Dino’s Tomato Pie — a ‘walkable pizza bar’ — to join E Olive Way’s food+drink neighborhood

(Image: King County)

(Image: King County)

The southwest corner of E Olive Way at Denny will not be a vape shop.

Ballard food+drink maven Brandon Pettit will transform the former payday lender at the corner into Dino’s Tomato Pie, a new pizza par featuring thick “square pie” style slices and offering takeout and delivery to the tightly packed, teeming with Capitol Hill humanity blocks of Pine, Olive Way, Howell-Area Triangle POWHat.

“I never thought I’d leave Ballard,” Pettit tells CHS. “It was like Mr. Rogers neighborhood up there. It was just such a nice neighborhood vibe.”

Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 11.06.55 AMDino’s is planned to open this fall on the block of Ms. Rachel Marshall’s neighborhood home to her Montana and a collection of unique E Olive Way food and drink providers including Crumble and Flake, Kedai Makan, Revolver, and Hillside Bar.

Pettit said he is looking forward to being part of the densely populated neighborhood and part of a group of businesses focused on serving the nearby blocks. He’s also hopeful the transformation will be a better use for the space than the vape shop that moved in across Denny Way in the storefront formerly home to Arabica Lounge.

CHS reported on the exit of Money Mart from the E Olive Way corner in April. Pettit said the buildout is planned to be wrapped up by fall but he said he’s heard that the flood of paperwork hitting the Department of Planning and Development has some permits taking months instead of weeks to process.

Dino’s will be designed by Heliotrope Architects with an old school vibe “like Vito’s but not as classy and without the piano,” Pettit said. He describes Dino’s as a “walkable bar” with a pizza counter and lounge and plans to do “a lot of takeout and delivery.” He’s sorting out the delivery strategy but bicycling delivery folks, take note — you’ll probably be part of the Dino’s plan.

The space at the E Olive Way and Denny corner of the Olive Crest Apartments also has a secret feature Pettit hopes to make part of Dino’s at some point. Below the 1,700 square-foot future pizza bar lurks a subterranean space that could end up as a perfect basement lounge.

As for the pie, here’s how Seattle Met’s Allecia Vermillion described the “square pie” planned for Dino’s as she broke the news on the pizza bar earlier this week:

“I like the idea of doing something a little bit trashier and more Jersey, more authentic to the flavors I grew up with.”

Granted, Pettit’s take on “trashy” still involves local ingredients like housemade guanciale, Zoe’s Meats pepperoni and, kale from Willowood Farm in Coupeville. Customers will specify either a white or red sauce base, and select off a list of toppings. The rest of the menu will be short, simple, and likely involve a Jersey salad (Pettit’s term for a pile of iceberg or romaine lettuce with the most basic of vegetables on top) with housemade versions of dressings that usually come in green-capped plastic bottles: Caesar, ranch, or creamy Italian.

Pettit tells CHS the square pie — “Where I was from they usually called it Sicilian. Baked two or three times with a lot of burnt cheese around the corners — good drinking pizza” — makes for great bar chow and that he also might experiment with another type of thin crust “tavern pie.”

2015 has been a busy year for Capitol Hill pizza. The guys behind Big Mario’s will open a Queen Anne expansion and a new Italian joint at 19th and Mercer. The Still Liquor folks are planning a pizza shop at Pine and Minor. Tom Douglas’s Serious Pie chain came to the Hill. And the owner of a Zpizza franchise outlet on Broadway made headlines when she announced her plans to shutter this summer because of the impact from the new minimum wage law’s schedule for big chains.

Pettit said he hadn’t heard about the Zpizza hubbub but that his business plan behind Dino’s is $15/hour friendly. “For a restaurant, it’s definitely an issue — profit margins are so low,” Pettit said of his own planning around wages. “For a takeout or bar, the profit margin is much better.” Pettit said he believes smaller venues like his plans for Dino’s were already a trend in Seattle food and drink but that the minimum wage upgrade could help create even more. “A slow bar makes as much money as a busy restaurant,” Pettit said. Meanwhile, Pettit says, “better run restaurants” like his Delancey are already paying $15/hour-level wages and will be able to adjust with prices or service charges.

