Central District nightclub faces deadline in liquor license fight

Sainvil listens to supporters of Waid's speak at a March community meeting about the club (Image: CHS)

Sainvil listens to supporters of Waid’s speak at a March community meeting about the club (Image: CHS)

Friday is the deadline for Waid Sainvil to act to keep his Central District nightclub open as the state liquor board moves forward on its decision not to renew the bar’s liquor license.

In February, CHS spoke with Sainvil who said racism and the push of gentrification was driving authorities to target his Waid’s Restaurant & Lounge after a series of liquor and drug violations at the 12th and Jefferson bar. “It’s a black thing,” Sainvil said. “This is the only place in Seattle where black people from all over hang out.” The issues around Waid’s were discussed at an East Precinct community meeting in March attended by Sainvil and new East Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis.

According to a Washington State Liquor Control Board representative, there were five enforcement and one licensing issue against Waid’s that were to be examined in court over six hearings after the board decided not to renew the club’s license.

Sainvil failed to appear at a hearing earlier this month and the rest of the month’s hearings have been canceled after a judge granted the state’s motion, the spokesperson tells CHS. Sainvil has not yet responded to our request for an update on his plans. Friday is the deadline for Sainvil to file a motion against the board’s decision and try to win back his liquor license against the state’s contentions that his bar has racked up too many violations to continue serving alcohol.

The Waid’s neighborhood continues to change with new development and more business investment. Across the street, Capitol Hill Housing’s The Jefferson apartment building opened in 2013Seattle University, in the meantime, continues to invest in the area and plans a major campus expansion in the neighborhood. Waid’s landlord is Abdulkarim Nagi who also owns the neighboring gas station. Nagi himself is busy in court with a $200,000+ breach of contract suit against  ARCO filed earlier this year over unmet fuel sales quotas.

According to letters from the City Attorney’s office provided to CHS, concerns about incidents at Waid’s date back for years and include a 2013 sting in which minors were able to purchase alcohol at the nightclub.

Chuck’s Central District to add E Union parklet

Inside Chuck's -- we're guessing there will not be a giant refrigerated case in the new parklet (Image: CHS)

Inside Chuck’s — we’re guessing there will not be a giant refrigerated case in the new parklet (Image: CHS)

Chuck’s Central District is already a bottle and mug-filled playground for beer lovers on E Union. This summer, it should add a new place to hang out along the street as the beer shop will join the roster of businesses participating in the city’s growing parklet program. Continue reading

Capitol Hill food+drink | Last night at Piecora’s

(Images: Suzi Pratt for CHS)

(Images: Suzi Pratt for CHS)

We interrupt this stream of news about new restaurant concepts, craft cocktails and farm-to-table creativity for an unusual dollop of food+drink nostalgia. Here’s a look at some of the sights from Tuesday’s last night of service at Capitol Hill’s Piecora’s Pizza after 33 years at the corner of 14th and Madison.Final Night at Piecora's Pizza in Capitol Hill Seattle

CHS wrote here about what comes next after the Piecora family sold their building to an apartment developer for $10.3 million.

Many others have, of course, stopped in to say goodbye and share their thoughts on the end of the Capitol Hill institution. Not completely satisfied with nostalgia, we can’t resist the urge to look for a trend others might have missed in the change. One that comes to mind is the death of simple places to eat that kids like on Capitol Hill. You can call it a childless neighborhood but you would be wrong. Still, places like Chutney’s, Boom Noodle, Montlake Alehouse (yes, the alehouse had a kid pit), and, now, Piecora’s are gone. Watch your backs El Gallito, Vios, and Genki Sushi.

Final Night at Piecora's Pizza in Capitol Hill Seattle

More pictures of the final night at Piecora’s are below. Continue reading

Capitol Hill says goodbye to Piecora’s, hello to familiar national apartment developer

(Images: CHS)

(Images: CHS)


UPDATE 4/17/14Developer reveals plans for the Piecora’s building

Original report: A thick chapter of Capitol Hill history will close Tuesday night when the final slice of Piecora’s pizza is polished off, and a new story will open when the nation’s largest, publicly traded, owner of apartments gets to work on its fourth Capitol Hill property.

