Philadelphia Fevre closes bringing 30 years of cheesesteaks to an end in the Central District

(Images: @jlunz via Twitter)

“Closed for business” (Images: @jlunz via Twitter)

2014 will go down as a sad year for legendary Central District restaurants as 23rd and Madison’s Philadelphia Fevre has served its last “authentic Philly-style” cheesesteak after 31 years of business.

Here’s the legend Philly Fevre ownership tells of the sandwich shop’s birth:

Philadelphia Fevre was started by Renee LeFevre in 1983.  Ms. LeFevre moved to the northwest from Philadelphia with an idea of starting the first authentic Philly steak shop in the Seattle area.  Renee was a stickler for Philly authenticity and tradition.  Through Renee’s leadership the restaurant quickly established itself as a favorite stop for east coast transplants homesick for an authentic Philly-style meal.  The restaurant received numerous awards and recognition for its great food and unique offering.  Ms. LeFevre created a strong base and long standing tradition that is still felt by many of the shop’s customers today…

B5Eyqc6CAAAnPKrCHS is working to have more on what lead to the closure and the history of the shop soon but it looks like the restaurant’s end was anticipated by its owners. The Fevre’s liquor license was discontinued earlier this fall, often a sign of a business winding itself down. But we hope to be able to report more on the circumstances later this week.

There is no word, yet, on anything lined up to take over the space. If you need to get your Fevre fix, you can visit sibling Philly Fever Restaurant and Bar on 3rd St. in Renton. We don’t know why the sister location opted to change her name from Fevre. Philly owners say they are looking for a new Seattle location in which to reopen.

The 23rd/Madison shop’s closure follows this summer’s end of Catfish Corner which shuttered at MLK and Cherry after 30 years of business. That restaurant space remains empty.

Harvard Exit’s future is preservation-minded restaurant and office development

"machine of light and dream, harvard exit theater" (Image: davamoore via Flickr)

“machine of light and dream, harvard exit theater” (Image: davamoore via Flickr)

“Woman’s Century Club, Seattle, ca. 1925″ (Image:  MOHAI)

“Woman’s Century Club, Seattle, ca. 1925″ (Image: MOHAI)

The historic Harvard Exit building is here to stay, but its 46-year run as a movie theater will come to an end this January. The building’s new owner, developer Scott Shapiro, tells CHS he is planning a year-long overhaul to transform the twin-cinema’s interior into offices, a restaurant, and possibly a bar.

The Harvard Exit is a marquee property in the Harvard-Belmont Historic District, and the preservation-minded Shapiro said the 1925-built masonry exterior will remain completely intact.

“You’ll drive by and you wouldn’t notice any thing has changed,” Shapiro said, adding that he would uncover one row of currently boarded-up south-facing windows. “I love historic buildings, and if there’s a way to keep them and find a new use for them, that’s what I’m for.”

Shapiro tells CHS a restaurant or cafe will likely take over the building’s 1,500 square-foot lobby, while he envisioned a bar moving into the 2,200 square-foot basement. The rest of the building will become “creative offices,” including the two 5,000 square-foot theater spaces and two upper floors of existing offices. Continue reading

Capitol Hill food+drink | Chavez will bring Durango-style tacos and Mexican small plates to 12th Ave

Chef Chavez (Image: Cantinetta)

Chef Chavez (Image: Cantinetta)

Simple, focused, shareable small plates and tacos from Mexico’s northern city of Durango. That’s the concept for Chavez, the latest Capitol Hill restaurant slated for a soft opening — this time, just after Christmas amid a flurry of food and drink news on 12th Ave.

Chavez is a culinary coming home for Duranguense head chef Gabriel Chavez. After five years in the kitchen at Cantinetta, Trevor Greenwood’s Wallingford Italian restaurant, Chavez is taking charge with his hometown favorites in Greenwood’s latest venture.

