Capitol Hill food+drink | All-star vegan chef Howell plans Sugar Plum transformation on 15th Ave E


(Image: Sugar Plum)

Howell -- celebrity vegan chef -- visits Wendy Williams (Image courtesy Plum)

Howell — celebrity vegan chef — visits Wendy Williams (Image courtesy Plum)

What a wonderful world. On Capitol Hill, ice cream and cookies are signs of maturity. Makini Howell, the Capitol Hill-based vegan food and drink entrepreneur behind the Plum family of bistros, cafes, pantries, and burger trucks, says her next venture in the neighborhood will be a sweet shop — though longtime fans of her little 15th Ave E cafe might find the news bittersweet.

“In order to stay relevant, you gotta keep up with the market,” Howell tells CHS of her plans to convert her longtime vegan cafe into a brand new 15th Ave E vegan ice creamery and sweet shop. “And maybe it’s a sign that I’m ready for what’s next. Everything. On 15th. My life. The city.”

Howell says the transformation of the tiny little cafe where she got her true start in vegan culinary skills will begin at the end of October when Plum Cafe closes and begins making way for Sugar Plum. She hopes to have the buildout complete before the end of winter. But first she’ll say goodbye. Continue reading

Seattle’s second I-502 retailer, Uncle Ike’s opens Tuesday — UPDATE

IMG_8324IMG_8318UPDATE 9/30/2014: At noon around 20 people were waiting in line at 23rd and Union when a man poked his head outside Uncle Ike’s Pot Shop and yelled “we’re open!”

The line was not nearly as long and didn’t start nearly as early as when the first I-502 stores first opened in July, but it was a ceremonious afternoon nonetheless as Seattle’s second pot shop “officially” opened in the heart of the Central District.

Ryan Elbrecht, 35, was vacationing in Seattle from Florida when a friend dared him to be the first in line for Uncle Ike’s grand opening. Elbrecht said he got in line at 9 PM Monday night with a backpack full of beer and a goose-shaped pillow.

“It’s just cool to walk into a shop and buy weed. You go to prison for that where I’m from and we’re in the same country,” he said.

Elbrecht said the experience was so good he’s going to make Seattle his new home. A construction worker by trade, Elbrecht said he doesn’t think he’ll have any problems finding a job in the area. “There are cranes everywhere around here,” he said.

Ryan Elbrecht, 35,

Ryan Elbrecht, 35, at the front of the line for Uncle Ike’s grand opening (Photo: CHS)

One man waiting online with his husband said he worked for the Department of Defense while his spouse worked for the Department of Homeland Security. “It’s not appropriate for me to be here, but I don’t care,” he said. Both men asked to remain anonymous.

Prices at the store were high, but appeared to be in line with Washington’s other I-502 shops: $26 for a gram and $44 for a package of edibles. Sales seemed to go off without a hitch, aside from a few customers who were turned away for not having an ID.

Following a successful soft launch to test out the state’s I-502 computer system and work out any kinks in being only the second legal marijuana retailer in Seattle, Uncle Ike’s was ready for its “official” opening.

CHS broke the news last week on the two-building Central District mini cannabis campus moving forward with its business venture after state inspectors approved it as only the second I-502 retail license in Seattle.

Ike’s owner Ian Eisenberg tells CHS that the shop will begin serving customers at noon Tuesday with plans to remain open until 7 PM — or until its $26/gram pot runs out. “We have flower and joints from Avitas and Monkey Grass Farms, a nice selection of edibles and RIF oil cartridges from Green Chief, and we expect to have JuJu Joints as well,” Ike’s posted in a Facebook update. Continue reading

Enjoy 2 of Capitol Hill’s most anticipated summer, maybe fall Asian restaurant openings as Manao Thai debuts, Oma Bap celebrates

Blessing Day at Manao (Image: Manao Thai Street Eats)

Blessing Day at Manao (Image: Manao Thai Street Eats)

It’s time to start cashing in on the great Capitol Hill-area Asian food and drink wave of 2014. Two more from our only partly tongue in cheek 9 of Capitol Hill’s most anticipated summer, maybe fall Asian restaurant openings… ever invite you to stop by this drizzly weekend.

