Juicebox, Cafe Barjot scale up to satisfy two-block Capitol Hill dinner crowds

(Image: Cafe Barjot)

(Image: Cafe Barjot)

They’re not necessarily destination restaurants but there is a new set of small, neighborhood dinners spots around the Hill ready to serve their thousands of walking-distance neighbors.

“We did so very little marketing but I asked for an email blast to the building,” Wylie Bush tells us about drumming up customers for a few quiet test nights of dinner at Bellevue Ave’s Cafe Barjot. The cafe space in the Belroy Apartments development will officially open for dinner next week. Born as a daytime sibling to nearby Joe Bar this summer, Barjot is now ready to add nighttime duty with a small but powerful dinner menu and European-style cocktails. Nick Coffey, formerly of Sitka and Spruce, runs the kitchen and turned out pork sausage, ravioli, and delicata squash for the first nighttime run in the cafe space.

“It’s such an awesome space,” Bush said of the buildout originally completed for the ill-fated Chico Madrid project. “It felt natural.”

Juicebox for dinner
12th Ave also is adding a natural place for dinner but after a much longer test run than Barjot.

“We were just realizing that doing one-off dinners is really, really challenging,” Kari Brunson said of Juicebox’s early forays into special event dinners after its November 2013 debut on 12th between Pike and Pine. “It’s a lot of time and effort for one big thing.”

Wednesday night, Juicebox will open for what Brunson and her business partner Brandin Myett hope is a long-term engagement expanding its menu of fresh, raw ingredients into heartier nighttime offerings until 9 PM every Wednesday through Saturday.

“There will be a little more sophistication,” Brunson said “But we’re kind of open to what people want to do there.”

With items like the brown rice congee now a permanent part of the menu, Juicebox’s dinner offerings will include many of the daytime favorites along with warmer approaches, more egg dishes, and, of course, more excuses for a glass of biodynamic wine.

For both Juicebox and Barjot, the shift into dinnertime offerings made sense given the needs of their neighborhood customers. It’s a similar story to what Tougo Cafe owner Brian Wells told us drove him to open charcuterie and wine bar Bannister on 18th Ave next door to his coffee shop. Bannister, by the way, celebrated its grand opening Tuesday night. You can also add the recently opened Single Shot on Summit Ave to your updated list of small, neighborhood dinner spots catering to their own personal two-block radius.

Both Bush and Brunson said it was only a matter of getting their feet on the ground before attempting to scale up to meet that two-block opportunity.

“We’re almost at our one year point,” Brunson said. “I think the Brandin and myself — we’ve gotten into the rhythm of what Juicebox is.” She says the plan is for the cafe space to eventually be put to “maximum use at all times.”

“This was the last piece of the puzzle,” Bush said of his effort on Bellevue Ave. “It’s getting into the groove now.”

Juicebox is located at 1517 12th Ave. You can learn more at juiceboxseattle.com. Cafe Barjot is located at 711 Bellevue Ave E. You can learn more — open for dinner Tuesday thru Saturday 5 – 10 PM starting with their November 13th debut — at barjotseattle.com.

The menus

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3 thoughts on “Juicebox, Cafe Barjot scale up to satisfy two-block Capitol Hill dinner crowds

  1. Great example of mixed use done right. This stretch of Bellevue and Summit is an abnormality. Almost all the rest of Capitol Hill doesn’t allow commercial retail outside of the arterial streets. Such a missed opportunity.