Just down the Hill, Flora marks 25 years as Seattle’s iconic vegetarian cafe

The Flora crew in 1991 (Image: Cafe Flora with permission to CHS)

The Flora crew in 1991 (Image: Cafe Flora with permission to CHS)

Young CHS reader, hard as it may be to believe, there was a time when vegetarian cuisine was trendy – a sort of specialty food scoffed at by squares the same way your grandpa sniffs at “vegan” and “gluten free.” His scare quotes, not ours. In 1991, Café Flora sought to change that when it opened in an old laundromat on Madison. While it wasn’t the first vegetarian restaurant in town, it’s ridden the growth of the vegetarian lifestyle and is now celebrating its 25th anniversary.

In the years since, vegetarian, and even vegan restaurants have become commonplace, Seattle consistently ranks among the top veg-friendly cities in America, and Café Flora’s owner, Nat Stratton Clarke, welcomes the growth.

“It’s so great. For me, I really welcome that there are more options that are vegetarian or vegan and are terrific,” he said.

Stratton-Clarke wasn’t there at the beginning. He came to the Madison Valley restaurant about 10 years ago, after one of the original owners died. About two years later, the other two originals owners retired, selling Café Flora in 2008. Continue reading

28 bars, restaurants, and cafes part of ‘largest ever’ Omnivorous benefit for Capitol Hill Housing

If you like things like this weekend’s Capitol Hill Renter Summit, and you like 40 years of nonprofit housing development on and beyond Capitol Hill, and you like the idea of two dozen or so Capitol Hill bars, restaurants, and cafes banding together for a party under one roof, you might want to get a ticket or two to Thursday’s annual Capitol Hill Housing benefit, Omnivorous:omni_2016_logo_beet_small

Enjoy an array of fabulous food and drink by some of Capitol Hill’s best restaurants and bars – all under one roof, for just one night! Omnivorous is Capitol Hill Housing’s largest annual fundraiser. $85 gets you: ~Unlimited plates of delicious delicacies ~Superb Northwest wines and specialty cocktails ~A chance to help your neighbors have more than just housing

We’ve got a great line up of local chefs, restaranteurs, bartenders, distillers and roasters already. This year’s participants include: BaBar, Bakery Nouveau, Bar Ferdinand, Caffé Vita, Chávez, Gnocchi Bar, Hello Robin, High 5 Pie, Mamnoon, Marjorie, Monsoon, Oola Distillery, Plum Bistro, Poppy & Lionhead, Quinn’s & Zoe Events, Rachel’s Ginger Beer, Rumba, Single Shot, Tallulah’s, Tango, Taylor Shellfish, Terra Plata, The Tin Table, Witness, and more!

So, basically, $85 for all you can eat Hello Robin cookies. Go crazy. The event runs 5:30 to 8:30 PM on Thursday, September 29th at E Pike’s The Summit event space. Tickets are $85. The full roster of participants is below. Continue reading

Paseo Capitol Hill is coming

Paseo died. And then the Fremont legend and its much-loved Caribbean roast sandwiches were reborn. And then Paseo grew to a new SoDo location. And now it is coming to Capitol Hill.

Mix in an earnest entrepreneur with the cash to make all of the above happen, and you have a very modern Seattle story. Ryan Santwire, who purchased the rights to the Paseo name and its original Fremont location, will open Paseo Capitol Hill in the space in front of music club Neumos left empty when Pike Street Fish Fry closed in late 2015. Continue reading

Wanderfish hopes sustainability, chef give it head start in Capitol Hill poke rush

unnamed-98Maybe there really is a Broadway boom underway. Another empty space on the reportedly light rail-boosted Capitol Hill main drag is being put into motion.

Wanderfish Poke will open in early October in the Broadway Building near E Pine in a space left empty by the summer exit of local fro-yo project Refresh Desserts.