(Images: Manao Thai Street Eats)

(Images: Manao Thai Street Eats)

First, Manao Thai Street Eats is open at 13th and E Pine. CHS talked with Teeraya (Cezeaux) Silpi about her new venture with business partner Montida Lertkiatsakul earlier this year. The partners previously owned Kent Station’s Banyan Tree and Lower Queen Anne’s Thai Fusion separately before collaborating the street-food themed restaurant. The menu runs the gamut from fresh rolls to tom yum soup to which phad you desire and prices top out around $12 a dish. Manao neighbors another member of the Asian-flavored wave — Shibumi Izakaya opened on E Pine in April. Hours are 11a to 10p Monday through Thursday, 11a to 1a on Friday and Saturday and noon to 9p on Sundays. You can check out the menu and learn more at

10582768_721217651249068_8003126096952799471_oMeanwhile, Oma Bap has been open at 12th and Cherry for a few weeks but is celebrating is grand opening this weekend. The Korean fast-styled but not fast-food purveyor of bibimap fled the high rents of Bellevue for…. the less high rents of 12th Ave just south of the relentless battlefront that is the southern expansion of Capitol Hill(tm).

Both Oma Bap and Manao, one might note, are making their homes in retail space inside new development.

Stop by 12th and Cherry this weekend and you’ll get a deal — and advance the Hill’s march toward world domination.

You can learn more at

Capitol Hill food+drink | Nuflours gluten free bakery plans October opening for 15th Ave E cafe

The crew celebrates its "community sourced" check to help pay for the new cafe (Image: Nuflours)

The crew celebrates its “community sourced” check to help pay for the new cafe (Image: Nuflours)

Funded in part by an innovative community financing campaign, a new cafe is set to join 15th Ave E at the Nuflours bakery.

“Our customers were delighted to help in anyway they could,” Amanda Bedell of Nuflours tells CHS. “The day after the campaign ended we had a Bakery Pop Up Friday and so many squareholders came by — cheering, hugging, singing (really!). So fun!!”

In August, CHS reported on the call for “squareholders” — community members willing to put up a $50, no-interest loan through the Community Sourced Capital systemto help Nuflours finance the buildout of a new cafe space inside the 80-year-old bakery it’s been working out of since spring. 132 loans were made helping Nuflours raise $15,000 to go toward the project.

Bedell says the new Nuflours cafe — the company’s first Seattle storefront — is slated to open Friday, October 10th at 7 AM.

(Image: Nuflours)

(Image: Nuflours)

The cafe will offer the full gamut of Nuflours gluten free creations plus some new additions:
Continue reading

Ready to serve the Central District and Capitol Hill, Uncle Ike’s Pot Shop set to open at 23rd and Union

10639712_790347977691561_1458183800514921383_n (1)Since early July, only one store has been able to tie together the permits, the building, and, most importantly, the product to sell legal retail marijuana to the people of Seattle. This week, the equation is about to change at 23rd and Union.

Land owner and entrepreneur Ian Eisenberg tells CHS that Uncle Ike’s Pot Shop pot shop has received its temporary license and is planning an opening in the Central District sometime in the next week — if all goes to plan.

“I haven’t slept in a month,” Eisenberg said of the sudden rush of activity around the venture.

The license puts Eisenberg on pace to operate only the second retail marijuana operation in the city and puts him behind the counter of the shop closest to the densely-packed population of Capitol Hill.

UPDATE 9/25/2014: Looks like Saturday is a go:

UPDATE x2: The opening menu from producer Avitas:

* Black 84
* Cinex
* Lemon Kush
* Pineberry
* Snoop’s Dream

Continue reading

Pike/Pine nightlife entrepreneur Meinert lights up I-502 marijuana venture Torch Northwest

Meinert congratulating Ed Murray on Election Night. They probably were not high (Image: CHS)

Meinert congratulating Ed Murray on Election Night. They probably were not high (Image: CHS)

10645080_361068550711664_307403192876139037_nOnly one I-502 marijuana retailer has been able to open to serve the 650,000 or so residents of Seattle – and the closest licensed shop to Capitol Hill is still nowhere close to opening. But there are still a few potrepreneurs in our midst and, possibly, a few pot jobs to be had.

