Capitol Hill food+drink | A Hill homecoming for Manu’s Bodegita

With the amount of talent at work across the kitchens of Capitol Hill food and drink, we’re bound to have more and more homecomings featuring recent neighborhood graduates.

“I always thought it would be nice to get back on Capitol Hill with all those fans who appreciated the flavors of that little pop-up way back when in front of Montana,” Manu Alfau tells CHS.

Now, three years and a lot of Manu’s Bodega success later, Alfau is ready to return to Capitol Hill with Manu’s Bodegita.

Already a practitioner of the art of creating delicious food and drink in tight quarters in his Pioneer Square location, Alfau will be further refining his game as he takes over the walk-up counter home Little Uncle finally outgrew.

Like the Dimas model CHS documented here with the 12th Ave opening of Sunset Fried Chicken Sandwiches, Alfau’s emergence with small operations focused on “really good quality food and a real affordable price point” in Seattle food and drink has been well timed as the competition has stiffened around multiple openings from bigger an bigger names.

“It was in my plan from the beginning,” Alfau said about his decision to finally make the leap out of the kitchen working at Capitol Hill’s La Bete. “I’ve done fine dining for so long, it was time for me to do something casual.”

Here’s what Manu’s Bodegita will be all about:

Manu’s Bodegita (means “small bodega”) in Capitol Hill is a Latin cabana taking residence in the former Little Uncle outpost at 1509 East Madison Street. The grab-and-go friendly menu will feature a selection of Manu’s Bodega best sellers like its Cubano dip, Peruvian Pork Belly, Puerco Asado, and new seasonal items. Seasonal items will include Peruvian and Argentinian style ceviches for warm weather months and hearty stews like Manu Bodega’s sancocho with pork and sausage. Manu’s Bodegita will cater to foot traffic and local residents, with the potential for late night hours and online ordering.

Meanwhile, Alfau is also teaming up with new Pioneer Square mini-golf bar the Flatstick Pub where he is operating a taqueria.

For now, Alfau is satisfied being small. He’ll have his hands full with three locations. And, maybe someday when he is ready and the city’s food and drink economy has space, he might again go big — and a little fancy. “As a cook, I always miss that detail,” he said. “Being a passionate cook, occasionally I still put together a nice dinner. Maybe four or five years down the road — maybe we’ll do something on that fine dining side.

For now, the E Madison counter space is being prepared for an August opening. First, Alfau said he and his crew are “cleaning house” and putting new equipment in place inside the tiny streetfront walk-up mere feet from the rush of E Madison. After its birth on the farmers market circuit, Little Uncle found its first permanent home in the space in late 2011 taking over from a Vietnamese walk-up called Baguette. Part of Alfau’s transformation will include a paint job in the bright Latin American colors of his bodegas. “You can definitely identify it when you see it,” he said.

Manu’s Bodegita will open later this summer at 1509 E Madison. You can learn more at

Capitol Hill food+drink notes

  • 13443278_810834725683625_5915752066575782997_oNow serving brunch, Mamnoon:
    Mamnoon will offer Saturday and Sunday brunch between the hours of 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. starting this Saturday, June 18. Chef de Cuisine David Gurewitz has created a Middle Eastern-inspired menu highlighting an array of new dishes with eggs, beloved mamnoon favorites like the Falafel Sandwich, and traditional offerings like Harees, a savory wheat porridge with chicken, cumin, cinnamon and butter.
    The brunch move follows Mamnoon’s dumping of lunch from its schedule. The walk-up window is still open for weekday sustenance.
  • Altura, Capitol Hill’s most expensive (and maybe best) restaurant, is dropping its less-pricey options and will offer only its $137 per person tasting menu.
  • New at 25th and Jackson, The Atlantic:
    The venture comes from Lex Petras, who also owns Altstadt in Pioneer Square. “The name derives from the Atlantic neighborhood, where it is located, and where I’ve called home for 12 years,” Petras told Eater last July.
  • Good question:

  • Rose & Blossom: Pop Up Bakery is coming to Broadway’s Refresh in July:
    After going to Morocco last year the one thing that still sticks out in Chef Tarik Abdullah’s mind was the sweets. Chef Tarik will be throwing a Moroccan inspired pop up bakery called “Rose & Blossom”.
  • Dick’s Drive-In — good for more than cheap burgers. The iconic Seattle chain has been awarded the Restaurant Neighbor Award by the Washington Restaurant Association for “outstanding charitable service and positive impact” citing a few of Dick’s notable features including a reported $800 grand raised by those Change for Charity boxes and the company’s policy paying employees “a regular hourly wage per month” for volunteer work. The chain also won the association’s Quick Service Restaurant of the Year Award.
  • Bluebird sells Choco Tacocat ice cream cones…”
  • 5 Things to Know About Capitol Hill’s Corvus & Co.” CHS visited the newly opened Broadway bar last month.

The CHS Crow approves: Corvus and Co. opens on Broadway

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