CHS Pics | Yes, another Thai restaurant on Capitol Hill

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Wiborg is ready to offer you a cold one

Wiborg is ready to offer you a cold one

(Images: Suzi Pratt for CHS)

It’s true. We once found a Capitol Hill planning permit with these simple project notes: “Replace the old Thai restaurant with a new Thai restaurant.”

Here’s a look at the Hill’s latest new restaurant to create dishes catering to Seattle’s favorite cuisine.

Soi is the creation of husband and wife restaurateurs Gabe Wiborg and Yuie Helseth Soi who are bringing their years of food and drink industry experience and Kent-tested and approved recipes to E Union. The new restaurant quietly opened last week in the giant Broadstone Infinity development. “We wanted to do a restaurant like Soi in the beginning but Kent wasn’t the right place,” Wiborg told CHS earlier this year. “We had ambitious visions, ideas, and goals.”

Soi joins quite the flock of Thai restaurants in Central Seattle — we count 19 in the neighborhoods west of I-5, north of Cherry, south of 520. In coming months, Big Uncle will make it 19 1/2 — though we’d be willing to bet another two or three will be added to the list in the meantime.

Soi is located at 1400 10th Ave. You can learn more at soicapitolhill.com.

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Burger joint Two Doors Down opens on brother Bottleneck’s E Madison block

The upstairs bar

The upstairs bar

Here’s a trend a hyperlocal community news site can get behind. Erin Nestor’s new burger joint Two Doors Down is now open… just two doors down from her Bottleneck Lounge.

CHS reported on Nestor’s new E Madison project earlier this summer as the bar owner passed along her lease on E Olive Way’s Tommy Gun to focus her efforts on the cool old building home to the Bottleneck just down the hill from 23rd and Madison. Nestor told CHS her Bottleneck regulars started having families, so she and her partner in business and in life Rebecca Denk decided to open a family-friendly burger joint.

But it’s not all kiddie menus. Two Doors Down has overhauled the former home to the faded glory of Philadelphia Fevre into a two-level burger joint with a new upstairs bar boasting 20 taps with an array of ciders and a gluten free Grapefruit IPA from Ghostfish Brewing. Hey kids, you can also get Crater Lake root beer on draft.Parting shot Cold_Beer

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Capitol Hill food+drink | Project from The Lodge Sports Grille lined up for Charlie’s old space on Broadway

(Images: The Lodge Sports Grille)

(Images: The Lodge Sports Grille)

The mystery of the new tenant lined up for the longtime Broadway home of Charlie’s appears to have been solved.

According to a person familiar with the deal, The Lodge Sports Grille is in the middle of a refurbishment of the space that was home to Ken Bauer’s legendary Capitol Hill restaurant for nearly 40 years before its closure this summer.

CHS wrote about the speculation surrounding the space as a new tenant was lined up and work began to spruce up the dusty old Charlie’s surroundings. “There will be something good coming out in the next 30 days,” building owner Johnny Limantzakis told CHS.

Limantzakis nor the Lodge has confirmed the deal with CHS. We’ll update if we hear back. UPDATE: General manager Ben Rhodes said his restaurants are happy to be part of what comes next in the Charlie’s space and that the new project will be loyal to the space’s past. The restaurant won’t be a “Lodge Sports Grille,” however. We’ll have to wait to find out what the name will be closer to opening — definitely before the end of the year, Rhodes said.

Other details are also under wraps for now but Rhodes said the hope is to be as true as possible to Charlie’s past. “We’re not going to try to reinvent the wheel,” Rhodes said. “Maybe a spoke or two.”

Original report: A Broadway location will be The Lodge Sports Grille’s seventh in the Seattle area. It will next open a new grille in Greenwood, currently under construction. The small chain has spread rapidly from its start in Mukilteo:

The Lodge Sports Grille is a family run business and all that that implies. It started in early 2007, as cliche as it sounds, on a napkin over cocktails at a waterfront restaurant in Mukilteo, WA. Shawn Roten was a contractor that dreamt up and built high end homes in the greater Seattle area. When the market crashed in 2008, the business had to evolve. He and his wife, Elizabeth Stewart, decided to use their experience in the construction industry to build a bar, under the impression that in a recession, beer sells better than houses.