Dave Meinert, a partner in several Pike/Pine concerns and a leader in the city’s nightlife scene who has taken on a more active civic presence after his heavy involvement in the minimum wage negotiations, tells CHS he is part of a new start-up seeking to address the challenges of processing, distribution, and packaging for the state’s growing ranks of marijuana growers.

“It’s hard to start a new industry,” Meinert said. “I’m excited to be part of it. If I would have been around when they were making whiskey legal, I would have been in on it.” Continue reading

Hot Cakes to open Capitol Hill ‘cakery’ where B&O Espresso once stood

Images: Hot Cakes via Facebook

A Ballard-born purveyor of decadent desserts, sweet treats, and boozy shakes, Hot Cakes is coming to Capitol Hill in the new development on the corner of Belmont and E Olive Way that was once home to B&O Espresso.

The full announcement on the new Capitol Hill “cakery” is below.

Owner Autumn Martin’s next creation is slated to debut on E Olive Way in early 2015. The new venture will be the second Hot Cakes in the city. After a pop-up start, Martin opened the first in Ballard in 2012.

UPDATE 9/18/2014: CHS talked with Martin about her venture onto Capitol Hill to open the second Hot Cakes in Seattle. We have bad news for the rest of the city.

“I would love to just have two,” Martin tells CHS. “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.”

Martin said she thinks Hot Cakes will be successful on Capitol Hill despite pockets of saturation when it comes to food and drink in the area.

“There are parts of Capitol Hill that are completely jam packed,” she said. “I think there’s still room.” Martin is banking on serving the Hill’s densely populated blocks below Broadway. “The western facing slope is not very saturated,” she said. “It’s kind of it’s own little neighborhood.”

The Seattle area native said the location’s B&O history was also important to her.

“I remember going there late at night and having cake and thinking of it as a late night spot though I’m pretty sure I wasn’t 21.”

8445778417_333161bfcc_o-400x243B&O Espresso had called the corner home from 1976 to 2012 before being displaced by the planned six-story development. Jane and Majed Lukatah opened a Ballard location but it, too, shuttered earlier this yearAt one point, the much loved coffee shop and cafe were planned for a return to Capitol Hill when the new construction was completed. Architects went so far as to include the cafe’s iconic train logo in renderings of the six-story building’s design used in public meetings. Continue reading

21 Capitol Hill restaurants, bars & food trucks ready to serve at Capitol Hill Housing benefit, 39 lined up for Eat Out on Capitol Hill

Eric Banh doled out the pho at a past Omnivorous (Image: CHH)

Monsoon’s Eric Banh doled out the pho at a past Omnivorous (Image: CHH)

$91 and 12 cents will get you a ticket to Thursday’s Capitol Hill Housing benefit that has turned into an annual showcase of the best — and most generous — in Capitol Hill food and drink. The fourth Omnivorous benefits the nonprofit developer and will bring together more than twenty great food and drink providers in 2014 — including two food trucks.

You can buy tickets here via The Stranger:

Thursday, September 18th 5:30 PM / The Summit 420 E Pike
For one night, enjoy an array of fabulous food and drink by some of Capitol Hill’s best restaurants and bars – all under one roof!

Featuring Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, Cafe Presse, Corretto, Feed Co. Catering, Fran’s Chocolates, Hello Robin, Marjorie,  Poppy, Poquitos, Quinn’s Pub, Restaurant Zoe, Skillet, Tango, Taylor Shellfish, Terra Plata and The Tin Table.