Equity Residential purchased the 14th and Madison pizza property from the Piecora family in April for a whopping $10.3 million, adding to Equity’s 30+ residential properties in the region. The Piecora family paid $3,045,000 to purchase the property in 2002. Soon after the Equity sale, Piecora’s announced April 15th would be their last day.

So far Equity has not filed any paperwork to indicate their plans for the site — or if they’ll honor the Piecora name in the new building. Representatives from Equity has not yet responded to CHS requests for comment. Given Equity’s regional properties, it’s safe to assume another mixed-use project is on the way. Continue reading

Shibumi promises a real ramen experience on Capitol Hill

IMG_2253The cauldrons of broth are finally bubbling behind the ramen bar at Shibumi as Eric Stapelman opened his Japanese eatery this week at 12th and Pine. The restaurant is the latest addition to the newly constructed Collins on Pine building, a big change for Stapelman who ran his previous Santa Fe ramen joint from a 19th century-built structure.

Shibumi features two bars, one for ramen and one for booze, and plenty of table seating. The vaulted ceilings and blue steel finishes give a slick overtone to some old-world elements, like the hand-burned wood panels to surround the ramen bar.

“A touch of modern with old world,” Stapelman said.


Continue reading

Off Capitol Hill’s beaten path, Chico Madrid shutters — UPDATE: Fuel pops up

(Image: CHS)

Your last chance to enjoy the sangria machine is this weekend (Image: CHS)

UPDATE: We wondered about this — Turns out, the old Chico Madrid space will stay in motion. Dani Cone’s Fuel Coffee is “popping up” in the space starting Tuesday with coffee and pastries. Hours will be 7 AM to 2 PM. Beer and wine may be in the offing.

Original report: Despite experienced Capitol Hill backers and a lovely home in one of Capitol Hill’s most interesting apartment developments, Spanish-accented cafe Chico Madrid will close this weekend after only one year of business on Bellevue Ave E.

CHS has not heard back from the project’s backers which included coffee and pie entrepreneur Dani Cone and a recent infusion of energy and cash from the team at Marination, Kamala Saxton and Roz Edison. Cone’s Fuel and High Five Pie and Marination Station are CHS advertisers.

UPDATE: Here’s a statement on the closure sent to CHS:

“Chico Madrid will always be a special place and we are so grateful to all of those who embraced the concept, our staff and [our] neighbors. At this time however, we’ve decided to focus our efforts and energy elsewhere.” -Jacob Daley, founding member of Chico Madrid

A message was posted to Facebook about the planned closure earlier this week:

Friends – with heavy hearts, we must tell you that Chico Madrid will be closing its doors this Sunday, April 13th. It has been a remarkable year full of devoted regulars, welcoming press and kind neighbors, however we just haven’t reached a sustainable level of business. But we LOVE Chico Madrid and we want all of you to have one last chance to enjoy our delicious food and warm spirit before we close. Please join us this week – we’d love to see you to say thank you.

Chico Madrid was born in spring of 2013 with Cone teaming up with Jacob Daley and Franz Gilbertson of Ballard’s Honore Bakery. At the time, Daley told CHS his travels in Spain — and the bocadillo sandwich — inspired the new creation. “There were mom and pop cafes with a ubiquitous sandwich,” he said. “Really high quality ingredients but simple.”

The 800 square-foot cafe was resident in the commercial suite built as part of the preservation and development Belroy Apartments project created by Point32, the developers also behind the Bullitt Center. While the residents of the new and 80-year-old old wings of the building were a built-in customer base for Chico Madrid, the cafe was apparently too far away from the Hill’s more traveled areas to draw enough customers to survive. Earlier this year, CHS reported on the effort from Marination to revive the cafe and introduce cocktails and new energy to the space. It apparently was too little, too late — though we haven’t heard back yet about what is next for the partnership that had formed around Chico Madrid.

