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.


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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!


Capitol Hill food+drink | Nue will bring a modernist’s global street food journey to 14th Ave

Cvetkovich shopping for dishware in Vietnam (Image: Nue via Facebook)

Cvetkovich shopping for dishware in Vietnam (Image: Nue via Facebook)

A food and drink modernist with a global education learned from couchsurfing the world is bringing a “street food” focused gastropub to the dining and drinking scene growing on Capitol Hill’s 14th Ave.

“It’s the creativity of taking these tried and true flavors and making them even better,” Chris Cvetkovich says of the alchemy-like tweaks he is planning in brining the flavors of Vietnamese markets or the Lithuanian Halė to Capitol Hill.

With a mid-November opening target, construction of Nue began this week in the REO Flats building on 14th between Pike and Pine. Neighboring the coming-soon Omega Ouzeri from the Vios family of restaurants and veteran Italian great Spinasse and its little brother Artusi, Cvetkovich says he has a friendly agreement with his new neighbors. “Just don’t do bad Greek food,” Cvetkovich said was the only request from Omega owner Thomas Soukakos.

The architect's rendering is being built out as you read this (Image: Best Practice Architecture)

The architect’s rendering is being built out as you read this (Image: Best Practice Architecture)

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Hop helpers hold Capitol Hill trimming party for special Elysian brews

The Elysian hop clipping crew (Image: Elysian Brewery)

The Elysian hop clipping crew (Image: Elysian Brewery)

(Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

The parking lot of Capitol Hill’s Elysian Brewery was covered in hop vines Tuesday as a group of volunteers helped harvest the cones.

“I live at Elysian more than I like to admit,” said hops picker Sean Allan who lives right next door to the E Pike brewery.

Earlier this week, Elysian put out a Facebook call asking for hop trimming helpers. Most volunteers said they were interested because of their love for beer. The group included a young couple in college and a beer tap designer.

Elysian brewers said they needed to harvest the premature hops to stay on schedule. They are making two beers to enter into the Great American Beer Festival in Denver the first weekend of October._DSC0949

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Pike/Pine club owner says gang ‘terrorizing’ Capitol Hill — UPDATE: SPD looking for groups responsible for 22 street robberies

As police officials have said they plan to continue increased patrols in the area following a call from the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce for more SPD presence on the streets of Pike/Pine, a prominent Capitol Hill business owner has sent a letter about “gang activity” on Capitol Hill to Mayor Ed Murray, city officials, local business owners, and local media outlets including CHS.

“I’m writing to plead with you Mr Mayor, that something be done about the gang (usually described as Somali) that is ever present on Capitol Hill,” says Neumos and Lost Lake partner Jason Lajeunesse about what he says have been two years of harassment and violence in Pike/Pine. Continue reading

Capitol Hill gay bar R Place turns 30

(Images: Rayna Stackhouse for CHS)

(Images: Rayna Stackhouse for CHS)

_DSC0826R Place celebrates its 30th anniversary this year and, despite repeated concerns about the end of the Capitol Hill “gayborhood,”  business is better than ever.

“Seattle is just more gay popular and gay friendly. What used to be just a gay bar is not just a gay bar anymore,” said manager Floyd Lovelady.

Though the number of gay bars and clubs on the Hill has diminished, more people feel welcome at R Place, a “gay bar that is straight friendly,” Lovelady said. Continue reading

You can buy Capitol Hill’s Chop Suey for $99,950


A peek inside from the Chop Suey real estate listing

A peek inside from the Chop Suey real estate listing

Everything is for sale. Just ask Broadway’s Charlie’s. The restaurant’s owner Ken Bauer has listed the Capitol Hill classic for years.

On Thursday, Seattle’s only music writer David Segal posted about the peculiar real estate listings involving 14th and Madison rock club Chop Suey and got some intel from longtime neighborhood booker Jodi Ecklund.

“The most recent development is that the price was significantly dropped from the original asking price. The issue is the rent on the building is 13k; even with a thriving club like Chop Suey, that is not sustainable. I have heard there are some interested parties and I have been contacted by a few folks for more insight. My number one concern is that if Chop Suey is purchased, I hope it is by someone who values the local music scene.

If you’re wondering, Dave Meinert tells us he’s not interested in owning “a live music venue.” We’ll let you parse that statement.

Team Dresch on the Suey stage in 2013 (Image: CHS)

Team Dresch on the Suey stage in 2013 (Image: CHS)

To be clear, Chop Suey is for sale.

Not the 1325 E Madison building across the street from the former Piecora’s where a six-story development is planned. Continue reading

Capitol Hill wine shop Essence shutters — UPDATE


(Image: Essence Wine)

(Images: Essence Wine)

Retailers looking for a berth on Capitol Hill will find some open space in the 400 block of E Pine. Funky and unpredictable bottle shop Essence Wine quietly closed earlier this month.