The first Lodge Sports Grille opened in 2010.

Here’s how the company describes its approach to building out its spaces — Charlie’s sounds like an ideal candidate: Continue reading

Crush house ready for next life as Coffee Flour test lab

Coffee Flour pasta (Image: Coffee Flour)

Coffee Flour pasta (Image: Coffee Flour)

In 2014, a reinvigorated Crush was being prepared for its 10th anniversary near 23rd and Madison on the edge of Capitol Hill above Madison Valley. Later this week, the James Beard Award-winning restaurant from chef and culinary consultant Jason Wilson will shutter.

“It’s great. We’ve had 10 and a half years there. We’re very proud of what we created,” Wilson said.

The chef tells CHS that his attempt to sell the old house that was renovated to become the home of Crush was part of a plan to move the restaurant. But Wilson found the real estate market a couple years back couldn’t meet his $970,000 price tag. Soon, the long empty lot to the west of the house where the Ship Scaler’s Local 541 building once stood will see the start of construction on this four-story apartment building. And the Crush house that was once home to James A. Roston, an African-American labor negotiator, will move into a new life as a culinary test laboratory for Wilson’s work with Coffee Flour, a wheat alternative made from the discarded waste of coffee bean cherries.

“We’ve found a way to take a trashed ingredient and make it useful,” Wilson said.

Crush is winding down toward its last night of service on August 28th with a daily a la carte menu and tasting menu “that pays respect to the seasons as well as signature items including Beef Short Ribs, Seared Foie Gras, Bacon n’ Eggs, Octopus A La Plancha and more,” according to a release.

Wilson, whose restaurant ventures include downtown’s Miller’s Guild, is also, of course, ready to cook up something new after a decade of upscale, modernist-leaning cuisine at Crush.

“The kind of food that really defined me for a decade,” he tells CHS. “I’m going to be challenged in new arenas.”

Wilson said he plans to announce a new restaurant project before the end of the year.

Meanwhile, neighbors will have a new, slightly less upscale dining option in the area soon as Bottleneck Lounge burger joint sibling Two Doors Down is preparing to open in the old Philadelphia Fevre space.

Soi — ‘the other ambitious restaurant project coming to 10th and Union’ — is now (quietly) open

(Images: CHS)

Renee Erickson’s three-pronged landing on Capitol Hill —Bar Melusine, Bateau, and General Porpoise Doughnuts and Coffee  won’t debut until the fall. But her neighbor in the humongous Broadstone Infinity development that swallowed up the old Davis Hoffman building at 10th and Union has quietly opened:

SOI is a return to Thailand–a departure from your normal expectations of Thai food in Seattle. Our idea is to return back to what it really like to eat in Thailand, with a focus on the raised plateau of the North East region called Issan. We believe that Seattle deserves better Thai food and that folks are tired with what the expectation are from typical Thai food in Seattle. We also believe that folks are yawing at white table cloths, but still expect top-not meals. We want to help educate our customers and will use the typical native names on the menu–though it may be hard for some, it is important to us.

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The queen of Capitol Hill is moving downtown

Derschang inside her recently opened Little Oddfellows (Image: CHS)

Derschang inside her recently opened Little Oddfellows (Image: CHS)

Daydreaming about your glamorous life in Linda Derschang’s $1.7 million Interlaken home is one thing. Dealing with the realities of maintaining the 90-year-old house is another. After calling Capitol Hill home for the better part of 30 years, Derschang tells CHS she is leaving for the simpler life across I-5. This week, she starts her move to a condo in the Denny Triangle.