Whatever is next for the space, backers of a new project might want to check in with the folks at nearby The Lookout as the bar has hung in there over the years – and with a change of ownership — as a neighborhood watering hole on a far-flung edge of Capitol Hill.

Chef’s global adventure lands him on E Pike as Stateside comes to Capitol Hill

Stateside_Logo-02An ex-pat chef’s return home and move to Seattle is behind a new restaurant project planned for the auto row-era building also home to Six Arms.

First-time Seattle restauranteur Eric Johnson plans to open Stateside — blending “fresh flavors of Vietnam with French influence” — in a new project at 300 E Pike this fall.

“We couldn’t be more pleased — just serendipity that we got it,” Johnson tells CHS about the 2,400 square-foot restaurant space being built where offices and parking used to be hidden away in the old building behind the McMennamins tavern. “We really, really wanted an old building. Now we’re going to have to live up to the best concentration of restaurants in Seattle.” Continue reading

Capitol Hill food+drink | Crush marks nine years on the edge

(Image: Crush)

(Image: Crush)

Jason Wilson never meant to serve “fine dining” type food inside his refurbished 1903 Victorian on E Madison just past 23rd — and well over the Capitol Hill border.

Wilson and wife and business partner, Nicole Wilson, also the team behind Miller’s Guild downtown, don’t live on Capitol Hill but view the neighborhood as a “cultural center point.” Wilson sees the proximity to the Central District, Madison Park and Madison Valley as a positive.

That’s part of why the pair decided on the location at 23rd and Madison a decade ago, rather than farther down Pine and Pike.

“(Pike and Pine weren’t) really blowing up at the time; it was kind of a dead zone,” he said. “At the time, Belltown was the place to be.”

Wilson said he also liked the distinguishing characteristics of a singular building set apart from everything else. The house’s $255,000 price tag probably didn’t hurt.

“It’s worked to our benefit now, but at the time everyone kinda thought we were nuts,” he said. Continue reading

Starbucks, Douglas will be roasting the good stuff at new Capitol Hill facility

Packard Seattle once called the corner home

Packard Seattle once called the corner home

A Starbucks premium reserve offering

A Starbucks premium reserve offering

By fall, the entire line of Starbucks premium reserve coffees will be roasted right here on Capitol Hill when the $57.4 billion global coffee giant opens up a new roastery and restaurant complex.

Last month, CHS broke the news that Starbucks was bringing in a Seattle restaurant heavy hitter to help create its planned news Capitol Hill complex at Melrose and Pike.

The rotating line of 15 reserve coffees are currently available in 500 retail locations across 10 international markets. By the end of 2014 Starbucks officials say then want to double the number of locations with the dedicated Capitol Hill facility. The reserve line, currently roasted in Kent, will be familiar to customers at Roy St. Coffee and Tea where coffees like Sumatra Blue Batak and Sun-Dried Ethiopia Yirgacheffe are displayed behind the counter.

Friday, CHS sat down with Starbucks chief creative officer Arthur Rubinfeld at Roy St., the company’s first “inspired”venture on Capitol Hill, to talk about the new roastery. Joining him was restauranteur Tom Douglas, who will open his third Serious Pie pizzeria inside the complex, marking his company’s Capitol Hill debut. Both were ready to fill in the details on the big story CHS has been piecing together since last year.

“It just feels right,” Rubinfeld said of joining forces with Douglas. Continue reading

Pike/Pine’s booming bar scene comes at a price for gay nightlife


Inside Lobby Bar (Image: CHS)

Capitol Hill still prides itself as a gay-friendly — if not fully gayborhood — neighborhood. With efforts like the new OutWatch, it is clear residents and businesses here are ready to defend that status. But it’s also clear that Capitol Hill continues to change. As part of that, there is a nightlife boom economy underway. So far, the neighborhood’s many gay bars are surviving and, sometimes, thriving among their new neighbors.

