The current level of investment and years of work creating new food and drink venues in the southward spread of Pike/Pine is unprecedented. After opening Friday, Chop Shop, the signature street level tenant inside Liz Dunn’s new Chophouse Row development, is case in point.
Chef Ericka Burke spent more than two years opening her 2,000-square-foot, 67-seat vision of Northwest casual. It comes after Burke faced down massive challenges with the growth of Volunteer Park Cafe (nine years old this January) meshing with its single-family, North Capitol Hill neighbors. And it goes back further to when a first run in Pike/Pine was cut short in 2009 when Burke’s partnership with Linda Derschang in starting Oddfellows did not work out.
After these challenges, 2015 has been a year of triumph for Burke. Earlier this year, her Canal Market project finally opened in Portage Bay. And now, Chop Shop joins the Chophouse Row as the centerpiece in the mixed-use office+open marketplace project.
Looking out on 11th Ave, the big front window of Chop Shop remains wide open these warm summer days. The front section of the restaurant near the open kitchen is filled with a long communal table and densely surrounded by sets of smaller tables and chairs. Things open up behind the central bar with another cove of more loosely spaced tables and the Chop Shop Juice and Provisions counter that will serve fresh juice, espresso, pastries, and “grab-and-go-lunches” when it opens later this summer. Exit out a back-alley breezeway that leads to the other food and drink players open and opening soon in the Sundberg, Kennedy and Ly-Au Young, and Graham Baba designed Chophouse Row project or climb the stairs to what will eventually be a loft dining area above the bustle. Meanwhile, Chop Shop gently spills out into the mews with a row of patio seating along the building’s alley-like entry from 11th.
Starting with more limited nighttime service, Chop Shop will soon keep hours like the Chophouse’s tech office workers with breakfast, lunch, and dinner, served seven days a week, 7 AM to 11 PM — midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.
Burke’s version of northwest casual is colorful not so casual. Try the “Beet Cavatelli with morels, poppy seeds, ricotta salata, and hazelnut gremolata” or “Purple Kohlrabi served with broccoli rabe, Fresno chili, basil, and peanut.” You can feast on an entree of “Roasted Game Hen with succotash, miatake mushrooms, salsa verde, and grilled lemon” or “a Bavette Steak with heirloom tomato, smoked potato, marrow onion toast, soft herbs, and balsamic.” Chop shop also features a nightly “signature chop.”
The name play continues on the bar menu where Chop Shop honors the preserved auto row-era building in the development that was home to Chophouse Studios. Enjoy “A Love Supreme” — Dolin Dry, Green Chartreuse, cucumber, ginger, pineapple, and egg white — or a “Built to Spill” — Citizen Gin and grapefruit East India tonic.
Chef Joseph Bollag, formerly of Marjorie, leads the way in the kitchen while familiar Capitol Hill face and seltzer entrepreneur Anna Wallace is the ace behind the bar.
All of that ambition will soon have company. Across the street, another preservation + development project is nearing completion with another owner/chef ready to make her mark in Pike/Pine. Renee Erickson’s dual concept project — “an oyster bar focused on flavors of the French Atlantic and a Parisian-style café” — is aiming for a September or October opening in the Broadstone Infinity building. Meanwhile, a block farther south, the Pike/Pin ambitions of Burke and Erickson are mirrored in chef/owner John Sundstrom’s anchor creation in the Central Agency building with a new home for Lark, the Bitter/Raw fresh bar, and Slab Sandwiches.
Chop Shop is located at 1424 11th Ave. You can learn more at chopshopseattle.com.
Capitol Hill food+drink notes
- Soi — 10th and Union’s *other* ambitious restaurant — was being planned for a July opening. We’ll need to check in to find out how the plan is shaping up.
- Following news of their plans to move into a full-fledged restaurant around the corner, folks at Kedai Makan answered a few questions — including –> “will we still have take out? YES YES YES. With a order ahead type system /app, no more waiting in the rain.”
- Here is what’s next for Jason Stratton after his abrupt exit from Spinasse: the chef is jumping out of the kitchen to GM at Mamnoon.
- This week in 2014: these Capitol Hill restaurants and bars were pushing back on the $15 Now cause.
- Last week in Capitol Hill food+drink: We pissed off sugar-loving vegans.
- Hopefully the gluten free crowd still likes us. Toby Matasar is shutting down her West Seattle cafe as she prepares to open her Niche “100% dedicated” gluten free cafe and bakery on 12th Ave.
- A sign that Hot Cakes is coming to E Olive Way.
- RIP Po Dog, viva Neon Sandwich
- Capitol Hill just lost a wine shop. Vino Verite is leaving for Columbia City.
- Happy 2nd birthday, Freddy Junior’s.
- Happy 5th birthday, Jimmy’s On Broadway.
- Noted: “Sam the taco truck guy is BACK. Not at 21st & Union but at Ike’s at 23rd & Union. Enjoy!”
- Sichuan-flavored Poppy sibling Lionhead is hiring.
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