Celebrating two years on Capitol Hill, Mamnoon’s Middle Eastern cuisine thrives on a transforming Melrose block

Racha and Wassef (Image: Alex Garland for CHS)

Racha and Wassef (Image: Alex Garland for CHS)

Mamnoon was in no way destined to succeed. Two years ago, CHS asked tech entrepreneur Wassef Haroun if he was sure about his ambitious plans for his first restaurant — a  Middle Eastern venture on Melrose Ave.

Two years later, customers waiting for open tables during a busy Tuesday lunch answered that question (and that was despite a street closure just outside Mamnoon’s door to prepare a gas line for newcomer Stateside).

Even with Mamnoon’s success, Haroun said he and his wife Racha still feel like outsiders among the lifetime restauranteurs that populate the neighborhood. “We’re the black sheep of the restaurant industry,” Haroun said. Continue reading

What’s on Capitol Hill’s Thanksgiving 2014 menus?


Big Mario’s Pilgrim Pie. Sorry. No delivery on Turkey Day.

With Piecora’s shuttered and awaiting demolition, one of the small traditions of Capitol Hill Thanksgiving is gone. Every year, the restaurant opened for a come-all Thanksgiving feast. Don Jensen, executive director at Community Lunch on Capitol Hill, tells CHS that the tradition is still alive with his group and All Pilgrims Church:

I wanted to let you know that Community Lunch on Capitol Hill will be serving a traditional Thanksgiving meal on the 27th at 5pm at All Pilgrims Church, and it is open to EVERYONE! We will have turkey and all the trimmings, and it should be a great meal. I have attached our turkey flier promoting it. All Pilgrims is at Broadway and Republican, entrance on Republican. We will be serving from 5-6pm.

If you’re interested in learning about this and other “feed the hungry” and volunteer opportunities in the area, here’s a roster of local food banks and organizations that are busy this time of year.

Capitol Hill also offers feasts for budgets of mostly every level. Here are some of the special Thanksgiving plans for Capitol Hill food and drink Thursday of the more “last minute” variety. Please let us know about anything we missed.

  • Hopvine: “We are offering a delicious holiday meal this Saturday. Stop in for a whole roasted pig with all the traditional Thanksgiving dishes! Prix Fixe and a la carte. We will also have Sierra Nevada Celebration on cask!” Continue reading

Also not opening on Capitol Hill: St. Noah — ‘a sk8 bar’

(Images: CHS)

(Images: CHS)

The former E Olive Way home of the Bus Stop will not become “sk8″ bar St. Noah.

We think.

But who can say anymore.

CHS has been fielding questions about what is happening in the space in recent weeks after the convincing-enough tagging went up on the former bar’s window. A check of permits and license applications doesn’t show anything in motion at the site, if you’re still wondering.

The Bus Stop shuttered in spring 2013 and the space has sat empty since.IMG_6218

PUNK’D: Starbucks **NOT** creating The Daphne — coffee, coffee and booze, and music — on Capitol Hill in former home of Chop Suey

(Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

Santa Monica's Hear Music (Image: blocksnap.com)

Santa Monica’s Hear Music (Image: blocksnap.com)

UPDATE 10:53 AM: A company spokesperson said the announcement sent to CHS is “absolutely not true.” CHS apologizes for the mistake in reporting.

UPDATE 3:45 PM: CHS has donated $175 (a nickel per pageview on this rather popular story) to Northwest Harvest to make good (or better) on getting duped. You can donate here.

UPDATE 10:15 AM: We’re working to confirm details. The Starbucks announcement was sent to us by a third party PR agency so have not yet confirmed with company officials.

UPDATE x2 10:24 AM: There are no construction records on file for the address and Starbucks company officials have not yet returned our messages. There are also no records of sale for the property.

UPDATE x3 10:30 AM: The building’s owner says the announcement is “news” to him.

Original report: Global coffee giant Starbucks announced Friday morning it is again ready to launch one of its massive experiments on Capitol Hill. The Chop Suey? It’s no longer for sale.

The Daphne is planned as “the evolution of their entertainment customer experience” and “a one-of-a-kind interactive Starbucks showcase venue” to open on the Hill in 2015. Continue reading

Capitol Hill food+drink | Rachel’s Ginger Beer comes home to 12th Ave Arts

This is what happens when you let Capitol Hill people into Pike Place Market (Image: RGB)

This is what happens when you let Capitol Hill people into Pike Place Market (Image: RGB)

Marshall, double fisting (Image: RGB)

Marshall, double fisting (Image: RGB)

Going to dinner and the theater at Capitol Hill’s 12th Ave Arts might not be the fancy-pants event some might expect. Capitol Hill farmers market born and bred Rachel’s Ginger Beer is finally opening a shop in its home neighborhood with a ginger beer and fry bar inside the new affordable housing + East Precinct parking + theater space + nonprofit office space + three food and drink space development.

“That was so a part of the drinking culture,” the Rachel in RGB told CHS while apologizing for being “boring” with a story about traipsing through Europe. “You get a beer and a bowl of fries.”