In addition to a rotating menu of tacos and anojitos (Mexican appetizers), Chavez will also feature one main seafood dish a night and a tasteful-but-not-overblown selection of tequila and mezcal. Continue reading

Stateside part of rich wave of Capitol Hill newcomers below Broadway

IMG_0723As 2014 draws to a close, there is suddenly an even more shameful embarrassment of riches in Capitol Hill food and drink thanks to three new Asian-flavored ventures between Broadway and downtown. We took you inside BC-born izakaya Suika in the former home of 611 Supreme earlier this week. Here’s a look inside French Vietnamese-focused Stateside down Melrose-way.

“There’s so many good things here already,” Stateside’s chef/owner Eric Johnson tells CHS. “We’re just trying to create a situation here where a fantastic restaurant community will accept us.” Continue reading

Canadian-born Suika izakaya arrives on Capitol Hill

Makoto Kimoto is taking the quiet approach to launching a new food+drink venture on Capitol Hill (Images: Josh Kelety for CHS)

Makoto Kimoto is taking the quiet approach to launching a new food+drink venture on Capitol Hill (Images: Josh Kelety for CHS)

Vancouver BC is spilling over onto Capitol Hill, ever so quietly. Tucked into 611 E Pine, the space that formerly housed the 611 Supreme during its 18 year run, is a little slice of Vancouver, Japan and Korea: the Suika izakaya-style bar and restaurant.

Its soft opening earlier this week was as low profile as their hushed start of work on the space back in August. And that’s apparently intentional. “I don’t want to do any marketing or anything, just let people talk, if they like it,” said Makoto Kimoto, co-owner of both Suika Seattle and Suika Vancouver.

Originally from Japan, Kimoto has been living in Vancouver for the past seven years, working in the restaurant business with fellow entrepreneur and co-owner of both the Canadian and Seattle Suika restaurants, Minoru Tamaru. Tamaru and Kimoto have opened a total of four restaurants, eateries, and bars across Canada, with Suika Seattle the fifth to join the family.

“We did the research and we decided last June to come down to Seattle,” said Kimoto.

Suika is part of a new wave of Asian-flavored restaurants opening on Capitol Hill. It joins spring 2014-born Shibumi in the Capitol Hill izakaya arena. As for the BC takeover of Capitol Hill food and drink, it has begun. Next comes Gastown’s Meat & Bread in the Central Agency building joining recently re-opened Lark and its myriad new offspring.

An izakaya is aimed to serve a variety of purposes, from providing filling meals to full bar and appetizer service. But according to Kimoto, sharing is a key feature woven into Suika’s menu. “Most of our dishes are to share. It’s not [just] for people to come and order individually,” he said. Continue reading

Capitol Hill food+drink | Zhu Dang ready to mix tradition with new flavors on E Olive Way



Artist Kofie and owner Cheng at work inside Zhu Dang (Image: Zhu Dang)

Last week, CHS broke the news about Lionhead, a Sichuan-focused Chinese restaurant and bar being planned by Broadway chef Jerry Traunfeld. You’ll have to wait months to see the story play out. But another story of Chinese cuisine on Capitol Hill is coming to its big climax this week as Zhu Dang is planned to open in a transformed space on E Olive Way.

“We want to expose people to the original flavors,” first-time restauranteur and former Capitol Hill resident Steve Cheng tells CHS. “I hope it’s a great introduction but also meets expectations of people who like it authentic.”

The official opening date is Tuesday, December 16th.

Zhu Dang joins a wave of global-flavored restaurants like recent examples Mamnoon, Stateside, and Trove sweeping through Capitol Hill’s fine food and drink scene. “It’s a  reflection of the way to the American palate has changed,” Cheng said. He hopes Zhu Dang will also succeed thanks to not just changing but truly global tastes. “I walk around on Broadway, I’m hearing Mandarin,” Cheng said. He’s hoping Zhu Dang can appeal to those international students at Seattle Central looking for a taste of home as well as their Capitol Hill neighbors.