“You can’t have your cake and eat it, too,” said Brent Lerseth, a manager at Lobby Bar. “It’s good for gay as a whole. It’s just not so positive in the individual gay bar.”

As Capitol Hill and Seattle continues to grow, the neighborhood is no longer the gay center of Seattle’s universe and members of the community have noticed a shift in the nightlife.

Bud Cudmore, 69, has seen Seattle transform multiple times since moving to the city 51 years ago. He still occasionally treks from one gay bar to another, often smoking a thick cigar outside near the front door. He can detail the different scenes: fetish-focused, dance heavy, sporty, the bear bar, the lesbian bar, the twink bar, gay hipster, the “stand and pose” bars.

Bring up the changing face of Capitol Hill during a smoke break outside of C.C. Attle’s and most everyone shares an opinion.

Continue reading

E Madison property home to Piecora’s sold to developer in $10.29 million deal

(Image: Piecora's via Facebook)

(Image: Piecora’s via Facebook)

Here’s the deal, Capitol Hill. You get the Comet Tavern back – but you’ll have to give a few things up.

The family of Danny Piecora has agreed to sell the E Madison property that has been home to Piecora’s for more than 30 years.

According to county records, the buyer in the $10.29 million deal is Equity Residential. The Puget Sound Business Journal calls the publicly traded company “the nation’s largest owners of apartments.” County records also show a terminated lease for the venerable pizza shop as part of the dealings though it currently remains open. The family paid $3,045,000 to purchase the property in 2002.

A person with knowledge of the changes said employees have been told the business will remain open into the summer. We have not heard back from Piecora’s about the deal.

In terms of dollars, it is one of the largest recent transactions in an increasingly coveted — and crowded — area for development. Continue reading

April Fooling? Costco Coffee signs go up at Broadway/Union — UPDATE: BEER

(Images: CHS)

(Images: CHS)

IMG_0714The joke is that you’re not sure it’s a joke. Tuesday morning, new signs appeared inside the former auto showroom and garage at Broadway and Union touting a new era in Capitol Hill cafe culture — Costco Coffee.

It’s not for real. Right?

On a Capitol Hill where 20,000 square-foot retail projects are a trend, and Starbucks is one air quality permit away from developing a double-roaster coffee facility — and restaurant complex — at Melrose and Pike,  you could wonder. The $19.99 per gallon price might be one hint.

The building where the signs appear was most recently home to Complete Automotive. In summer of 2013, CHS reported on plans for Arizona-based Wolff Co. — already active with the Pike Motorworks project on E Pike at Harvard and Sunset Electric at 11th and Pine — was under contract and making plans to purchase the property from the Polyclinic after the medical services company decided to move forward with its development plans elsewhere on First Hill.IMG_0719

Wolff developers went so far as to take the property — also known as the Great Western Motors building — through the landmarks process where it was ultimately rejected by the board. But by the new year, Wolff representatives told CHS the deal was off. We’ve been watching the property since.

The prank joins the great Pine/Pike switcheroo of 2011 in the annals of Capitol Hill April Fools’ shenanigans worthy of the day.

It also may join Ada’s Technical Books and its fuzzy “Hello World” 15th Ave E yarn bombing as a fun way to announce a new project on Capitol Hill.

Whatever entity is behind the signs knows the neighborhood pretty well and went to the extra effort to also file a permit with a 4/1/2014 date to “construct structural improvements and repairs to existing commercial building, per plans.” The address listed is a Southern California commercial office park suite. The architecture firm is Olson Kundig. But we think an earlier filing with the same contact information and same architect might shed more light.

Tennant [sic] Improvement (Substantial Alteration) to single story building to change from retail use to eating & drinking establishment (tap room) and light manufacturing (brewery).

Beer? Here’s hoping Optimism Brewing has finally found its Capitol Hill home. Cheers!

UPDATE: And, yes, it’s beer.

UPDATE x2: The joke is double-funny. Gay Gilmore and Troy Hakala, The couple behind Optimism Brewing previously lost out to coffee giant Starbucks in their bid to build a brewery at Melrose and Pike.