The Seattle Times this week reported on the city’s ongoing restaurant boom — 2,696 tallied earlier this year, up 25% from a decade ago. Many of those opened on Capitol Hill — CHS has counted somewhere around 172 new Hill openings since 2012. And many of those Hill openings came in the Pike/Pine neighborhood as the area’s auto row bones were put to new, high-ceilinged, wood-beamed uses.
It may not be entirely surprising, then, to learn that the neighborhood has inspired a culinary venture and lent its name to the undertaking. In Brighton, UK, a restaurant calling itself Pike & Pine opened earlier this year.
Mike Palmer, one of the people behind the venture, said he visits Seattle every couple years, and developed a familiarity with the neighborhood, in particular, our coffee shops. The business in Brighton has been home to Red Roaster Coffee, and it still is, he explained.
The shop had an older-style, classic coffee shop sort of feel to it, which Palmer compared to Victrola. But earlier this year, they did a redesign and shifted to a more modern look. Along with that, they changed their format. Now the shop is Red Roaster in the morning and afternoon, before shifting to become Pike & Pine in the evenings.
“We couldn’t think of an identity/name, and then after a lot of alcohol one night, suddenly we thought about Pike & Pine. Perhaps after a great experience in Sitka & Spruce,” Palmer tells CHS.
In the evenings with Pike & Pine, “Michelin Starred” chef Matt Gillan strives for a higher-level experience, he said. The evening restaurant has 4.5 stars on Tripadvisor. The sample online menu features dishes that would fit in with some of the trendiest places on Capitol Hill.
Palmer said the combined restaurant is in the Kemptown area of Brighton, which he said is similar to Capitol Hill. And the city overall might sound familiar to Seattleites in general (and Capitol Hillers, specifically), Brighton is a town once known for its eclecticism, which now finds itself with a burgeoning food scene.
In the end, it was the combination of coffee and fine dining that made them consider a chunk of Capitol Hill for their name. They have roots as a coffee shop, and Seattle is, in some ways, where that started.
“For us, it’s the kind of home of specialty coffee,” Palmer wrote. “Certainly a global hub/focus for our industry.”
Beyond that, they enjoy the Hill, and its “demographic/liberal/cool kind of vibe.” Palmer said that matches with their own vibe, and that was another part of the draw.
He did observe the rapid change happening in the neighborhood, and made some comments similar to those residents make about the proliferation of new buildings and people.
“The buildings are different, but the speed of development does seem to have an effect on the vibe. It seemed maybe not as cool, less edge, probably as people are forced out by rents etc. So the same as many other areas in cities in the US or here,” he wrote. “Although, look, it’s a great place and I look forward to returning.”
Pike & Pine is located at 1d St James Street, Brighton, United Kingdom. You can learn more at pikeandpine.co.uk.