Cheng said his goal was to be open by Christmas to begin what he hopes will become a tradition on Capitol Hill with locals reveling in the classic cliche — a Christmas dinner at the local Chinese restaurant. Continue reading

What they’re saying about Capitol Hill’s Starbucks Roastery: $20M price tag, chi-chi Hill, ‘a gathering spot for the well-to-do’


The Starbucks PR for the new roastery played up the whole Willy Wonka thing — pretty much everybody bit (Image: CHS)

Last week, CHS showed you inside the massive new Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room in a transformed auto-row era showroom at Pike and Melrose. The rest of the world had some things to say, too. Below is a selection of news, notes, and observations about the project from reporters around the country and the world. We’ve highlighted some of the more interesting bits. Let us know if there are any other reports worth noting that we missed.

Shows what construction permit budget totals will get you. The Starbucks permit was filed with a $2.3 million construction budget: The new Starbucks Roastery is rumored to have cost more than $20 million. Part retail store, part manufacturing facility and part theater, the store intentionally evokes the chocolate room where Augustus Gloop met his fate in Willy Wonka’s candy factory.New York Times

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CHS Pics | Stevie Wonder on Capitol Hill

Stevie Wonder came to Seattle this week to sing, make a compelling speech… and eat at 12th Ave’s Plum Bistro Thursday:

Before his visit with Makini Howell, Wonder worked up his appetite the night before in a show at Key Arena where he introduced one of his classics by sharing a little wisdom on the week’s unrest:

Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room opens at the base of Capitol Hill

(Images: CHS)

At night, you’ll see projected images of coffee farms and harvesting. The new Roastery opens Friday at 7 AM. Be there. (Images: CHS)

The clacker board "clacks" off the latest roasts (Images: CHS)

The clacker board “clacks” off the latest roasts (Images: CHS)

In a massively overhauled auto row-era showroom at the base of Capitol Hill, Starbucks has created a coffee experience so large, you’ll need a map.

It’s got a big name, too.

The Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room opens to the public on Friday at the corner of Pike and Melrose after a couple of nights of entertaining big coffee VIPs during the Seattle-headquartered company’s annual investors meeting. Hours are 7 AM to 11 PM, daily.

“It’s the ultimate expression of Starbucks,” Roastery general manager Coulter Smith told CHS on a pre-opening tour of the 20,000 15,600 square-foot roasting facility, cafe, and restaurant. Smith is a company veteran who began his Starbucks career as a barista. He’ll manage at least 32 of them here — “We’ll see if we need more” — and around 100 employees total.

CHS first broke the news on the goliath plans for the project in the former home of an art supply store and Volvo dealership just over a year ago in September 2013. It wasn’t the first time Starbucks decided to innovate in coffee-rich Capitol Hill. And the project with a base construction budget of $2.3 million (UPDATE: Sprudge says plus about $1 million in equipment) probably won’t be the last. But it will probably be the only one requiring Puget Sound Clean Air Agency approval. As part of the plan, Starbucks brought along frequent collaborator Tom Douglas and his Serious Pie. Both Douglas and Starbucks have signed long term leases with the building owners who selected coffee over beer for the future of the one-time Packard dealership.


(Image: Starbucks)

(Image: Starbucks)

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Capitol Hill food+drink | Poppy sibling Lionhead will open on Broadway in 2015

Camel foot with leeks probably won’t be on the menu but the flavors and surprises the husband and husband team behind Capitol Hill’s Poppy found on their travels in China last year have helped inspire a new venture neighboring the now six-year-old Broadway restaurant. Chef Jerry Traunfeld tells CHS he will open the Sichuan-flavored Lionhead in the former cheesecake bakery next door to Poppy late next spring.

Named for “a Chinese breed of fancy goldfish,” Lionhead will be a “small restaurant” and bar serving “Chinese food with an emphasis on Sichuan dishes.”

“It’s a big departure from the seasonal, herb-inspired style of cooking I’ve become known for but I’ve been working on this idea for many years,” Traunfeld said.

After downsizing this fall, The Confectional will continue its mini-cheesecake business in Pike Place Market. Mallet will head up the transformation and buildout of the former cafe and bakery. Continue reading