Hey, anytime there is traipsing involved, we’re interested. Especially when you’re talking les pommes frites.

Oh là là. Rachel Marshall’s latest Capitol Hill joint is slated to open this spring with all the goodness of Rachel’s Ginger Beer plus “a menu of crispy, hand-cut fries and 15 to 20 dipping sauces, including a fancy ranch.” The bar will serve ginger beer-based and carbonated cocktails. The bubbles will tickle. There will be ice cream for floats and, if you’re an animal, dipping fries. And you’ll be able to fill your growler or grab RGB to go.

“What I picture is kind of a place where you can go during the day and really feel comfortable opening your laptop but can also have a drink,” Marshall said. “And we can go into the night.” Continue reading

After five years on E Pike, Lobby Bar looking for new home on Capitol Hill

The Lobby Bar in the midst of Capitol Hill Block Party mayhem (Image: CHS)

The Lobby Bar in the midst of Capitol Hill Block Party mayhem (Image: CHS)

(Image: Lobby Bar)

(Image: Lobby Bar)

The Lobby Bar, a bastion of LGBTQ nightlife smack in the heart of Pike/Pine, is leaving its E Pike birthplace and taking the next step in its search for a new Capitol Hill home.

“The Lobby Bar is not finished,” longtime manager and bartender Dave Orton said. “In the long run, it will be really nice to move into a fresh space.”

Management says the 900 block E Pike bar will celebrate one last weekend with November 22nd planned as its final day of business. The five-year-old night spot must be out of the 1910-built building by December. Orton said the Lobby’s employees were informed about the closure so there would be no surprises as rumors began to spread about the changes.

The building’s owners want to “cash in on the changing neighborhood,” a person familiar with the situation who declined to speak on the record tells CHS about the rising rent and what is coming next. There are no plans currently on record for the space to indicate any planned construction but Lobby’s Orton said it is clear that the landlords already have something lined up. “We were not given the option to renew the lease,” he said. Continue reading

Capitol Hill food+drink | Spaghetti Western serves up BBQ and noodles — with a wink


The maturation of the Capitol Hill food and drink scene includes enough weapons of modern marketing that it is often difficult to sort the hype. Some new projects launch in a massive cloud of buzz and attention. While others, for whatever reason, appear more quietly.

The arrival of Spaghetti Western on Capitol Hill has thrown the buzz machine for a loop. On one hand, it’s only Aleks Dimitrijevich’s re-concept of an existing venue. On the other — and this would be the trigger hand, gunslinger — Spaghetti Western is the embodiment of the latest ideas from a restauranteur who created one of the most popular, no-gimmick restaurants on Capitol Hill only to crumple it up and start fresh with a concept so out in the tumbleweeds, some people still think it’s a joke.

“There’s definitely some ‘wink wink’ in it,” Dimitrijevich told CHS this week as he reopened on Bellevue Ave for the first time since shutting down La Bete earlier this year.

Continue reading

Capitol Hill’s Redwood is closing in 2015. Again.

(Image: Rob Ketcherside via Flickr)

(Image: Rob Ketcherside via Flickr)

In 2012, CHS reported that the owners at the Redwood, the beloved E Howell hovel, were already marking the days until the bar has to make way for future development. Back then, they had four more years to go. With one year to go, one of the new writers at The Stranger tells us why we should care:

Because the Redwood isn’t just another bar that couldn’t hack it on the hill. It’s a founding father of the Hill’s current bar scene. It opened nine long years ago—practically a century as far as bars on the Hill go—when the original Cha Cha, along with the Bus Stop, Pony, and Kincora were forced out by a developer’s purchase of the block between Belmont and Summit on Pine. Redwood’s owners took advantage of the void created in the bar scene, along with a good bit of notoriety stemming from the fact that their opening bar staff was composed of members of the now-insanely-famous Band of Horses, to create a thriving business.

A year is a long time. Plenty of months for somebody else to report the Redwood is closing. To put in perspective, after the Redwood closes, you’ll still have to wait 2.5 years for the Broadway Whole Foods to open.

In the meantime, Capitol Hill’s list of limbo businesses and venues is relatively thin right now. We doubt many will be nostalgic for one last visit to this longtime 15th Ave E credit union. The Electric Tea Garden hasn’t been reborn yet but could eventually provide another ticking clock of development doom. How about one last wait in line at the Broadway post office? There is one more project with plenty of limbo around it, however. Make sure to do some shopping at the 11th Ave Value Village and drop in to party at the Rhino Room before this Pike/Pine office project eventually digs in. And, yeah, the Stranger will eventually need to make way for that same project.

