An image of a barbershop currently tops the Wikipedia entry for “third place” — the term given to social gathering spaces beyond the workplace and home. Throw in a cafe and you have a Capitol Hill couple’s dream business now becoming a reality on the corner of 22nd and Union.
Squirrel Chops will be two parts cafe, one part salon when it opens this summer in a narrow corner space at The Central, a recently completed 92-unit mixed-used building on the southwest corner of 23rd and Union.
“We’re all about community and building community, and I thought why don’t we just do a place that does that,” said Shirley Henderson, a former barista who is running the cafe side of the business. “We wanted to start making that our business instead of our hobbies and past time.”
Henderson’s partner Sharon Blyth-Moss will head up the two-chair salon after spending years working in other salons around town. And yes, the owner have a plan for preventing clippings landing in your latte — a sliding door between the two spaces.
The couple signed their lease Monday for the 800-square-foot space and hope to open by August. Squirrel Chops (derived from Henderson’s childhood nickname) will serve as the name for both sides of the business. Plans for the 15 to 20 seat coffee shop also include outdoor seating, beer and wine at the bar, and a section of baked goods and sandwiches.
Henderson and her wife have long been involved with Capitol Hill’s LGBTQ community, but as many have moved south chasing cheaper rents, she said the Central District has increasingly felt like home. “The Central District has such an awesome rich history and diversity. That means a lot to us being women starting a business who are LGBTQ,” she said.
Squirrel Chops will also share a special connection with its next-door neighbors, the soon-to-open electric bike and supply store Electric Lady: Owner Alex Kostelnik built his very first bike at 20/20 Cycle for Henderson.
When it opens this summer, Squirrel Chops will have avoided most of the turmoil experienced by other Central District businesses during the overhaul of the 23rd Avenue corridor. For months, officials said the City had no legal avenue to directly assist 23rd Ave owners who said road and sidewalk construction threatened to close down several businesses. In February the City relented when Mayor Ed Murray announced the creation of a $650,000+ business stabilization fund. Still, it won’t be an easy handout.
Squirrel Chops also extends the flurry of hair business activity around Capitol Hill this year to the CD. The Scotch Pine barbershop kicked off 2016 with a move from Lower Queen Anne to 11th Ave’s Chophouse Row. While they didn’t bring the booze from LQA, free beer will be part of Portland-based Bishops Barbershop when it opens inside 12th and Pike’s recently completed Beryl Apartments building. Meanwhile, Capitol Hill-born Bang Salon is in the midst of opening its third location in South Lake Union.
Capitol Hill food+drink notes
- Nope, Dave Meinert and Marcus Charles aren’t teaming up to take over the Showbox Market. But a concession services company owned by the duo from back in their Capitol Hill Block Party days is taking over the Showbox bars for AEG Live, Meinert tells CHS. “Instead of it being a big corporate thing, our vibe is to make the bars at the Showboxes more like they were,” Meinert said. The result? Likely stiffer drinks and a local company beating out Wolgang Puck for the contract.
- Sun Liquor’s distillery — the first distillery to do (legal) business on Capitol Hill since before Prohibition — celebrates five years this weekend… and the opening of its new bottle shop:
In addition to having a party at Sun Liquor Distillery with drink & food specials, a raffle (win a bottle of this years eggnog!) to celebrate our 5th Anniversary, this Sunday we will also be officially opening the Sun Liquor Bottle Shop! The Bottle Shop is right next door to the bar at 516 E Pike St. Drop by to check it out before heading to the bar for cocktails!
- Also celebrating this week: Kessler’s (2015)
- Pizza pizza pizza. Italian Family Pizza is coming to First Hill. Dino’s Tomato Pie — at E Olive Way and Denny — now open. Across the street? Even Amante’s is upgrading.
- Coming from the Wandering Goose’s Heather Earnhardt:
— The Wandering Goose (@TheWanderingGoo) March 9, 2016
- RIP, 500 East. Being born World of Beers didn’t help.
- Thursday night, Capitol Hill Series Launch Party at Elysian.
- Congratulations, Little Uncle, now open with a sit-down restaurant at 16th and Madison.
- What is the Stranger’s Angela Garbes eating these days? Salmon skin and salmon eggs at Bar Melusine, “a rich, dark broth fragrant with a chili paste called rempah, made with shallots, ginger, shrimp paste, and other spices, and coconut milk” at Kedai Makan.
- If you miss 611 Supreme which closed on E Pine in 2014, sign up now for a special dinner at Rumba this weekend — Rumba Supreme: 611 Pop-up
Yep, you read that right! We’re excited to welcome Chef Margaret Edwins, chef-owner of the much loved 611 Supreme. Margaret will be offering menu favorites (yes, there will be Pork Chop), we’ll have 611-Rumba mashup cocktails, lots of friendly faces and some very special guests. This will be an evening you won’t want to miss!
- How about a Pi Day pie eating contest at Lost Lake on 3-14?
- Good question from Liberty…
Hey – @vpconservatory, can you remind us where in Seattle we could buy baby starts agaves?
— Liberty (@LibertyLovesYou) March 10, 2016
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