Yes, the former Kingfish Cafe will soon reopen as a Pike/Pine-powered Italian joint, the Catfish Corner is no more, and Philly Fevre has moved aside, but there’s hope for Seattle’s inner city soul food, yet. Ms. Helen is coming back to 23rd and Union.
And Nate’s Wings and Waffles is coming to 12th and Jefferson.
“The new shop — it’s a lot bigger,” owner Darren McGill tells CHS of the former Ethiopian restaurant at 1224 E Jefferson being ripped apart in anticipation of a fall opening of the new chicken and waffle joint. “We’ll have an extended menu and a full bar.”
McGill’s original Nate’s opened in 2014 in Rainier Beach, the home neighborhood of restaurant investor and NBA point guard Nate Robinson. Robinson, of course, is also the guy who put his name on the business.
But while Robinson is the face of the business, McGill is the soul of the kitchen. The food truck entrepreneur has parlayed success with Happy Grillmore into a highly regarded and growing soul food venture. The 12th and Jeff expansion, he hopes, is one of more to come.
“When I got to Seattle, I saw that you guys don’t really have a chicken and waffle place here,” McGill said of the opportunity he originally pursued with prolific Pike/Pine food, drink, and nightlife entrepreneur Marcus Lolario. “I found a spot over in Rainier Beach and was 75% done and kind of running out of funding,” McGill said.
McGill says he has known Nate Robinson’s agent for a long time and told them about the project. With the partnership with Lolario broken up, the timely collaboration with Robinson worked — McGill found his funding and Robinson, who reportedly had been frustrated by his attempts to bring a Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles franchise to Seattle, found a business opportunity that matched up with his home neighborhood and his personality.
“He’ll just pop up and start buying everybody chicken,” McGill said.
In addition to Nate’s wings, you’ll want to try the waffles which range far beyond the 3-point-line of waffledom.
“We just get really creative with the waffles,” McGill said. This week’s special, for example, is the Monte Cristo with ham, havarti cheese, spiced apples, raspberry glaze, peanut butter sauce, garnished with candied ham and dusted with powdered sugar.
The new Nate’s will join an area near Seattle U’s hungry and occasionally splurge-y student population and a growing area for food and drink options. McGill said he especially appreciates being close to Eric Banh’s projects with Ba Bar (opened 2011) around the corner and steakhouse 7 Beef (expected to open this June) just up the block. Nearby, Taste of the Carribean is also providing soul nourishment with an island vibe.
Nate’s Wings and Waffles is planned to open at 1224 E Jefferson by the fall. You can learn more at nateswingsandwaffles.com.
Capitol Hill food+drink notes
- The next huge name in PNW food and drink coming to Capitol Hill has announced her restaurants are going tipless as part of Seattle’s new minimum wage law. Renee Erickson has announced her restaurants will instead add an automatic 18.5% service fee. We’ve heard more of the same is coming to the city’s food and drink scene. Let us know if you’ve found other tipless spots on Capitol Hill.
- Following a February “quiet opening” that apparently changed into a long period of being quietly closed, Good Citizen is reportedly getting geared up again in anticipation of opening for good — coffee first, booze next, owner Andrew Friedman said.
— Good Citizen (@ImAGoodCitizen) April 19, 2015
- Spaghetti Western may be gone but Aleks Dimitrijevich is putting his lease to good use. Venessa Goldberg, owner for How Pickle Got Out of a Jam food truck, will pop-up in the space with Orchard — “five courses of spring inspired fare, all tied together by the bright colors of the season: the palest greens, purest whites, and most vivid pinks and reds.” The first night is Thursday, April 30th.
- Linda Derschang said she was done opening new projects but couldn’t resist the opportunity to open Little Oddfellows inside Elliott Bay Book Co.
- Coastal Kitchen will host Eat for Equality Thursday night to benefit LGBTQ Allyship. “A portion of sales from breakfast, lunch, happy hour and dinner” will benefit the nonprofit.
- Five streateries are coming to the Capitol Hill area at Montana, Comet/Lost Lake, Mamnoon, the new project in the old Kingfish Cafe, and Bottleneck Lounge. Meanwhile, Sugar Plum will have a parklet.
- Kombucha bars are a “thing” — Mystic Kombucha is growing its business and community on 12th Ave.
- Blue Stone hopes to be part of secret Hill trove of Korean gems.
- The Hopvine is holding spelling bees.
- Gnocchi Bar now serving biscuits for breakfast.
- “Best sandwich in Seattle’s polish deli Georges smoked meats on Madison and 9th $6 for this ? Wow“
- Speaking of sandwiches, the new Meat & Bread features Parfait’s brownie ice cream sandwiches:
- E Union’s Optimism Brewing got some cool new toys.
- The folks from the Dyne app, also behind the Orchard pop-up noted above, have news about a new “Happy Month” dinner at Omega Ouzeri:
Omega Ouzeri is bringing “Kalo Mina”, a Greek tradition, to the Hill. Kalo mina means happy first of the month – traditional wish for a health and productivity. Friday 5/1 only you can get a choice of two off-menu meze platters and a flight of Greek wines or beer for $35 tax and gratuity included.
- Villa Escondida left the Broadway Alley after a lease dispute earlier this year leaving many hopeful “the Mexican diner that Seattle’s been dreaming of” would reopen on Capitol Hill. We have bad news for the “many,” great news for little Villa. It’s working on opening in the former Frontier Room in Belltown.
- Howard showed Ed his fancy Melrose toys:
— Ed Murray (@MayorEdMurray) April 21, 2015
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