More employees taking the helm on Capitol Hill with new owners at Scratch Deli

When former Scratch Deli owner Ian Thackaberry wanted to find someone to take over his business, he didn’t have to look far. No farther, in fact, than his own kitchen and counter crew.

“The old owner came to each of us individually being, like, “Hey, would you have any interest in doing this?” Scratch’s Daniel O’Connell said.

As it turned out, they would. But only if they could do it together, and share the responsibility of running a business they love.

The result? O’Connell says he and three coworkers — Brandon Frosch, Erika Macias and Laura Rains — teamed up and bought Scratch from Thackaberry on October 1st. They also took over the lease to the building that houses the deli.

“I think it worked out for all of us,” says O’Connell. “It was a very serendipitous occurrence.” Continue reading

Einstein Bros. bagel chain’s exit puts a new commercial hole in Broadway

Closed! Thanks for the tips, everybody (Image: CHS)

Closed! Thanks for the tips, everybody (Image: CHS)

Broadway has chewed up and spit out another national chain — though this one took longer than most. Capitol Hill customers hoping for a bagel, coffee, and maybe some wi-fi were greeted by the dreaded paper sign in the window Tuesday.

Broadway’s Einstein Bros. Bagels, the spacious provider of boiled and baked bread at scale and a comfortably corporate place to hang out or stop through with your luggage on your way to Capitol Hill Station, is closed.

The company has been part of Broadway in the same block for years, originally under its flagship Noah’s brand. After making way for the demolition of its original home to make way for construction of the block-long Lyric building, the chain was one of few businesses to make good on pledges to return after being displaced by development. Continue reading

Derschang’s Bait Shop ready to set sail under familiar new owners

(Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

The smallest ship in Linda Derschang’s fleet will set out on a new journey under new captains. Northwest nautical Linda’s joint Bait Shop has new owners.

Longtime Derschang Group admirals Mike Leifur and Jonah Bergman are taking over the four-year-old north Broadway bar effective Tuesday.

“I see this as a great opportunity for Mike and Jonah to grow and pursue their dream of owning a bar,” Derschang said in a statement sent to CHS after a few weeks of pestering her about the rumor. “I’ve worked very closely with them for many of the formative years of my company and I feel like I could not be leaving Bait Shop in a better set of hands.”

Under the agreement, Leifur, who has worked with Derschang for 14 years and has been her company’s longest running employee, and Bergman, a six-year veteran, will “continue to maintain close ties with the company,” the announcement states. Leifur has been general manager of Linda’s while Bergman has served as creative director for the various Derschang assets.

While they get their ownership sea legs, Leifur and Bergman aren’t planning any major changes to the Bait Shop offerings and employees. Continue reading

The Naftalys opening ‘soup-centric’ Marmite and sibling bar Spirit in the Bottle in Chophouse Row

The Chop Shop space will  only be a year and a half old by the time Marmite and Spirit in the Bottle put it back into motion (Image: CHS)

The Chop Shop space will only be a year and a half old by the time Marmite and Spirit in the Bottle put it back into motion (Image: CHS)

A major hole in Capitol Hill’s Chophouse Row will be filled with a new restaurant and bar project from Bruce and Sara Naftaly. Perfect for our upcoming months of soggy wet days, much of that hole will be filled with soup.

“This sort of fell into our lap,” Bruce Naftaly told CHS Monday morning as word of the new project spread. “It made so much sense. In one building, you’ll have Almandine, Matt’s place, and then Kurt’s in the back. We’re all people who share a philosophical outlook on food.”

Marmite, named for the lidded French crockery essential to any good soup-y journey to your table, and its sibling bar Spirit in the Bottle will open this December in the space left empty in the 11th Ave office and retail project from Capitol Hill developer Liz Dunn when centerpiece restaurant project Chop Shop suddenly went out of business this summer. The closure has been one of the highest profile food and drink meltdowns in what has mostly been a wave of successful new openings across the Hill. Continue reading

Capitol Hill food+drink | Sam’s Tavern goes pink, grows to Eastside

Sam’s Tavern is about to mark its fourth year in the Pike/Pine nightlife scene. Owner James Snyder has had a busy couple years. He’s a father with a two and a half year old son and twin little girls. There’s the Canterbury, a Sam’s SLU — and soon, a Sam’s Redmond. Meanwhile, the E Pike original has gone fully pink.

“Everyone that I have ever met has been touched by cancer,” Snyder tells CHS. This month, his Sam’s Taverns on Capitol Hill and in South Lake Union feature a special drink menu with 100% of the proceeds benefitting the Susan G. Komen foundation. As for the pink paint job, Snyder says he doesn’t know if it will say beyond Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

It has been nearly four years since Sam’s opened on E Pike with a New Year’s debut. The Pike/Pine burger bar’s name is an homage to the original Sam’s Tavern on Eastlake that became Sam’s Red Robin before the Snyder family expansion. To cut his teeth in the burger business, James operated fast-food chain restaurants across the state. Continue reading

Flying above Broadway, Ooink ramen shop is now open

14581326_187921664949611_3091621270873695299_nAdd another fall opening to the Broadway list. Little Ooink has been open for a few weeks above Broadway and Pike in the northeast corner of the Harvard Market shopping center. It’s a worthy new neighbor to Marination Station in providing fast but satisfying and relatively affordable chow.

