Clever Dunne’s, Capitol Hill’s ‘Irish House,’ to close at end of month

(Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

2017 is shaping up to be a sad year for the neighborhood bars of E Howell. Wednesday night, the staff and management of Clever Dunne’s are telling regulars the bad news. At the end of January, the Capitol Hill Irish pub will close.

“It came quick,” Dunne’s manager Jared Thomson tells CHS. “We knew things were happening but not like this.”

Thomson said Clever Dunne’s had another two years on its lease but the pub’s deal has been bought out and the drinking spot needs to be shut down and moved out by January 31st. Continue reading

You’ll soon see new food safety ’emoji’ on Capitol Hill restaurants

CHS is kind of a “negative” indicator fan. We like an empty bar, thanks. On Capitol Hill, that means taking a few risks. Over the next year, you will start to see these new King County “emoji” signs on restaurants, cafes, and bars around Capitol Hill indicating where the venue ranks in the county’s food safety matrix. Where some see the frowny face, CHS will see, “Yes! An open table!”

Seattle & King County today unveiled the signs that food inspectors will place in restaurant windows—part of its broader strategy to ensure King County remains a leader in accurate and transparent food safety ratings.

King County is now the first county in the United States to base its food safety ratings on four inspections rather than a single snapshot, better reflecting a restaurant’s performance over time. Public Health will also be the first agency to use side-by-side peer inspections as a training tool so inspectors can better understand how they reached their conclusions, a proven approach that increases consistency.

“We are once again putting King County at the forefront of innovative public health practices, making food safety ratings more accurate, consistent and transparent,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “Our new approach supports our region’s diverse, thriving restaurant scene and helps customers make better informed decisions when dining out.”


Capitol Hill food+drink | A look inside Cook Weaver

We have told you a bit about the new food+drink life playing out inside Capitol Hill’s classic Loveless Building but we haven’t shown you what Cook Weaver looks like yet. Here are a few scenes from inside.

Cook Weaver from Nile Klein and chef Zac Reynolds opened in December with the promise of a comfortable dinner party for you and your neighbors.  “The type of food and cocktails are at home in fine dining,” Klein said, “But we want it to feel like a dinner party with friends.” Continue reading

Amazon grocery? Maybe — A Capitol Hill Kyoto-style ramen joint? Tentenyu

Snuggled around the corner next to what just might be a new Amazon grocery store on Capitol Hill will soon be what is definitely another new ramen joint coming to Capitol Hill.

The company with the “exclusive license agreement” with a Japanese ramen legend is bringing Tentenyu’s Kyoto-style tori paitan ramen to Capitol Hill on Belmont Ave inside the preservation-boosted, sparkly-blue above old Mercedes dealership-brick AVA Capitol Hill development.

Here is the expansion pitch: Continue reading

Charlie’s on Broadway closes… again — UPDATE

img_0236img_0234They said 2017 would be better. They were wrong. In an already bummer week, the reborn Charlie’s on Broadway has told employees not to come in Tuesday and posted the dreaded thank you note to the community in the window of the entrance:

With the ending of our one-year lease, we were faced with a difficult decision. Charlie’s holds a special place in our hearts. However, due to economic factors of the restaurant industry, as of Tuesday January 10th, 2017 we will be closed. Being a part of the Capitol Hill community has been an honor, and we will miss the community deeply.

Charlie’s on Broadway, at least in its latest incarnation, is gone.

Reborn under The Lodge Sports Grille family of restaurants, Charlie’s reopened in December 2015 with an attempt to keep the basic 217 Broadway E recipe the same while updating the business just enough to help it survive for another 39 years. Continue reading

CHS Pics | Hideout mixer takes crown in female bartender battle

If you drank something delicious on First Hill, you might have enjoyed the work of a champion. Jacyara de Oliveira, who lists Rob Roy and Boren’s The Hideout as her current fields of play, took the crown Sunday in the Northwest regionals for the sixth annual Speed Rack competition.

de Oliveira, who likes working with bourbon (me too!), downed Oregon tender Natasha Mesa of The Benson in Portland for the regional title. de Oliveira also won in Chicago in 2015 and has made the top eight in five consecutive years, the competition reports. She will compete in this year’s finals in New York ‪in May.

