Capitol Lounge joining the Comet on E Pike

screen-shot-2016-12-07-at-10-46-58-amAfter sitting empty for two years, the lounge space formerly home to the Lobby Bar has cracked back into motion in recent weeks with the bang bang bang of hammers and the whir of saws and sanders. Japanese hot dog king Shinsuke Nikaido is at work on E Pike again.

No, he’s not building a cat cafe.

Nikaido tells CHS the under construction Capitol Lounge will be a bar and night spot with booze, music, and dancing. It will neighbor his Ikina Sushi which debuted this summer in the madness of the main stage crowd at the Capitol Hill Block Party.

Nikaido knows the area’s nightlife well. His business has been serving Japanese-style hot dogs from his Gourmet Dog Japon carts since 2010. Continue reading

Capitol Hill food+drink | Elysian plans ‘brewing amphitheater’ overhaul on Capitol Hill

After 20 years of making a name for itself, Elysian Brewing can now focus on other goals, like a complete overhaul of its Capitol Hill location to keep up with the neighborhood’s increasingly impressive craft manufacturing investments.

Elysian cofounder and CEO Joe Bisacca tells CHS there will be some major changes throughout the E Pike brewery, but the main objective is to make the craft the focus.

“We want to bring the brewing aspect to the forefront in that space,” Bisacca said.

Bisacca said plans include tearing down a wall, opening up and reconfiguring the brewery portion and adding five fermentors. The vision is to create a “brewing amphitheater” with stadium seating and comfortable tiers of tables so customers can enjoy the brew while they cheer on the brewmaster.

“The idea is when we’re brewing customers can sit and have a beer pretty much right in there with us,” Bisacca said. Continue reading

On Broadway, Pho Cyclo is now The Pho

In the biggest Broadway pho news since Than Brothers moved across the street, Pho Cyclo is gone. Welcome, The Pho.

The new sign went up Thursday. The deal, however, went down way back in October of 2015, a representative for new owner Sam Cho tells CHS. We expect many didn’t notice the new ownership which is good news when it comes to hot soup “starting at $4.99.”

In 2013, CHS spoke with Pho Cyclo’s Taylor Hoang about her near decade at the Broadway favorite and her approach to creating food and drink ventures in the city. “Seeing how hard they worked in restaurant business — seven days a week,” Hoang told CHS back then. “I didn’t want that for myself. So we put in time and effort to develop procedures.” In the run-up to the approval of Seattle’s $15 minimum wage plan, Hoang joined a chorus of business figures opposing the measure. “You ask why if we’re not profitable we keep going. We keep going in the hopes that tomorrow will be a better day,” Hoang told the council.

Though Capitol Hill’s food and drink scene swings more and more toward the midscale and up, Broadway continues to make a home for pho. In 2014, the retreat from Broadway of chain restaurant Qdoba made way for Than Brothers to upgrade with a move across the street.

Unlike the Than Brothers chain and Hoang, who has been part of multiple restaurants in the city, we’re told Cho is more of an investor than a restaurateur. Fans of the relatively giant pho joint are likely happy about the investment.

The Pho is located at 406 Broadway E. You can learn more at thephobroadwaycapitolhill.com.

CHS Pics | Let it Bean, Let it Bean — When the Vivace line is too lonnnng, Let it Bean

You’ve probably already seen the news rocking the coffee world.

Yes, Capitol Hill’s only drive-thru coffee stand has a new owner.

Candace Smith took over the former TNT Espresso this fall. With a new trans flag-colored paint job and under a new name — Let it Bean — the 80-square-foot coffee stand in the teriyaki restaurant parking lot at Broadway and Harrison continues to serve Capitol Hill customers on the go. Its presence presents one of our favorite choices on Broadway — stand in the Vivace walk-up line, or get a move-on and visit the shack. Continue reading

Sugar Hill ‘Thai chicken and rice’ restaurant and bar ready to join Capitol Hill 2016 openings

UPDATE 12/8/2016: Following a VIP pre-funk party last week, Sugar Hill has been open for drinks and plans to kick its kitchen into gear Thursday, owner Guitar Srisuthiamorn tells CHS.

Sugarhill, not open quite yet, at 414 E Pine

Sugar Hill, not open quite yet, at 414 E Pine

The waves of new openings across Capitol Hill have definitely slowed — but not by much. A few more Capitol Hill joints might make it in under the 2016 wire including E Pine’s Sugar Hill.

It hasn’t been an easy sprint to the finish for the “contemporary Thai chicken and rice restaurant and bar” from restaurant veteran Guitar Srisuthiamorn. The buildout of the former Bauhaus space — and onetime Capitol Club — has stretched out longer than planned but she tells CHS an opening is in site with hopes to begin service in the next week or so. The liquor license for cocktails, beer, and wine is in place. The permit for a new sign out front has been issued. The buildout is nearly complete. The plan is to be open from 11 AM to 2 AM, every day.

UPDATE: They’re open.cyokx95viaawp9r

Continue reading

Capitol Hill food+drink | First look at Frankie and Jo’s

Capitol Hill’s first plant-based ice cream shop is now open and CHS was there the Friday after Thanksgiving for its first hours of business to see what the hubbub was all about.