Here’s the Facebook goodbye:

Thank you all for so many beautiful times. We are closing the shop that hosted dance, music, people, laughter, arguments, discussion, ruckus, urbanity, and you. Thank you so much for being a part, thank you so much for being a part! The beauty of the essence will happen again, in different places and in so many ways. Thank you for having carried and carrying it on

The now empty shop makes two neighboring E Pine retail spaces looking for tenants. Earlier this summer, Gamma Ray Games announced it was consolidating up the Hill in a new space combined with its Raygun Lounge.

Co-owners Zach Weissman and Winston Xu opened Essence in late 2012shaped as an artesian cave, a cave of stacked wine boxes with bottled wine atop.” The business also had a — how should we say it? — creative approach to business. Not taking things too seriously seems to be part of the lifeblood of running a Capitol Hill wine business — stop by still-standing European Vine Selections for a taste as it’s kept things running for more than 25 years on the Hill.

Essence even managed to have some good fun at the expense of local media — CHS was thoroughly punk’d by this strange episode in early 2013. At the time, Xu apologized and told us he too had been tricked by the announcement and that Weissman had “no authority” to speak for the shop. It was a strange moment for the business but, until the end, both Xu and Weissman remained with Essence, according to corporate filings.

By email, Xu declined to comment on the closure telling us things still needed to get wrapped up with the landlord.

UPDATE: Xu tells us things are wrapped up with the landlord and a new art supply store is reportedly moving in:

The reason behind our closure was complicated, but mostly because I am finding myself not able to make enough spare time to manage the shop as much as it needed to be, Zach, my partner did a wonderful job and had been the primary manager Essence over the past two years, now he is off to another great job opportunity and I am swapped with my primary job and other businesses, so we have decided to close the business.

Central District says goodbye to legendary Catfish Corner

(Image: Catfish Corner)

(Image: Catfish Corner)

With an expensive judgement in a lawsuit brought by its MLK and Cherry landlord sealing the deal, a legendary Central District restaurant and community spot has shuttered.

Catfish Corner quietly closed earlier this month as the unlawful detainer case came to a close with the court ruling the Corner’s ownership owes more than $18,000 to building owners Cederstrand Rentals. A check of court records also shows a string of warrants for unpaid state taxes in recent years. Court documents indicate the space rented for around $1,800 a month.

The closure marks the end of 30 years of fried goodness and a black-owned business at the corner — and has many fans lamenting they didn’t get a last chance to say goodbye:

As a hub for information on the Black Community Catfish Corner will be missed by all for the Food and a gathering place.

NBA star Aaron Brooks enjoying some Smartar Tartar (Image: Catfish Corner)

NBA star Aaron Brooks enjoying some Smartar Tartar (Image: Catfish Corner)

Catfish Corner is owned by a company headed by the West family who have owned the business since the mid-2000s. The Go West company also produces Smartar Tartar

You’ll notice the difference in color. It’s not white with pickles. The texture is different because of all the other ingredients in it. And best of all, is the taste.

We’ve reached out to Go West and Smartar Tartar to learn more but have not yet heard back.

In the late ’90s, Catfish Corner founders Rosie and Woody Jackson sought to move the restaurant to 23rd and Jackson but were beat out by a little coffee company called Starbucks, according to the Seattle Times. A Kent Catfish Corner location lasted only a few years before shuttering in 2012.

There don’t appear to be any major overhauls lined up for the MLK and Cherry location known for its giant Martin Luther King, Jr. mural and we haven’t seen any permit activity that indicates a new tenant is ready to move in.

In the meantime, Catfish Corner fans are in mourning. “What are we gonna do now?,” one person lamented on the restaurant’s Facebook page. “I was raised on your fish. Why didn’t someone tell us so we could stock up? I am spinning right now.”

UPDATE 9/10/14: Following up on the story, we reached out to the owner of the Catfish Corner building to ask about the situation and what’s next for the space. The owner declined to comment at this time.

Capitol Hill food+drink | Cantinetta duo bringing El Correo to 12th Ave

Current home to several Capitol Hill microhousing residents, future home of El Correo (Image: CHS)

Current home to several Capitol Hill microhousing residents, future home of El Correo (Image: CHS)

Coinciding with its cascading waves of boom-like apartment development, Capitol Hill has also, you’re sure to have noticed, welcomed a continuing surge of new restaurant and bar investment. Many watch for harbingers of a bubble ready to pop. CHS watches other signs — like the long-anticipated arrivals of the city’s food and drink veterans on these hotly contested food+drink shores. While big players dealing into the neighborhood might encourage the bubble poppers, there are still successful Seattle restauranteurs apparently lining up to create their first venture on Capitol Hill.

Two of these partners have taken their route to Capitol Hill with a stop in Madison Valley — just to get acclimated, we’re sure. CHS has learned that Trevor Greenwood and Wade Moller, the duo behind Wallingford-born Cantinetta and the Madison Valley sibling Bar Cantinetta, are climbing onto Capitol Hill with a new project under construction on 12th Ave.