“Seattle is very passionate about its salmon,” Wanderfish partner Tim Lee told CHS as he explained that a focus on sustainable fish and “chef-driven” preparations will be what sets his restaurant apart from the in-progress wave of trendy poke-related concepts. Continue reading

Capitol Hill food+drink | Cook/Weaver will revive Loveless space with ‘inauthentic Eurasian’ menu

The Loveless Building murals from when Olivar occupied the space. (Image: Suzi Pratt)

The murals are staying.

As Nile Klein and Zac Reynolds prepare to write the next chapter of the historic Loveless Building on E Roy, the first question from neighbors passing by has been about their plans for the space’s intricate wall-to-wall paintings.

“The murals are our number one priority,” Klein told CHS. “It’s a beautiful and very interesting gem.”

Those familiar with the 19th Century Russian poem that inspired the murals could have guessed Cook/Weaver would be incorporating the paintings. The Alexander Pushkin poem tells the story of three sisters: a cook, a weaver, and a wife. Continue reading

Next for Melrose and Pine: Rapha Clubhouse Seattle

(Image: Rapha)

A Rapha Clubhouse (Image: Rapha)

Some four and a half years after CHS first reported that a developer had purchased the Bauhaus block with plans for a massive mixed-use apartment building, the project is nearing the end of construction and compiling its first roster of tenants to make this overhauled stretch of E Pine home. Included in the mix: a high-end cycling brand, a local skin care retailer, and a juicery.

Bauhaus, its owner now bankrupt and its cafes shuttered, of course will not return to Melrose and Pine. In its place, a global cycling brand is planning a “clubhouse.” London born Rapha is making plans to hold down the Melrose and Pine corner location the old cafe used to call home with one of its Rapha Clubhouses, part retail, part event space, and, possibly in the Seattle incarnation, part cafe.

An architect working on the project in the 200+ unit Excelsior mixed-use development with 16,000 square feet of retail space told CHS earlier this summer the shop will be “a bicycle clothing store, and might have a cafe element,” but said he could not reveal the identity of the tenant. New filings reveal Rapha and its Portland-based North American subsidiary is behind the investment. Continue reading

Union Coffee opens in the Central District

14115604_1039617212801708_1314860296832474052_oThe artists papering the neighborhood with anti-gentrification “karmic infraction” notices missed an obvious target. There is now a fancy latte shop just down the E Union hill from 23rd and neighboring a cannabis shop. No, the other cannabis shop.

Union Coffee opened Tuesday and is now serving lattes, Americanos, and more brewed from Victrola beans and backed by the business acumen of Zack Reinig who helped spouse Molly Moon Neitzel grow her Seattle ice cream empire. Continue reading

Eat Out 2016 for Country Doctor: 21 bars, restaurants, and cafes supporting nonprofit’s quest to build new Capitol Hill home

14040017_10153958119527545_4576690007042986366_nCountry Doctor Community Health Clinic is making progress towards raising the funding it needs for a new structure to replace its old office space on 19th Ave E. A capital campaign to raise the remaining money necessary for the project is underway. Thursday, you can boost the nonprofit provider of community health care by going out to eat.

“A portion of your breakfast, lunch and/or dinner bill will be donated to our organization to help our patients get the high quality, caring, culturally appropriate primary health care they need and deserve,” the promo reads.

The list of participants is below: Continue reading

Honor Society Coffee adds daytime energy to Melrose Market

Capitol Hill presents many options for ending your day. Melrose Market is now home to a way to get it started. Honor Society Coffee has taken over two parts of the locavore-focused market usually dedicated to nightlife to open its first brew bar. By night, the Sitka and Spruce and lower Bar Ferdinand will continue to host good times on Melrose Ave — by day, Honor Society has moved in with “a rotating selection of single-origin espresso, a unique selection of specialty drinks including house made nut milks, cold-pressed juice, and a hearty food menu of flavorful, chef-driven dishes for breakfast and lunch.”