Let us introduce you to Frankie and Jo’s salty caramel ash so you can get acquainted:

grey ice cream? yep! we mix autumn’s famous dry-burned caramel with our cashew and coconut milk base, sea salt, and then fold in our activated charcoal caramel sauce called *moon goo.*

The new shop debuted Friday in the mixed-use, preservation incentive-boosted Broadstone Infinity development on E Union between 11th and 10th where it joins Soi and Rene Erickson’s battery of projects General Porpoise, Bar Mesuline, and Bateau as well as the new Capitol Hill location for Sweet Iron around the corner. Designed by H2 Design & Build, the new shop intends to bring a “Palm Springs-feeling” to this stretch of Union. Continue reading

Rocker’s New Mexican comfort food popping up at Pike/Pine’s Pettirosso

Let’s see if we can keep this straight. Dave Hernandez is a rock and roll guitarist of some renown. See also: The Shins, The Intelligence. He has Albuquerque roots. He now calls Seattle home. And he makes sopapillas, New Mexican comfort food stuffed with “Green chile shredded chicken verde,” “slow roasted pork marinated in NM red chile,” or the “the more traditional beans/cheese/chile” veggie option. You missed his first Barelas Sopapillas pop-up a few weeks back in Ballard, of all places. You don’t have to miss his second.

Monday, 11th and Pike’s Cafe Pettirosso will host a night with Hernandez’s New Mexico-flavored creations and Miki Sodos’s specialty margaritas.

“Dave Hernandez, known most famously for his involvement in the band The Shins and for his part in the thriving Albuquerque independent rock scene, is now churning out sopapillas you wouldn’t believe,” Cafe Pettirosso’s announcement reads. “The New Mexican staple will be stuffed with carne adovada as well as a stuffed vegetarian option with New Mexican green chiles. The stuffed sopapillas will be served with homemade beans and rice.”

Sisters Miki and Yuki Sodos reopened Cafe Pettirosso in 2012 after longtime owner Robin Wright closed the original in 2011. It will celebrate its five-year anniversary in its new incarnation in 2017.

Frankie and Jo’s, Capitol Hill’s first plant-based ice cream shop, opens Friday

Ice cream “churned” from plants. What will they think of next! The wonders never cease in Capitol Hill food and drink. Frankie and Jo’s, the plant-based ice cream shop from the Juicebox’s Kari Brunson and Autumn Martin of Hot Cakes, has announced Friday will be its official opening day.

The “most decadent dairy-free ice cream on the market” might be a good call after a Thanksgiving day of indulgence.  Continue reading

Med Mix preparing for Central District return

An excited reader sent in this picture of the good news on Jackson


A view from inside the old space at 23/Union. A new view on S. Jackson coming soon (Image: CHS)

A view from inside the old space at 23/Union. A new view on S. Jackson coming soon (Image: CHS)

Med Mix is finally ready to return to the Central District.

Owner Otmane Bezzaz confirmed with CHS Monday afternoon his new restaurant is under construction on S Jackson and says he is happy to be returning to the neighborhood after a 2013 arson fire destroyed his first Central District location at 23rd and Union.

“It’s been a three-year nightmare,” Bezzaz told CHS of the long, painful process of losing the 23rd and Union restaurant after just over a year of business at the corner. Continue reading

What’s on the menu at six Capitol Hill Thanksgiving feasts

The Urban Turkey

Enjoy your holiday with the people you love the most: your friends and the friendly food+drink folks around Capitol Hill. Here is what is on the menu at these six Capitol Hill and nearby Thanksgiving feasts this year. As of Monday afternoon, each still had a seat open for you and yours.

Papa Bois joins Capitol Hill street food scene with a year of The Jerk at Harvard/Pike

Seattle’s start-up-y food truck scene will never match Portland’s for its dilapidated, holy shit that’s delicious but that “truck” ain’t going anywhere delights. But every now and then, a van parks, a big converted truck rumbles into place, or a trailer gets dropped along a Capitol Hill curb and offers up something special.

Papa Bois adds some diversity to what is available up there,” Hsiao Chi tells CHS about the new addition to Pike/Pine’s late night street food scene that is just settling in for a year-long tour of duty at Harvard and Pike. Continue reading

Katsu Burger Capitol Hill coming to 12th Ave

There is a burger. And then there is a Katsu Burger. The deep fried Japanese burger master is bringing its creations to Capitol Hill with plans to stuff your jolly Santa belly with an opening of the new restaurant (hopefully) before Christmas.

“By demand and popularity we thought Capitol Hill would be a perfect place to open,” Stephanie Kang tells CHS. After nearly two years of searching for the right kind of space, Katsu Burger will finally arrive.

Kang, who purchased the business from the old school Katsu Burger creator sushi chef Hajime Sato, will take over the space left empty by the financial implosion at The Old Sage. That upscale concept closed its doors in June as owner Brian McCracken struggled through a $2.4 million bankruptcy. McCracken’s Tavern Law still neighbors the coming soon Katsu Burger Capitol Hill home — it has been taken over by new ownership. Continue reading