Friday’s weather forecast calls for a drizzly day in the 60s. Like we said — Capitol Hill summer has begun. A new project underway on E Pine in a long empty shop space might fit nicely into our, um, sunny days — if its owner can find the time to get it open.
“We think it’s the right place for a smoothie and bubble tea cafe,” I-Miun Liu tells CHS about his plans to open his fourth Oasis Tea Zone on Capitol Hill later this year.
But first Liu has to find time to get the 1,100-square-foot former E Pine video store fully permitted for a cafe and built out. That would be easier said than done with Liu in the middle of a major overhaul of his popular International District coffee house, Eastern Cafe. Liu said Oasis Capitol Hill will definitely be open before the end of the year. If you’re lucky, you might be enjoying bubble tea this summer
Liu said the start of the school year will be the most important milestone for opening as he expects his main customer base to be the thousands of Seattle Central students that attend classes just up the street. Oasis will keep its typical student-friendly, later-night hours in the E Pine space nestled between Stumptown Coffee and Fogon restaurant. Third Man Video went out of business and shuttered the space way back in June 2012. Meanwhile, last week across the street, 611 Supreme closed abruptly after 18 years of business.
While some may have liked to see Liu behind an Eastern Cafe-styled coffee shop on the Hill, the veteran cafe operator said the area is just too inundated with great coffee for another espresso bar. But a bubble tea bar? The new Oasis will become the Hill’s only dedicated provider.
Liu said he owes the opportunity to his new landlord who also happened to be a customer at one of the original three Oasis locations. The building owner made the pitch and Liu said he jumped in — perhaps maybe a little prematurely with somebody with so much already on his plate.
“Years ago, we really wanted to be right across from Seattle Central but couldn’t get in to that building,” he said. “That really opened my eyes to the opportunity up there.”
Oasis Capitol Hill will open… well, when Liu gets to it. You can keep track at oasisteazone.com.