New this year: Jemil’s Big Easy and Off the Rez food trucks

Plus wine and specialty cocktails courtesy of Okanogan Estate Winery, Oola Distillery and Sidetrack Distillery

Your ticket gets you:

  • Unlimited plates of culinary creations

  • Excellent Northwest wines and imaginative specialty cocktails

  • A fun evening with your Capitol Hill neighbors and friends of affordable housing

2014-eatOutCapitolHillaYou can also mark your calendar for another Capitol Hill food+drink fundraising tradition. The annual Eat Out on Capitol Hill to benefit the nonprofit Country Doctor returns Thursday, September 25th with a roster 39 Capitol Hill restaurants and bars strong:

Benefiting Country Doctor Community Health Centers-Providers of Accessible Healthcare to Everyone Regardless of Ability to Pay.
A Portion Of Your Bill Be Donated To Ensure Everyone Has HealthCare Home At Country Doctor Community Health Care Centers

ADA’S Technical Books and Cafe | Altura | Barrio | Be Bar | Bimbo Cantina | Broadcast Coffee, Bellevue Ave. | Broadcast Coffee, Yesler | Cafe Vita | Cha Cha Lounge | Cherry St. Coffee | Coastal Kitchen | Cupcake Royale | Good Citizen | Hello Robin | Hopvine Pub | Liberty | Lost Lake Lounge | Mamnoon | Manhattan | Mioposto Bryant | Mioposto Mt. Baker | Molly Moon Ice Cream | Monsoon | Oddfellows Cafe | Poppy | Poquitos | Quinn’s Pub | Restaurant Zoe | Ristorante Machiavelli | Sitka & Spruce | Skillet Diner | Smith | Tallulah | The Tin Table | Van Trapps | Victrola Coffee | Via Tribunali | Vios | Witness

You’ll find more information at

First look: Completing the overhaul of a Capitol Hill auto row building, Trove ‘fourplex’ debuts on E Pike

(Images: CHS)

(Images: CHS)

Over the weekend, Rachel Yang finally got to see the pieces of her new food and drink puzzle come together on E Pike as the last step in the preservation-minded overhaul of one of the neighborhood’s remaining auto-row buildings. Trove, a gastronomical “fourplex” of concepts, brings the couple and the teams behind Seattle favorites Revel and Joule to Capitol Hill for the partnership’s first foray in the neighborhood’s booming nightlife economy.


Continue reading

Capitol Hill food+drink | More izakaya and ramen? Kukai Capitol Hill coming

(Images: Kukai)

(Images: Kukai)

10443068_695595740490356_2040236340962179394_oEarlier this year, CHS made a big deal about the nine — count ‘em! — Asian-flavored food and drink projects pending around Capitol Hill. In the time since, the Hill prepared to add a tenth with the news that Vancouver BC’s Suika izakaya bar family is behind a new project to E Pine. Turns out, one in the wave we haven’t said much about is also going to be part of what will surely be the next Capitol Hill food trend to be identified by glossy magazines everywhere — it’s izakaya time.

The international Kukai Ramen & Izakaya chain’s Pacific Northwest footprint will expand in 2015 with the addition of a new location in the new Three20 Apartments building at 320 E Pine. A representative for Kukai has confirmed the project but said the owners were currently focused on a new Thornton Place opening and weren’t ready to say more about their Capitol Hill ambitions. Continue reading

After $15 minimum wage fight, Broadway cheesecake shop The Confectional pares back

Seattle sweet shop The Confectional has closed retail operations at its Broadway store citing a “restructuring.”

A sign in the window at 618 Broadway E spelled it out:

Thanks to Jackson for the picture

Thanks to Jackson for the picture

The move comes after the mini-cheesecake mini-chain caused a stir in the minimum wage debate earlier this year when its ownership said an immediate $15 an hour wage increase would force the Broadway dessert shop to close and the company would need to lay off of half of its staff.

In March, as CHS readers brainstormed ways to help The Confectional stay in business on Broadway, owner Destiny Sund said the company employed 11 people at its three locations with six employees working at the Broadway shop and kitchen. Sund said her Broadway location had been “struggling” and foot traffic had been less than expected when The Confectional brought its mini-cheesecake concept to Capitol Hill in 2011.

