19th Ave E continues to be a busy spot in Capitol Hill food and drink as another slice is falling into place along the redevelopment-reinvigorated artery connecting several area schools and some of the neighborhood’s wealthiest, leafiest streets.
Zeeks Pizza Capitol Hill is lined up to anchor the street level retail space at The Shea, a 33-unit mixed-use development planned to complete construction this summer. It will be the Puget Sound-area pizza chain’s 14th location. The restaurant space will stretch from E Mercer along 19th Ave E and will neighbor street longtimer Monsoon.
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Where Contadino’s pasta and pizzas were decidedly upscale, the arrival of Zeeks brings a more family friendly level of dining to the street. Zeeks — no apostrophe, we checked! — debuted in 1993 in North Queen Anne after computer engineers and ski pals Tom Vial and Doug McClure were inspired by a long line at a Montana Pizza Hut, the legend goes. The company operates several Seattle Zeeks locations. Others in the region are franchise locations. “We founded Zeeks under the simple premise that pizza should be flavorful, not just cheap and fast,” the surf buddy-themed about page reads. “Don’t get us wrong; we like fast and reasonably priced, but cheap can suck it.”
A company spokesperson tells CHS that Zeeks has long coveted a presence on Capitol Hill and that the 19th Ave E location is being opened by a franchise owner with a strong connection to this part of the neighborhood.
In addition to the planned Zeeks, Monsoon, and Rocket Taco, 19th Ave E also attracts plenty of family dining activity at Vios, along with sweets and treats at Hello Robin. Boring old grown-ups can eat at Linda Derschang joint Tallulah’s, grab coffee at Fuel, or sneak off to the counter bar inside neighborhood grocery Cone and Steiner.
The Zeeks news also follows the arrival on 19th Ave E of another of Seattle’s big little pizza players as the Pagliacci family of businesses is settling in for a new project at 19th and Aloha where the company will open a new Macrinabakery and cafe. That project, by the way, is ready to dig in with a full gutting of the interior of the 1925-built restaurant space with plans of opening late this year. Hopefully they leave enough of the bones of the old Surrogate Hostess in place — Macrina’s founder Leslie Mackie said she hopes her new Capitol Hill location will capture some of the spirit of the legendary cafe.
Meanwhile at 19th and Mercer, work on The Shea continues and the future home of the new Zeeks is still a construction site. The contractors at Mallet will be in charge of the buildout of the restaurant space. It’s too early to guess at an opening date but the apartment building is expected to begin leasing to new residents later this summer.
You can learn more at zeekspizza.com.