“My friends say ‘you’re not really moving into a neighborhood,’ but I don’t really need to move into a neighborhood,” she said. “I still spend so much time on Capitol Hill.”

Derschang and Capitol Hill have been inextricably linked since the late 1980s, when she moved to the neighborhood and opened her first Seattle business, a punk clothing store called Basic. Even so, Derschang is downplaying the significance of her neighborhood departure .

Derschang will actually be closer to Linda’s Tavern, Oddfellows Cafe + Bar, and her office above the 10th Ave restaurant in her new home at the base of Capitol Hill. She insists she hasn’t grown tired of us, either: Had there been more new condo options on Capitol Hill, Derschang said she would’ve stayed in the neighborhood.

“Let’s try to keep everything the same for a little while.”

The lifestyle change isn’t something Derschang says she sees as part of a trend among the old guard of Capitol Hill business owners, who have either already moved on or never called the neighborhood home in the first place. The move, she said, is rooted in much more universal impulse: “As we get older, we want to downsize.”

As far as the Derschang Group’s food and drink empire is concerned, Derschang says she has no plans to either shrink or expand following this month’s opening of Little Oddfellows inside the Elliot Bay Book Company.

“Let’s try to keep everything the same for a little while,” she said after laughing off the suggestion that the Denny Triangle could be home to her next venture.

Derschang has been a nonstop nightlife force in Seattle for two decades. She opened the Baltic Room in 1997 and Chop Suey in 2003. In 2006 she opened King’s Hardware in Ballard, and then returned to Capitol Hill to open Smith in 2007 and Oddfellows Cafe in 2008. Bait Shop came in 2012 and Tallulah’s opening closed out 2013.

Last year CHS looked back at the history of Linda’s Tavern as the beloved watering hole turned 20 and glanced ahead at what the future might hold amid so much neighborhood upheaval. At the time, Derschang said she was unsure if the “nice place for nice people” would be able to roll with Capitol Hill culture changes for another 20 years. The future hasn’t necessarily become any clearer for Derschang, but she will have a good vantage point from which to survey it all.

Capitol Hill food+drink | A look inside Lionhead

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We already told you quite a bit about Lionhead when the little Sichuan restaurant from Capitol Hill’s Jerry Traunfeld debuted next to big sister Poppy on Broadway earlier this month. But, like we said, while other big name chef/owners (we’re looking at you Ethan Stowell and Josh Henderson) are creating restaurant-opening machines, Traunfeld has taken a decidedly calmer route. With one opening every seven years, he is on pace to only open two more restaurants by the year 2030. By that time, we project Stowell to have opened his 500th.

Here’s a look inside what all that patience created — and, more importantly, a small visual taste of the Chinese-faithful dishes Traunfeld and head chef Kenneth Lee are creating on north Broadway inside the Traunfeld’s very own “2-block radius” where even the cocktails echo with the neighborhood’s color and culture. How about a Jade Pagoda, old timer, to wash it all down?

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In preparation for opening (soon), Ernest Loves Agnes brings in NYC pizza expert

Jarvis undoubtedly talking mozzarella with Falco (Image: Guild Seattle)

Speaking of pizza, finishing touches are going on in the major overhaul of the old Kingfish Cafe on 19th Ave E in preparation for the opening of the new Ernest Loves Agnes Italian joint and bar from the Guild Seattle folks behind Lost Lake, the Comet, Grim’s, and more. Finishing touches are also going on in the kitchen.

Guild Seattle has flown in Anthony Falco — “pizza czar at Roberta’s in Brooklyn, NY” — to “hang out and make pizza” with ELA chef Mac Jarvis.

“Anthony is no stranger to Seattle, and comes here annually for family vacation,” the Guild announcement says. “While on vacation from pizza, he likes to make pizza.”

