites or Facebook pages yet — we’ll keep you posted. Oh, and by the way, you should pronounce it “Zoo Don” — not “Zoo Dang,” like lead-tongued CHS.
Capitol Hill food+drink notes
- Nik Virrey has probably poured you a drink or pulled you and espresso on Capitol Hill. His new Matte & Gloss consultancy wants to show bars and restaurants how to do it right.
- The new Google-powered Zagat on Cone & Steiner:
Expect to fill your cart with artisan cheeses, fermented foods and produce, along with prepared comfort food meals from Skillet Diner, and more. There’s a station to refill your growlers, and fresh-cut flowers, too. As the staff gets settled in, there are plans to offer tastings and demos. We can’t help wondering if this might just be the first of a series. Stay tuned.
We can’t help but wonder, too! Because, the C&S crew already said, yes, they’re working on new markets. Wonder away!
- A familiar face in Capitol Hill food+drink popped up in the application pile to become a legal pot shop owner. Anybody else we should know about it that pile?
- Looking forward to first Hill restaurant offering a marijuana pairing menu.
- German pop-up Dackel is back on E Olive Way.
- Happy 10/20 to Neumos and Moe’s. Long may she wave.
- Speaking of the 10th and 20th anniversary celebration, Moe’s is rolling prices back to 1994 Tuesday. We’re not sure exactly how much a well whiskey soda cost in 1994 but we assume it was cheaper than it is today. Happy Moe’sday.
- Lost Lake is supporting Lifelong this month if your food+drink venue would like to get involved.
- Now at Ba Bar — 50 cent wings every Tuesday night.
- Chuck’s Central District is pretty swell. Look inside.
- Seattle Magazine visits the CD’s Humble Pie. You probably should, too.
- Best place to watch the game now that Bill’s is on timeout?
|This week’s CHS food+drink advertiser directory|