Paseo died. And then the Fremont legend and its much-loved Caribbean roast sandwiches were reborn. And then Paseo grew to a new SoDo location. And now it is coming to Capitol Hill.
Mix in an earnest entrepreneur with the cash to make all of the above happen, and you have a very modern Seattle story. Ryan Santwire, who purchased the rights to the Paseo name and its original Fremont location, will open Paseo Capitol Hill in the space in front of music club Neumos left empty when Pike Street Fish Fry closed in late 2015.
Founded in 1994, Paseo has retained its legendary status — “third-best place to eat in the U.S.” — through the transition to new ownership and reverse engineering of its original menu. “We got the people, we got the stuff,” Santwire said in 2014 of his “no changes” approach after buying the business assets in a bankruptcy sale after founder Lorenzo Lorenzo faced financial difficulties from a wage theft lawsuit. “When it’s all said and done, it should be just opening the doors again.” The Lorenzo family, meanwhile, now operates Un Bien in the former Paseo Ballard location.
Pike Street made the new Paseo space work since 2008 when a partnership involving some of the Neumos folks and food and drink “impresario” Michael Hebb helped usher in a new era of low food brought high in Pike/Pine with local and fresh ingredients. Neumos partners eventually took over the business. In 2010, Pike Street was lined up to be part of a “little Seattle” strip in New York City but was replaced by a Caffe Vita in the project. When it closed in late 2015, ownership blamed two years of bad business as the death blow delivered by ongoing construction from development in the area.
Now Santwire appears ready to cash in on the new residents and ongoing strength of the Pike/Pine nightlife district. Paseo’s expansion to SoDo included a larger footprint, beer, cider, wine, and sangria, and buckets of roasted corn. Paseo’s plans for 10th Ave probably can’t be as bold given the space’s tight dimensions. Expect more of a walk-up vibe like what Monica Dimas created with her Mexico City-inspired Tortas Condesa on E Olive Way or the sandwiches and ceviche walk-up Manu’s Bodegita on E Madison when the new project finally reopens.
Santwire’s goal for Paseo Capitol Hill is to be open in October and he says stay tuned for a big announcement and more information to come.
We’ve added the planned opening to our roster of 2016 new food+drink still to come.