“We packed up the team and we headed out on an Italian food tour in New York City this past spring,” Guild’s Jason Lajeunesse said. “I reached out to long time friend Anthony Falco to come eat with us, talk food and catch up. After we spent a couple nights hanging out and touring his work space and restaurant and eating and drinking together at some of his favorite places, I asked him if he would be interested in spending some time with us during his vacation to kicking around pizza recipes while back in town.”

“We are excited to have fun in the kitchen this week,” Lajeunesse said.

Jarvis also heads the kitchen at Grim’s and has also worked at Lost Lake and at 15th Ave’s Smith. This is her first opening as an “executive chef.”

The Hemingway-inspired Ernest Loves Agnes is planned as a dual restaurant and bar featuring “hand-made pizzas and pastas in a cool, comfortable space” with a “thoughtfully crafted menu” that will be “seasonally driven and locally sourced.”

If Hemingway actually said “the first draft of anything is shit,” those looking forward to ELA should be happy to hear about the Falco practice sessions.

Ernest Loves Agnes is currently slated for a mid-September opening.

CHS Pics | City s’mores for Capitol Hill hikers at Hot Cakes

City hikers on E Olive Way can now enjoy an urban version of roasting marshmallows. Capitol Hill Hot Cakes opened earlier this week in the mixed-use building that now rises on the block where B&O Espresso stood. Here is a look inside. Old-timers and students of history can compare and contrast the clean, crisp, tall-ceiling design with the old living room feel from B&O days.

The organic dessert spot is more of a sweets laboratory with polished concrete floors and and “an all-brass, custom-built lit number sign to alert guests when their order is ready.” Hot Cakes includes soft serve in the Hill edition of its “cakery” along with the signature jars of molten chocolate cake, boozy milkshakes, and fancy s’mores. A fire pit and large patio along Belmont make space for E Olive Way hikers to enjoy the great outdoors of Capitol Hill. Inside the 2,200 square-foot Hot Cakes, “hibachi grills for roasting s’mores indoors” can be found “right at your table.”IMG_5609

While many food+drink trails in Seattle can feel repetitious as you wander from Ballard to Fremont to West Seattle to the Hill and find the same restaurants and bars opening the same concepts in each neighborhood, Hot Cakes creator Autumn Martin told CHS last year she was toying with the idea of stopping where she stands. “I would love to just have two,” Martin said. “One on just either side of the city. It’s kind of more of a commitment to come to Hot Cakes. I like it that way.”

The new Hot Cakes is located 1650 E Olive Way and open Monday through Thursday from 4 PM to 11 PM, until midnight on Friday. On weekends, the shop is open 10 AM to 12 AM on Saturdays and 10 AM to 11 PM on Sundays. You can learn more at getyourhotcakes.com.

Capitol Hill food+drink | One-at-a-time, delivery-only Windy City Pie bringing Chicago to Seattle one pizza at a time

(Images: Windy City Pie)

“In my opinion, the best part of my pizza is that caramelized cheese on the edge.”

As we celebrate the return of Bill’s Off Broadway with its new brick and mortar pizza and bar goodness  (and get ready for Pizza Crawl 2015), it’s probably not totally surprising that a former Amazon techie is the man behind Windy City Pie, a days-old 12th-avenue based delivery-only venture promising hearty and authentic Chicago-style deep dish pizza.

“I don’t believe anybody is doing deep dish well here and as an ambassador of the much more flat midwest, I want to bring my cuisine to Seattle,” said Dave Lichterman, a Capitol Hill resident and owner/sole-employee of the new business.

The premise sounds almost too good to be true.

Born and raised in Chicago, Lichterman, who has contributed to CHS in the past as a photographer, grew up on deep dish pizza but it wasn’t until he went to study in Argentina for a semester in 2005 that he began to make his own. He had time on his hands because classes were canceled due to a major teacher strike and he wasn’t too taken with the “very bad” local pizza, which was made of pre-made dough and a watery cheese that was substituted for mozzarella.

While Lichterman admits that his first foray into pizza making now a decade ago was “not good,” he says “I am really proud of the pizza I have today.” Continue reading