Sunday’s battle took place in Washington Hall. Judges included Kathy Casey of Liquid Kitchen, Paul Clarke of Imbibe magazine, and Tan Vinh of the Seattle Times.

In addition to showcasing some of the best female bartenders, the competition says it raises funds to fight breast cancer.


Designed on the Hill | The ‘purpose and politics’ of Optimism Brewing’s bathrooms

(Image courtesy Optimism Brewing)

(Image courtesy Optimism Brewing)

Designed on the Hill is a new series reflecting on good design, as observed by Greg Janky and Treasure Hinds of Anvil Studios, a product design firm based on Capitol Hill.

Just a few blocks down from our offices is a bold statement of universal design; the spacious, timber-lined hall of Optimism Brewing.

Though the many design subtleties may not be noticed right away, even casual visitors know right away they are interacting with a special space. Optimism Brewing Company made a very conscious choice to create a welcoming and innovative space for everyone by designing a gender neutral bathroom that’s not just a huge leap forward for gender equality, but also a demonstration of beautiful design. Continue reading

Street Treats adding ice cream sandwiches, sweets to busy scene around 23rd and Union


(Images: Street Treats)

(Images: Street Treats)

It’s been a big week for change around 23rd and Union. How about some more ice cream?

“We’re going to do what we do everywhere,” Seattle food truck entrepreneur Diane Skwiercz tells CHS about her new Central District headquarters for Street Treats, one of the grandmamas of Seattle’s on-the-move food and drink scene.

The business moved into its new kitchen over the holidays at 24th and Union in The Stencil building. Come spring, the Street Treats counter will open offering scoops, ice cream sandwiches, and the cookies and baked goods that Street Treats has been featuring around the city for years. With the space inside dedicated to Street Treats’s kitchen needs, the new E Union sweets provider will be walk-up only. You can drop by the nearby parklet in front of Cortona if you’re looking for a place to sit.

Skwiercz tells CHS the search for a permanent home for Street Treats included more affordable neighborhoods like Beacon Hill and the Central District and Capitol Hill, “no offense,” wasn’t even an option. Still Skwiercz will be part of a growing business community in her new neighborhood. Neighbor Union Coffee — yes, from the Molly Moon’s ice cream family — opened in September and Feed Co. Burgers joined the building with a late October debut, and the Ponder pot shop opened just down the hill in 2015. Add the Midtown Center development and new buildings coming across the street at 24th and Union and another on the northwest corner at 23rd and Union. Continue reading

Joining Womxn’s March on Seattle, Capitol Hill restaurant hosting Anti-Defamation League fundraiser to mark Trump’s inauguration

Chef Renee Erickson and partners at her company Sea Creatures are stepping up against intolerance with a fundraiser at her Bar Melusine on Donald Trump’s January 20th inauguration day.

“I think we were all feeling, given the current kind of climate in our community, we wanted to do something on inauguration day that would be a little bit more positive and uplifting,” Jeremy Price, Erickson’s partner at Sea Creatures told CHS.

It will be part of a weekend of protest and speaking out in Seattle though the largest planned event will be a silent one.

Thousands are expected to march on downtown on the Saturday following the Inauguration in the Womxn’s March on Seattle:

On January 21st, 2017 we will join forces and unite for the Womxn’s March on Seattle in solidarity with the national Women’s March on Washington D.C. We invite people of all gender identities, ethnicities, ages, abilities, religions, and sexual orientations to come participate in this amazing event. Building on the legacy of the 1963 March on Washington, we continue to hold these difficult discussions surrounding race, since it has consistently played a huge role in the fight for gender equality. It is vital that we continue to incorporate people of color in these discussions, and that we learn from history. By promoting intersectionality within our movement, we hope to elevate the level of understanding for all marginalized groups, as they will be most affected by the Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, classism, racism, and sexism of this new administration. If we do not prioritize the most vulnerable voices, then we will not succeed as a movement.