A project being called El Correo is being built in the 12th Ave microhousing development from Melrose Market developer Scott Shapiro under construction above the burial grounds for the old Capitol Hill Market. Continue reading

Tour Trove’s treasures — noodles, Korean BBQ, frozen custard, beer — before September opening

Work is in the final stretch at Trove

Work is in the final stretch at Trove

(Images: CHS)

Yang (Images: CHS)

Rachel Yang gave media and neighboring businesses a tour of her new Capitol Hill creation Friday morning. Trove will fill a former costume shop space on E Pike with four interconnected but independent elements — 1) a noodle bar, 2) a beer-focused + volcanic Mt. Rainier be-arted drinking bar, 3) a Korean BBQ, and 4) a walk-up frozen custard window. Molten lava-worthy red walls connect Trove from end to end.

“When I first saw it, I had a little heart attack,” Yang said. “There’s a lot going on.”

The rehabilitated Greenus Building, formerly home to Brocklind’s is in the final stages of being transformed into the third Seattle food and drink project from Yang and her husband and collaborator Seif Chirchi. The couple previously created north-of-the-cut faves Revel and Joule. Continue reading

Fifth annual Linda’s Fest ready to rock the patio — and the construction pit

IMG_234610543656_724644084238704_3622052533988432165_nAs summer draws to a close, Linda’s Tavern is ready to bring Capitol Hill’s festival season to a close with its fifth annual free mini music bash, Linda’s Fest. This will be the last year Linda’s infamous back patio will not have a seven-story apartment building looming above.

“It’s not the first time that Capitol Hill has changed,” says Jonah Bergman who plans the annual event, “Even if there’s a construction pit next to it, it is still a great place to hang out.”

On Saturday the 23rd from 5 to 10 PM the bands Tacocat, Chastity Belt, the Young Evils, Kithkin, and Thunder Pussy will take the patio stage for the free show.

“It’s cool to have musicians of that caliber on a stage,” says Bergman, “that we put together for one day in a back parking lot.”

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Capitol Hill food+drink | Dulces calls it quits (again) on Capitol Hill


White table cloths and a bar couldn't draw Lawrence Lofts neighbors downstairs (Images: Dulces)

White table cloths and a bar couldn’t draw Lawrence Lofts neighbors downstairs (Images: Dulces)

Even for a man who called his restaurant Dulces it’s hard to not sound bitter about burning out on Capitol Hill.

“We had a hard time getting new clientele,” owner Carlos Kainz tells CHS about the sudden shuttering of his 19th and Madison restaurant over the weekend. “Our old clientele were very loyal. But the very young customers upstairs… they wanted a club.”

Kainz and wife Julie Guerrero served their last dishes at the latest incarnation of Dulces Latin Bistro after only 280 days of business in the restaurant space of the Lawrence Lofts building. Kainz said he and Guerrero struggled to grow business on the corner — “The cars go by too fast, so they can’t see we we’re here” — and were given the option to either sell or get out.

Turns out, there were plenty of takers looking for a turnkey, Capitol Hill-area restaurant space. Thudsuan Kitchen and Bar will take over the corner with a start-of-September opening planned. Continue reading

The Banhs share details on meaty E Jefferson 7 Beef steakhouse: whole cows, primal cuts, parking

Eric Banh is ready to put his recent butchery training to work with a new E Jefferson project that will feature “classic” as well as “primal” cuts of beef that utilize “whole,” local cows.

CHS reported in July on a trio of new projects from brother and sister restaurant partners Eric and Sophie Banh including the debut of the expanded 19th Ave E Monsoon. Monday’s announcement confirms details of the largest of the new ventures that will create a steakhouse near 13th and Jefferson replacing an architect’s office.

“7 Beef will receive whole cows from local purveyors and break them down into primal cuts and ground beef,” the announcement proclaims.

The 7 Beef name refers to “the traditional Vietnamese seven-course beef dinner called Bò 7 Món, where diners sample a variety of small beef dishes.” Continue reading

Black Coffee anarchist co-op says it’s leaving Capitol Hill

IMG_4458 (1)IMG_4481An experiment in social entrepreneurialism — and coffee — on Capitol Hill has come to an end. Black Coffee, the E Pine “worker co-op, cafe and community space,” will shutter by Halloween and leave the neighborhood in search of a new home.

The co-op announced the planned closure Sunday afternoon:

The challenges of challenging Empire and colonialism and all the other ‘isms that come with them, internally and externally. Putting a bat behind the counter, after learning that sometimes words just didn’’t work. These are all memories and experiences we’ll take with us, whether we wanted them or not. We’re honored & humbled to keep these memories.

In the last year the collective has said goodbye to one member and gained three, for a total of six worker-owners, half of which were born and raised in the metropolis of the Emerald City. The current six have decided to leave 501 E. Pine, located onTrap Hill, Babylon. But rest assured… WE ARE NOT ABANDONING THIS PROJECT NOR OUR COMMUNITIES!!!

“We are leaving this location so that we can adjust to what our communities need and provide what we can, with an eye to the long term.” the message concludes. “We are trying to remain guided by our communities as a project of anarchist infrastructure, a small contribution to the project of building the commons.”

The group has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise $30,000 to help Black Coffee find a new location.

In July, CHS reported on issues with Department of Planning and Development permits that were leading to big changes with Black Coffee’s neighbor Raygun Lounge and placing the co-op’s future on E Pine in jeopardy: Continue reading