Health department fee hikes coming in 2015 — Market group worried small farmers will get squeezed out

The Seattle Farmers Market Association is calling for help from market shoppers to push back on a set of proposed King County Health fee increases that the group says may push away small farms and food processors:

This proposal stunned farmers market organizers who, like farmers, have been working in partnership with Public Health over the last several years to dramatically reduce violations at farmers markets, as well as Dept. staff time necessary at markets. Under the Public Health proposal, in 2015, the permit fee increase for each farmers market in King County will increase by 132%, and amounts to a more than ten-fold increase in the cost of fees paid by farmers markets just 3 years ago. Farmers and farmers markets alike are struggling to keep up with the escalating costs of doing business in King County. Continue reading

Cherry Street Coffee — home of the US barista champion — opens on E Pine

Some Cherry Street folk welcome you to the new cafe (Image: Cherry Street Coffee)

Some Cherry Street folk welcome you to the new cafe (Image: Cherry Street Coffee)

Is Capitol Hill so coffee-rich that we can ignore the opening of another new Pike/Pine cafe? Sprudge says nope — especially when you’re talking about a new Cherry Street Coffee bar and cafe designed to (some of) the exacting specifications of the current United State champion barista:

This will be the first cafe we open with me on staff. I was not as involved with this location’s build out as I would have liked to because let’s just say life has been pretty busy since I became the US Barista Champion. But I’ve had a lot of say in the design and flow. In the future, we have at least three locations slotted to open in the next two years, and I will be 100% involved from start to finish. Thats the direction I see my role at Cherry Street going.

You can read more of the interview with Laila Ghambari here on sprudge.com. She also notes that Cherry Street has “a large food selection” including “breakfast sandwiches on bagels” and house-made sandwiches, soups, and salads.

The 320 E Pine cafe is located in the newly constructed Three20 Apartments. CHS first wrote about the plans for the 10th Cherry Street here last spring. The E Pine and 12th Ave cafes are the only Cherry Streets east of I-5.

Laila’s father, Ali Ghambari, opened the Cherry Street on 12th Ave in 2012. “Business has been kick-ass, if I’m just telling it like it is,” Ghambari said in an interview with CHS best described as colorful. The business owner has found himself in hot water for more than colorful language from time to time. In 2013, Cherry Street was one of a handful of Seattle businesses that briefly experimented with charging customers a “sick-leave surcharge” before a wave of bad press convinced most to take the signs down. At one point, Laila also said the family-owned company might have to reconsider expansion plans because of Seattle’s $15 minimum wage law. With three more locations planned to open, that concern has either passed, was overblown — or Cherry Street will be branching out beyond the city for the first time.

UPDATE: We should note that Porchlight Coffee, the Capitol Hill cafe that has experienced probably the nicest, friendliest displacement ever due to development, is back at its 14th Ave birthplace as part of the newly completed REO Flats building.

"In case you haven't heard, we're back open on 14th Ave between Pine and Pike. Head to www.porchlightcoffee.com for all the info you could possibly need!" -- via Facebook

“In case you haven’t heard, we’re back open on 14th Ave between Pine and Pike. Head to www.porchlightcoffee.com for all the info you could possibly need!” — via Facebook

Construction delays push back ambitious Pike/Pine marketplace + office space Chophouse Row to early 2015

We found Dunn, center, in a hard hat this summer (Image: CHS)

We found Dunn, center, in a hard hat this summer (Image: CHS)

Chophouse Row, right, will inject some 27,000 square feet of commercial space into  Pike/Pine

Chophouse Row, right, will inject some 27,000 square feet of commercial space into Pike/Pine

You’ll have to wait a few more months for the ambitious Pike/Pine marketplace, mews, and office space development Chophouse Row.

Developer Liz Dunn tells CHS that construction delays and issues with street work in the area have pushed the project back from its planned fall 2014 opening to a debut in early 2015.

Leasing materials for Chophouse Row now advertise a February 2015 move-in target. Continue reading

Tex-Mex Rooster’s to breathe new life into long-empty Broadway restaurant space

10574283_965377303477461_5293384855435848015_nA north Broadway restaurant and lounge space left charred and empty after a suspected arson fire three years ago this week will spring back to life in early 2015.

Rooster’s Bar and Grill is lined up to debut soon in the old Galerias space in the 600 block of Broadway E:

Rooster’s Bar & Grill is Seattle’s newest Tex Mex restaurant. Opening early 2015 by the creators of the original Bing’s in Madison Park.

CHS spoke to the project’s backer, Stan Moshier, earlier this year as he worked to prepare the old, burnt out Galerias space for a new tenant. At the time, Moshier, a once and (it turns out) future restaurateur, told us he wasn’t signed up to take the space. But it looks like plans have changed. Moshier also said the former Galerias space was large enough for multiple tenants — we’ll have to keep our eyes peeled for a Rooster’s neighbor.1800346_965290610152797_4481397077340197437_n Continue reading

Manao Thai Street Eats: Lots of experience, lots of spices at 13th and Pine — UPDATE: Thudsuan Kitchen & Bar now open

(Image: Manao)

(Image: Manao)

A new Thai restaurant opening up on Capitol Hill may not be the biggest news but Manao Thai Street Eats owners Montida Lertkiasakul and Teeraya Cezaux are passionate food lovers with a lot of experience in the restaurant business. Manao opened in a new apartment building at 13th and Pine earlier this fall.

“We used to hang out here  and we love the neighborhood. People walk around all the time. It’s a busy place,a fun city and people look for a good place to eat, rain or no rain,” Cezaux said.

Continue reading