“Seattle has adopted the name ‘Womxn’s March on Seattle’ to promote intersectionality in our movement,” organizers write. “Intersectionality acknowledges that different forms of discrimination intersect, overlap, and reinforce each other, and takes into account the impact of discrimination based not only on gender but also race, sexual orientation, gender identity, nationality, faith, class, disability, and other backgrounds.” Continue reading

CHS Pics | Soup’s on at Marmite in Chophouse Row

img_7003“The word for pot is… la-mar-meet… now, you try it…”

Chef Bruce Naftaly is already regarded as a brothy genius but he and wife and business partner Sara Naftaly should probably get some credit for their weather forecasting skills. Their soup-centric Marmite — oui, the French word for pot but, non, not that kind of pot — debuted just in time for a cold and icy snap in Seattle that is perfect for their “bone-warming” broths.

Following its Christmas weekend debut, CHS stopped by earlier this week to see Marmite in motion inside the 11th Ave-fronting Chophouse Row restaurant space the Naftalys have nurtured back to health after a rough go for the short-lived former tenant. Starting in “pop-up” mode, a menu of daily soups and sandwiches awaits. Bowls — chicken, leek, buckwheat noodle and roasted root vegetable, when we visited — run $9. The question for the Capitol Hill ventures of $6 pizza and $9 soup is can the experience be special enough to justify the cost of craft and local, ethical ingredients as lunch morphs into what you might call an “affordable luxury.” Continue reading

$15 now — As workers at Seattle’s biggest chains hit milestone wage, Hill’s small biz owners make 2017 adjustments

The new year means another wage hike for Seattle workers and some workers have finally hit the $15 goal of the phased-in plan. For 2017, employees of businesses with more than 500 workers who don’t pay toward medical benefits now must earn at least $15 per hour, a $2 raise from 2016. While most Capitol Hill small business owners don’t have to worry yet about a Starbucks-level minimum wage, they’re still navigating yet another year of raises in the city’s multi-year phase-in process.

“Our fear is pricing people out of the neighborhood,” Meinert said. “… We don’t want to keep raising prices, but we have to.”

While other large employers who put dollars toward their workers’ medical benefits will be paying $13.50 per hour, a $1 increase from 2016, workers at small businesses — those with 500 or fewer employees — are now guaranteed $13 per hour, up $1 from 2016. Employers will either hit that by paying $13 per hour or by paying $11 hourly and either at least $2 per hour toward medical benefits or ensuring their employees get at least $2 hourly in tips.

That tip credit toward the $15 wage is scheduled to end by 2025. A small number of Seattle restaurants have already moved away from tips to service charges in part because of the rising minimum wage.

Some restaurant owners such as David Meinert, who is part of the ownership at a large family of businesses including Lost Lake Cafe, Comet Tavern, Grim’s and Big Mario’s, have regrets about how Seattle’s wage hike is being phased in. Continue reading

Katsu Burger rings out 2016 with Capitol Hill debut

“By demand and popularity,” Katsu Burger is now open on Capitol Hill. The popular Japanese-style burger joint’s 12th Ave expansion debuted this week with a “quiet opening” as the restaurant gears up for life on the edge of Pike/Pine.

A Thursday grand opening is planned. After, Capitol Hill will be the lucky recipient of extended Katsu hours with plans to operate 11:30 AM to 10 PM Sundays through Thursdays, and 11:30 AM to 2 AM on Fridays and Saturdays.

“By demand and popularity we thought Capitol Hill would be a perfect place to open,” owner Stephanie Kang told CHS as we broke the news in November on Katsu’s arrival on Capitol Hill. Continue reading