“We’re taking over the Bar at Sitka and Spruce, as well as Bar Ferdinand during daytime hours,” Liz Pachaud tells CHS. “Our goal is to activate the Melrose Market during daytime hours and make it a neighborhood destination for working and socializing during times when it isn’t a bar.” Continue reading

CHS Pics | Cupcake Royale effort to Make America Gay Again pays off with $8K check for National Center for Lesbian Rights

Cupcake Royale’s quest to Make America Gay Again had done more than provide a good, subversive chuckle of a response to the warped circus of the Donald Trump campaign. A portion of proceeds from sales of the hats and shirts and the bakery’s much-loved The Gay cupcakes during this year’s Pride was poured into a giant prop check and handed over Thursday night to Kate Kendell of the National Center for Lesbian Rights:

We did it! In June, with money raised from the sale of The Gay cupcakes and Make America Gay Again apparel, we (our whole community) raised $8000 for the National Center for Lesbian Rights. Come join us as we celebrate the NCLR and present them with this donation! Meet members of the NCLR and learn more about their work advancing the human and civil rights of LGBT people and their families.

Continue reading

Caffeine revolutionaries behind Seattle Coffee Works bringing the cause to Capitol Hill with new Pike/Pine cafe

On E Pike in the middle of the Pike/Pine entertainment district, plans for a place of re-education of the Capitol Hill coffee palate — and the coffee soul — are coming together.

“A Coffee 301, maybe,” Pipo Bui tells CHS. Bui along with husband and business partner Sebastian Simsch are bringing a new Seattle Coffee Works to Capitol Hill on E Pike between 10th Ave and Broadway, smack in the middle of the neighborhood’s already rich cafe culture.

It is that richness and the opportunity to elevate how we think about the source of our coffee that brings the project to E Pike.

“We’re really trying to understand where this coffee is coming from, trying to do it in way that isn’t exploitive,” Bui said. “Everybody involved is trying to make coffee better than it has been.”

Coffee Works was born in the mid-2000s when Bui and Simsch arrived in Seattle with expectations of landing in a coffee mecca. In the heart of the city’s downtown, they instead found a Johnny Rockets. Bui called it a “low moment” in Seattle coffee history when “Starbucks had bought up everything.” “You gotta go to the neighborhoods,” Bui said she was told. So the couple explored and decided to build a mecca of their own downtown using bits and pieces inspired by Seattle’s neighborhood cafes. Continue reading

Have a Jack Daniels and an Amstel Light to honor the passing of Don Stevens, owner of Bill’s off Broadway

Don Stevens -- many called him Bill (Images: CHS)

Don Stevens — many called him Bill (Images: CHS)

Before he bought it, kept it working, and navigated the waves of development crashing across Capitol Hill to keep it afloat and bring it back to its Harvard at Pine home, Don Stevens was a customer at Bill’s off Broadway.

Stevens died Monday, according to a message on the much-loved bar and pizza joint’s Facebook page:

It is with great sadness we note the passing of Don Stevens, co-owner of Bill’s off Broadway. Don passed away quietly in his sleep Monday morning. His passing leaves an immeasurable hole in our hearts. He was loved for his generosity and humor. He touched countless lives, and changed many for the better.
His wife Colleen would like to thank all of you for your kindness and support; Bill’s is a special family.

Arrangements for a PARTY in Don’s honor is forthcoming- because that’s what he wanted.

In the meantime, keep Don in your heart -and maybe have Jack Daniels an Amstel Light in his honor!

— Bill

Stevens would have turned 64 in October. Bill’s remains open and people have been gathering there to share memories, CHS is told.

The Facebook message from Bill’s was posted along with a picture we took of Stevens in 2012 as we spoke with the longtime owner about the impending development of the corner Bill’s had called home since 1980. The plan back then was to find a temporary location for Bill’s while its 30-year Capitol Hill home was torn apart and built back up as part of a preservation incentive-boosted, mixed-use development. Continue reading