CHS first told you about the ramen shop taking over the Harvard Market space back in August as we tallied the 2016 food and drink openings still to come around the Hill. “This one is our first restaurant,” Jiaxin Wang told CHS about the restaurant that showcases the creations of her husband, chef Chong Boon Ooi. “He’s been working for other people but now we can be on our own.” Continue reading

Times: Seattle’s homeless and drug problems ‘intersected at the corner of Madison and Boren’

Inside Italian Family Pizza

Inside Italian Family Pizza

A Seattle Times column has some harsh words for the City of Seattle and Therapeutic Health Services, the operator of a busy methadone clinic on First Hill.

“We have a homeless problem, and we have a drug problem. And they have both intersected at the corner of Madison and Boren,” writes Nicole Brodeur about the challenges the owners of Italian Family Pizza tell her they’ve had in their first three months of business after moving to First Hill.

Included in the column are two incidents involving the Calozzi family straight from the CHS blotter. Continue reading

CHS Pics | Squirrel Chops adds another layer to E Union coffee scene

Shirley Henderson and Sharon Blyth-Moss (Images: CHS)

Shirley Henderson and Sharon Blyth-Moss (Images: CHS)

Change can begin with a good haircut. A good cup of coffee can also help. You can now get both at the latest cafe to open along E Union, Squirrel Chops.

CHS spoke with owners Shirley Henderson and Sharon Blyth-Moss about their plans for the hybrid cafe+salon earlier this year just as construction was getting underway on their space at 22nd and Union inside The Central building, the first of what will be a wave of four-story-plus apartment buildings set to rise around 23rd and Union. Squirrel Chops debuted Sunday after they typical “longer than expected” buildout. Continue reading

Openings: Wanderfish poke, Dueminuti on Broadway, Squirrel Chops in the CD

This is a good week for knocking off the roster entries on our list of food and drink openings still to come on and around Capitol Hill in 2016. Monday started with the first look inside the new Harry’s Fine Foods at Bellevue and Mercer. The week ends with a handful of other new joints to check out.

  • Squirrel Chops: The Central District salon + cafe concept in 23rd and Union’s new The Central building will celebrate its grand opening Sunday with coffee samples and snacks. CHS stopped by the corner Squirrel Chops calls home at 22nd and Union before summer started to talk with Shirley Henderson, a barista who runs the cafe side of the business, and hair master Sharon Blyth-Moss who runs the two-chair salon side of things. “We’re all about community and building community, and I thought why don’t we just do a place that does that. We wanted to start making that our business instead of our hobbies and pastime,” Henderson told us this spring. Squirrel Chops neighbors electric bike concern and 20/20 Cycle sibling Electric Lady. The building will also eventually be home to a new restaurant project on 23rd Ave. More on that… soon! Continue reading

The Growl Store now Capitol Hill’s newest beer bar but continues to focus on growler fills

Serving up pints to thirsty patrons wasn’t part of owner Loren Klabunde’s original plan for The Growl Store, but he has since added the offering with the hope of boosting business.

“Ideally we would have made it work under the original business model, but it’s been fine to serve pints, too,” Klabunde told CHS.

In fact, he did have some customers asking about pints before he added them to his lineup, which previously was growler fills and tasting trays of three to five beers.

Even though he’s made changes toward being more of a bar, Klabunde doesn’t want to cater to a rowdy crowd. Doors still close at 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. And while The Growl Store has a counter, it doesn’t have bar stools, but Klabunde is considering adding some seating.

Along with pints, The Growl Store now has happy hour from 4 to 6 PM with $2 off pints and weekly specials with a different tap priced at $10 for a growler fill and $3.50 for a pint until the keg is gone.

“While we serve pints we still think of ourselves as really a tasting room and growler fill station,” he said. Continue reading

Capitol Hill food+drink | First look: Harry’s Fine Foods reborn at Bellevue and Mercer


Hagood (Images: CHS)

A new life for an old bodega has begun at one of Capitol Hill’s quintessential corners, Bellevue and Mercer.

Harry’s Fine Foods, sharing the name of the corner market that stood there for years, opened over the weekend in a full rebuild of the old store. Plenty of the past remains.

Inside the new Harry’s — owner Julian Hagood calls the new project “bistro-esque” and “comfortable in the daytime but also sexy at night” — you’ll still find the old Harry’s cooler. The plan from Hagood and Alexa Dallas is for Harry’s Fine Foods to provide the neighborhood with a daytime cafe combined with a cornershop eventually stocking those day-to-day essentials like cigarettes and toilet paper.

The menu will be driven by what’s fresh. “We make up everything,” Hagood said. “It’s casual, produce-driven. We’re not reinventing anything. It’s delicious really well-made food.” What’s that mean? Great fries, for one. Hagood has built Harry’s on the back of his booming Lucullan Repast catering business along with a crowdsourced final boost. The catering venture will also now put the new kitchen at Harry’s to work.

The new project joins Cafe Barjot and the Lookout adding food and drink options to this particular elevation of I-5 Shores. Continue reading

Bean Box growing tech start-up ambitions in Capitol Hill’s coffee bean row

(Images: CHS)

(Images: CHS)

Capitol Hill’s auto row was created by entrepreneurs launching start-ups, of sorts. One modern vestige of the era has made a home for a set of entrepreneurs to make their mark in history with one of the neighborhood’s new economic lifebloods: coffee beans.

Bean Box, a “gourmet coffee” subscription and gift service, has been growing its business out of the recreated auto garage next to Bill’s off Broadway.

“Capitol Hill is wildly diverse from a population and diverse from a business standpoint,” Bean Box’s Ryan Fritzky told CHS earlier this year when we stopped by for a visit to check out the coffee bean packaging and shipping operation on E Pine. Continue reading