Pettit also said he’s not worried about Capitol Hill’s increasingly competitive food and drink industry, soaked with weekly announcements of new projects. Coming to Capitol Hill, he said, is his chance to show a lot of people his approach to dining and nightlife — and a lot of people who have never been to Delancey, let alone Ballard.

“Nobody who lives up there ever leaves,” Pettit said.

Dino’s Tomato Pie is planned to open at 1524 E Olive Way this fall.

UPDATE: Forgot another piece of Capitol Hill pizza news to include in the 2015 round-up — at the very same intersection as Dino’s, Amante’s now has a new owner — George Kozhuharov. We’ve never met him. You?

UPDATE x2: And had it in my notes but forgot to include more Hill pizza news coming in 2015 as Bill’s off Broadway is slated to return to the corner of E Pine and Harvard after a 20-month timeout.

Subscribe and support CHS Contributors -- $1/$5/$10 per month

27 thoughts on “Dino’s Tomato Pie — a ‘walkable pizza bar’ — to join E Olive Way’s food+drink neighborhood

  1. Friends of mine lived in that subterranean space 15 or so years ago. It was a cool dark dungeon they made home.

  2. I look forward to this new pizza joint. Not to be a hater, but ANYTHING is better than those inedible grease-bombs they pass off as pizza at Amante (across the street). Sorry. Someone had to say it. (For the record, I love Big Marios and Hot Mama’s, so there).

    • I gotta agree… I haven’t seen pizza that greasy anywhere else. To be fair, after you mop up all the grease it isn’t terrible, but it sure takes a lot of napkins.

  3. oh, I’m so happy… we really needed a late night food place other than Kedai Makan (which I love but don’t always want, plus the line is murder) and Amante (which seems to be universally abhorred and has that goddamn sign). I was kind of hoping for a mission style tacqueria but this will definitely do. Looking forward to it!

  4. POWHAT? Does everything have to have an acronym? Here in the leafy splendor of EBRO, we are grateful not to live anywhere near PiPiCo. If you have to define an acronym why bother using it in the first place?

  5. I’ve never been to Delancey but the pizza there gets rave reviews, so it will be great to have similar quality available in our neighborhood. And this use of that space is far better than the sleazy payday lender that was there.

    Welcome to Capitol Hill, Brandon…..count me in as a customer!

  6. I don’t often make it to that part of the Hill, so I’m very excited about the delivery option! I really hope they set up an online ordering system since I hate calling in orders and as one of the few people who doesn’t care for Pagliacci’s, it’s hard to find good pizza delivery with online ordering around here.

  7. I always thought Amante was a fakery; a front for something. How else to explain such valuable real estate wasted on shopping mall style food? Do many people even eat there? And that hideous sign… it’s all so gross
    .

    Looking forward to trying Dino’s Tomato Pie when they open.

    Now all we need is a super legit Mexican place which manages to get every element right; beans, rice, tortil
    las AND salsa.

    • A lot of restaurants have crashed and burned in that spot. Hamburger Mary’s was there years ago, didn’t do all that well either.

  8. Hamburger Mary’s hasn’t ever been in that location. It was across Olive way where Amante’s is now. Also Hamburger Mary’s closed around 1990 or so. I don’t remember the exact date. I have been living on Capitol Hill for 40 years. Also why do people have to put trendy sounding anachronisms on everything? Also I am looking forward to a good pizza place in the neighborhood.

  9. Pingback: Walk-up revolution: Kedai Makan to expand just around the corner from E Olive Way | CHS Capitol Hill Seattle

  10. Pingback: Capitol Hill food+drink | Undaunted by Seattle wage debate, Ian’s moves in where Zpizza bailed | CHS Capitol Hill Seattle

  11. Pingback: Capitol Hill food+drink | Hand-crafted, delivery-only Windy City Pie bringing Chicago to Seattle one pizza at a time | CHS Capitol Hill Seattle

  12. Pingback: 20+ Capitol Hill bars and restaurants to look forward to in 2016 | CHS Capitol Hill Seattle

  13. Pingback: Capitol Hill food+drink | Pizzeria 88 bringing wood-fired Neapolitan pizza to Broadway | CHS Capitol Hill Seattle

  14. Pingback: Capitol Hill food+drink | Dino’s Tomato Pie serving pizza ’round or square’ since March 2016 | CHS Capitol Hill Seattle