Capitol Hill food+drink | Governor, mayor at soon-to-open Stateside to launch initiative to help indie restaurateurs

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Stateside owner Eric Johnson surrounded by elected officials inside his under construction E Pike restaurant (Photo: CHS)

Earlier this year first-time restaurant owner Eric Johnson discovered he needed to have part of E Pike closed off in order to run a new gas line into his upcoming French-Vietnamese fusion restaurant, Stateside. Unsure where to turn, Johnson was put in touch with the city’s Office of Economic Development and Jennifer Tam, who helped expedite the work.

On Thursday, a cast of top elected officials appeared at Stateside to announce the formalization of Tam’s role as the city’s restaurant advocate and the launch of a new initiative intended to help guide Seattle’s first time restaurateurs through the multi-layered process of opening a new business.

A sneak peek at Stateside's color (Image @shaunhong via Instagram)

A sneak peek at Stateside’s colors (Image @shaunhong via Instagram)

Thanks in part to Tam’s work, Johnson said he expects Stateside to open by late November. “Just having one real person to turn to helps,” he said.

Restaurant Success is a private-public partnership between the state, county, city, and Washington Restaurant Association that began two years ago with conversations at the Seattle City Council about how to ease the barrier to entry for new restaurateurs.

growseattle restaurant motion infographic (english) from City of Seattle OED on Vimeo.

Governor Jay Inslee, Mayor Ed Murray, and King County Executive Dow Constantine joined the Washington Restaurant Association for the launch at Stateside.

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The Stateside kitchen is expected to be up and running next month (Photo: CHS)

Stateside, which will offer a blend of “fresh flavors of Vietnam with French influence,” is currently building out the 2,400 square-foot restaurant space where offices and parking used to be hidden away between the Six Arms tavern and Victrola.

The Restaurant Success initiative is starting in Seattle and will next expand to Spokane, and then across the state. Restaurant owners at the launch event, including Taylor Hoang of Pho Cyclo, said having one place to go for regulatory information would greatly reduce the amount of stress and time involved in opening a new business.

Earlier this month CHS told you about the regulatory trials and tribulations of the the husband and wife team working to transform 15th Ave E’s Bagel Deli into their dream restaurant. Sur 16 owner Javier Dalzell said he has spent weeks just trying to secure permits.

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(Image: CHS — Source: data.seattle.gov)

Dalzell and other Capitol Hill area entrepreneurs will probably appreciate the help of the new initiative but, they’ve been making pretty solid headway on their own. CHS pulled food+drink related construction permits for the area from 2009 to the present and found more than 200 projects in the mix. 2014 already features more buildout work around the Hill than we saw in 2013 — and there are still a few more months to go. Meanwhile, the median dollar value provided for each project has risen from the more modest work in 2011 and prior. What the heck happened in 2010? Many of those project opened in 2011. CHS was there! (Image: CHS — Source: data.seattle.gov)

According to the city, the average Seattle restaurant takes 261 days to open. The restaurant industry in Washington state employs around 200,000 people. According to the WRA, 82 percent of restaurants in the state employ 20 or fewer employees.

During the press conference at Stateside, a TV reporter asked Murray if the initiative represented an olive branch to the restaurant industry after a contentious fight over the mayor’s $15 an hour minimum wage law. Murray said there was no connection between the two and that planning for the Restaurant Success was well underway before he became mayor.

The Stateside area will see even more activity soon as Starbucks and Tom Douglas move in to create a new roastery complex and the new Melrose and Pine mega-development digs in around the corner.

Capitol Hill food+drink notes by jseattle

  • The Electric Tea Garden reopening? CHS found signs that a plan was afoot. We finally heard from owner Bruce Mason who says he has nothing planned “in the immediate future.” OK, then.
  • 10610759_553600501408784_6677925089878566188_n18th Ave’s new wine bar Bannister is pushing its grand opening back a few days. You can check out the new project from Tougo Coffee owner Brian Wells starting Tuesday, November 4th.
  • 14th Ave’s Nue is about three weeks from opening, says Facebook. CHS wrote about the modernist take on global street food here.
  • Also open soon should be 15th Ave E’s Kanak. CHS wrote about the new Indian restaurant inspired by the agricultural heartland of India’s north earlier this month. The menu is up (and the online ordering button waits tantalizingly).
  • French onion soup at Cafe Barjot (Image: Cafe Barjot)

    French onion soup at Cafe Barjot (Image: Cafe Barjot)

    Summit Ave’s Cafe Barjot is hosting pop-up dinners this weekend (first come, first served!) before jumping full into the dinner game in November.

  • Speaking of pop-ups, Capitol Hill doughnut bar venture 9th & Hennepin will be at Cafe Pettirosso Sunday night as part of a last push for the project’s Kickstarter campaign.
  • Doughnut bar? Of course. Also… a 12th/Pike dog bar is happening for sure.
  • And a Capitol Hill cat bar seems like a highly probable component of your neighborhood food+drink options.
  • Hey, Purr turned 9. Happy birthday.
  • We don’t know what the good people who used to haunt Aurafice Coffee would have thought of it all — but you can ask their restless spirits at this Day of the Dead gathering.
  • We cringe easily:
    “It’s a great small town watering hole near my ski cabin that has the perfect mix of local characters and mountain goers to keep it entertaining!” Drink pick: A cold can of Rainier. Ericka Burke (Volunteer Park Cafe, Chophouse Cafe) from Where Seattle Chefs Drink After the Kitchen Closes
  • Yikes:
    There have been so many rumours and nasty things being said about Bauhaus firing everyone for cheap labor that I unfortunately feel forced to publicly respond. I am not a public person and I’m not sure how to do this because there will be blow back no matter what I do, but I guess at least trying to set the record straight will hopefully be better than having the lies out there to fester.
    Continues here. We had a little more on the issues at Bauhaus here last week.
  • We’ve been told yet another project has backed out from its plans to be the first tenant in the commercial space on the ground floor of the fancy Pine+Minor building adjacent the Melrose Market. At one point lined up to be home to Corretto, another sweet little project this fall pulled the plug on its plans for the space. The Perkins Will-designed building was completed in summer 2013 but the commercial space has never hosted a tenant.
  • Want to learn the trade of an old school butcher with new food and drink sensibilities? Rain Shadow Meats Melrose is looking for an apprentice butcher.
  • You can order a vegan sundae at Molly Moon’s.
  • What does it mean to be home to the 6th best bar in the world? We tried to show you here with a visit to Canon.
  • Amendine bakery and Slate Coffee will open this spring.
  • Bethany Jean Clement says goodbye to Stranger-style food writing before saying hello to Seattle Times-style food writing.
  • Macklemore’s new rap: “Best of Seattle… Best fish: Kingfish Cafe’s Catfish (and candied yams)”
  • Speaking of which… finally :)

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