Capitol Hill food+drink | Poppy sibling Lionhead will open on Broadway in 2015

Camel foot with leeks probably won’t be on the menu but the flavors and surprises the husband and husband team behind Capitol Hill’s Poppy found on their travels in China last year have helped inspire a new venture neighboring the now six-year-old Broadway restaurant. Chef Jerry Traunfeld tells CHS he will open the Sichuan-flavored Lionhead in the former cheesecake bakery next door to Poppy late next spring.

Named for “a Chinese breed of fancy goldfish,” Lionhead will be a “small restaurant” and bar serving “Chinese food with an emphasis on Sichuan dishes.”

“It’s a big departure from the seasonal, herb-inspired style of cooking I’ve become known for but I’ve been working on this idea for many years,” Traunfeld said.

After downsizing this fall, The Confectional will continue its mini-cheesecake business in Pike Place Market. Mallet will head up the transformation and buildout of the former cafe and bakery.

Inspired by his culinary tour of China with husband and Poppy collaborator Stephen Hudson and food writer Fuchsia Dunlop, Traunfeld said he has long held a passion for cooking Chinese food at home. “The thing that I’m really learning is the simplicity of Chinese cooking, and that you can always taste the ingredient, it’s not hidden,” he told glossy Food & Wine last year.

Traunfeld said he wants Lionhead to comfortable and affordable. Take-out will eventually be part of the plan. But you’ll need to find your dim sum elsewhere.

Lionhead isn’t the first recent attempt at creating a Chinese-focused restaurant venture on north Broadway. Bako opened in fall of 2011 but quickly seemed doomed by the ghosts of the Jade Pagoda. You’ll find Bait Shop in that space today.

The Lionhead news comes as Capitol Hill is about to get a new burst of energy around Chinese cuisine. Zhu Dang, the restaurant CHS broke the news on way back in January taking over the former home of a failed E Olive Way nightclub, will open before Christmas. “I want us to be a Christmas Day tradition,” first time restauranteur Steve Cheng tells us. We’ll have more on his “Pig Party” soon.

While some chef owners in the city have opened a half dozen new projects in the past six years, Lionhead will be the first new venture from Traunfeld since (longtime CHS advertiser) Poppy debuted. Though it represents a departure from the Pacific Northwest thali he’s become known for, Traunfeld says he’s ready to pour himself into a new project. “It will be exciting to create a restaurant serving my take on traditional Chinese dishes, using quality ingredients and my personal approach to the flavors and cooking methods of this cuisine,” Traunfeld said. And, he adds, thanks to the neighboring location, he can “literally be two places at once.”

Lionhead will be located at 618 Broadway E one door south of Poppy.

Capitol Hill food+drink notes

  • UPDATE: Capitol Hill food and drink veteran Lark re-opens Thursday night in the newly overhauled Central Agency Building. Details on the debut:
    Semantics aside, it’s unquestionably gorgeous. And as of this evening, it’s Lark’s official new home. The growing up isn’t just figurative. Perched atop the dining room is Bitter/Raw, a completely separate bar serving charcuterie and crudo. It, too, opens at 5pm. Slab Sandwiches and Pie, the takeaway coffee and sandwich shop tucked behind Lark’s bar (the new Lark has a proper bar!) will follow by the end of the year.

    Slab sandwiches comes later this month.

  • Also coming to north Broadway: Herb and Bitter, the bar and restaurant project from Jesus Escobar, the man behind the legendary Noc Noc and, now, Belltown’s Rocco’s.
  • Meanwhile on north Broadway, the guy behind the Melrose Market is building something new out of something old.
  • Mid Broadway? Annapurna is expanding to the surface with a new bar.
  • Stateside is open in Melrose. It was closed on Thanksgiving but its creator says he plans for it to be open every day — forever! — from here on out.
  • Meanwhile, around the corner Mamnoon moves into its third year as a Capitol Hill food+drink veteran.
  • ICYMI: Rachel’s Ginger Beer is (finally) coming (back) to Capitol Hill.
  • Guess who:
    Our attorney at the time came across this building; there was an eviction notice. Somehow we tracked down the owner. The dining room was split in half; there was a raised dance area, a disco ball. There was sort of this tropical looking bar—almost a tiki bar—in the back. It was pretty hokey.
  • Modernist street food play Nue rounding into shape on 14th Ave:

  • Also about to make its debut, Vancouver BC-born izakaya bar Suika.10462882_406686209481870_8991184713895202857_n
  • 25 years of Thai on Capitol Hill at Ayutthaya.
  • Sandwich joint Mammoth ready to open in Eastlake.
  • The Zaw pizza location at 15th and Pine has been shuttered since this summer but a new liquor license application indicates plans to reopen… as a retooled Zaw.
  • TV visits Rhein Haus.
  • Sun Liquor’s eggnog has hit the big time.
  • 25% off at Shibumi with a ticket to see Seven Samurai at Northwest Film Forum.
  • Madison Park loses a restaurant.
  • Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 4.29.18 PMAs we speculated, the old firehouse formerly home to On 15th Video is being marketed as a fabulous home for a new Capitol Hill restaurant:
    Highlights
    – Fantastic location in the center of Capitol Hill’s vibrant 15th Avenue East corridor – perched on the corner of 15th Ave E and Harrison
    – Originally constructed in 1920, Fire House No. 7 (aka Engine Company Seven) is a well-maintained brick building loaded with character!
    – Former home of Video on 15th
    – Concrete floors, high ceilings, exposed brick walls throughout
    – Large operable wood storefront doors and windows throughout
    – Off-street parking area for 5 vehicles (can be used for dedicated outdoor seating/dining area) included in rent
    – Ability to vent a type 1 hood grease duct
    – Neighboring Tenants include Rione XIII, Wandering Goose, Liberty, Coastal Kitchen, Smith and Nu Flours Bakery
    – Transform this space into something spectacular!
    – 2,098 SF available (divisible to 1,500 SF)
    – Rental rate $35/SF/YR + NNN ($532/mo) = $6,651/month
  • Celebrity spotting:

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14 thoughts on “Capitol Hill food+drink | Poppy sibling Lionhead will open on Broadway in 2015

  1. Very excited for this venture–the hubby and I enjoy Poppy, but feel it’s gotten a bit stagnant in recent years. Looking forward to trying out some of Traunfeld’s new recipes!

  2. Hope the food’s good. There’s too many restaurants being opened by some white guy who traveled through a certain country and then thinks he’s suddenly a master chef of that countries food. I hope the kitchen staff is actually from Sichuan. I’m not saying it can’t be done. I’m just not impressed with many of them, or some of the fusion places. Trove isn’t even recognizable as Korean food, and yet it’s packed with yuppies who think they’re eating korean food.

    • It’s not about race. It’s about the fact that someone who grew up watching their family prepare a food a certain way can ALMOST always do it better than someone who visits a country (even for 6 years) and tries to bring the food here. It can be done but it’s not easy.

    • Don’t worry it won’t be. This is the same restaurant that makes an aweful version of what they pass off as “Indian food”.

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