Capitol Hill food+drink | Inside Chop Shop’s Pike/Pine ambitions

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Burke (Image: Alex Garland for CHS)

Burke (Image: Alex Garland for CHS)

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.

IMG_4764Looking 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.

IMG_4738Starting 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.”

Chef Joseph Bollag

Chef Joseph Bollag

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IMG_4669The 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.

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One thought on “Capitol Hill food+drink | Inside Chop Shop’s Pike/Pine ambitions

  1. Any word on Bill’s off Broadway’s reopening day? The new sign was put up a few days ago… I can’t wait. There has been a happy hour spinach dip-shaped hole in my heart.