In June, Mayor Ed Murray came to Capitol Hill to sign Seattle’s new minimum wage into law. The long march to $15 per hour begins in 2015.

While the closure leaves the business still operating its kitchen in the neighborhood, the loss of the retail component on high-rent Broadway seems a significant blow to The Confectional’s Capitol Hill presence. We’ll see if we can learn more about the company’s long-term plans for the space.

UPDATE: Co-owner Sund declined to comment on the situation citing ongoing lease negotiations.

‘Capitol Hill is just saturated with so many restaurants’

A scene from Canon's early days in 2011 (Image: CHS)

A scene from Canon’s early days in 2011 (Image: CHS)

“Capitol Hill is just saturated with so many restaurants. People can only eat and drink so much,” said Melissa Nyffeler, who owned Dinette for eight and a half years on East Olive Way. “I’d rather fill a void.” — Does Capitol Hill have enough restaurants? This chef says yes / Puget Sound Business Journal

Melissa Nyffeler isn’t coming back to Capitol Hill. She announced she was closing her much-loved Dinette on E Olive Way back in November 2013. There was an eager replacement not far behind, of course.

We’re not sure we can answer the question posed by the business journal in its (praiseworthy!) click-bait angle on the story. Same goes for the number of bars.

But we do think this is an interesting development. Canon, godfather if not the founding father of Capitol Hill’s craft cocktail movement, has taken a page out of the Disney book and is now offering a sort of speed pass at a price — the reservation ticket:Screen Shot 2014-09-08 at 3.01.06 PM

There’s more to learn in the fine print:

Please give yourself enough time to arrive in case you come across difficult traffic or parking. If your entire party is not present at the time of the reservation, you will forfeit your reservation and credits. We will hold your table for up to ten minutes past your scheduled reservation, but please know that in the event that you are unable to attend, your reservation is self-transferable.

Canon also notes that the 12th Ave cocktail bar leaves “90% of the room available for walk-ins on a first-come, first-serve basis” and says “it is rare for there to be a wait on any day but Friday and Saturday.”

Eater Seattle reports the system’s software was created by Canon partner Andrew Fawcett “so that other restaurants, according to owner Jamie Boudreau, ‘can get out from under the influence of OpenTable, etc.’”

Are there too many restaurants on Capitol Hill? Are there too many bars? Maybe. But the lines for the best run deep.

Reminder: First ever 15th Ave E Sidewalk Festival

The Smith kids (Image: Smith)

The Smith kids (Image: Smith)

We told you earlier about the merchants and restaurant, bar, and bakery owners of 15th Ave E getting together to throw a sidewalk party. Sunday afternoon and evening from 2 to 6 PM, you can be there for the first ever 15th Ave E Sidewalk Festival.

Lilli from Smith will be there…

Thanks so much for publishing the info about the 15th Ave Sidewalk Fest that I sent! We here at Smith are really excited for Sunday and I thought I’f give you a taste of what we have planned.

From 2-6pm in front of Smith we will be handing out samples of our amazing house-made tonic (hint of lemongrass anyone?), Tshirts, buttons and free hugs!

We also will be welcoming Trickbag Record Party. Trickbag Record Party is a collective-really more of a party- of vinyl lovers spinning 45s on vintage Califone record players.

There will be dancin’ in the streets….or should I say sidewalks?

Smith will be offering brunch until 3, Happy Hour from 4-6 and full menu starting at 4pm during the event.

If you are in the neighborhood please stop by and say Hi!

Thanks again for all the great neighborhood news!


Screen Shot 2014-09-06 at 8.50.28 PMMeanwhile, at Cal Anderson starting at 6:30 PM

The World is Fun is excited to bring Bubble Fütbol to Seattle as part of our 5 Year Anniversary Celebration Weekend and we want you to be part of the fun!
The World is Fun is excited to bring Bubble Fütbol to Seattle as part of our 5 Year Anniversary Celebration Weekend and we want you to be part of the fun!