About Ari Cetron

Ari is a Seattle-based writer and editor. Find out more about him at www.aricetron.com

Here’s what’s on the menu at UK restaurant that named itself Pike & Pine

The Seattle Times this week reported on the city’s ongoing restaurant boom — 2,696 tallied earlier this year, up 25% from a decade ago. Many of those opened on Capitol Hill — CHS has counted somewhere around 172 new Hill openings since 2012. And many of those Hill openings came in the Pike/Pine neighborhood as the area’s auto row bones were put to new, high-ceilinged, wood-beamed uses.

It may not be entirely surprising, then, to learn that the neighborhood has inspired a culinary venture and lent its name to the undertaking. In Brighton, UK, a restaurant calling itself Pike & Pine opened earlier this year. Continue reading

E Olive Way the next land of Capitol Hill pot opportunity as three shops line up for two spots

(Image: nduffy45 via Instagram)

Three different businesses want to open a pot shop on E Olive Way between Melrose and Denny. City rules would permit two locations to open, but the third could be left out.

Northwest Cannabis applied for a shop in a building next to The Crescent on October 20th. That entity is backed by marijuana advocate John Davis, and somehow involves Ian Eisenberg, owner of Uncle Ike’s.

The Reef filed its application November 9th, and wants to open a shop in the Amante Pizza building.

Finally, The Bakeree filed an application November 14th, looking to open in the building the houses John John’s Game Room, though not necessarily in the John John’s space.

In another wrinkle, all three buildings changed hands in recent months. The Reef’s proposed home sold for $1.4 million in June. In September, Eisenberg paid more than $2 million for the former law offices next to the Crescent. The biggest deal of them all also went down in September. Real estate investment firm Teutsch Partners snapped up the building home to John John’s, Pie Bar, and the Speckled and Drake bar for a whopping $4.3 million. Continue reading

A Hill of writers in a City of Literature

Seattle has long been recognized as a music town. We have plenty of big names to point to, and there’s even a city government office devoted to promoting Seattle’s music scene. But a new designation from an arm of the United Nations might upend that narrative. UNESCO on October 31st declared Seattle to be a City of Literature.

“This designation allows us to tell a story about the city that maybe you don’t know,” said Stesha Brandon, who was part of the nonprofit that coordinated the effort.

The drive began in 2014, and led to a failed application in 2015 before the successful application this year. A successful application shows the city has a rich variety of literary activities, including book stores, an active library system, publishing, literary events and programs, and more.

One place the almost certainly worked in Seattle’s favor is Capitol Hill’s own Hugo House. Hugo House had been involved in some part of the application, and the organization is excited about the city receiving the designation, in part because it shows that we’re a city that should be better recognized for its wordsmiths.

“I think it’s important for anyone in the region to know what our strengths are,” said Tree Swenson, executive director of Hugo House. “We have a vast cultural resource in the literary community.”

The designation, Swenson said, might help make Seattle more of a literary destination.

“I think this will draw people here nationally, as well as internationally,” she said. Continue reading

Review board says Bonney Watson development needs better connection to Cal Anderson Park

Mill Creek Residential will need to take another crack at their plan for two mixed-use apartment buildings that will eventually rise on the site of Broadway’s Bonney Watson Funeral Home.

At Wednesday night’s meeting of the East Design Review Board, board members asked the developer to come back after presenting them with a laundry list of more details they want to see before the project moves on to the next phase. Continue reading

Why Capitol Hill needs a Sheriff, anyway

Why should anyone on Capitol Hill care about the King County Sheriff’s election? The King County Sheriff’s Office, after all, is responsible for policing in the unincorporated areas of eastern King County. But the sheriff’s office does much more than that, including shouldering quite a few responsibilities in the neighborhood.

Incumbent John Urquhart, 69 of Mercer Island, has been sheriff since 2012 and involved in law enforcement in some capacity for 42 years. His opponent Mitzi Johanknecht, 58 of West Seattle, is a major in the sheriff’s office has been in law enforcement for 33 years.

One of the largest issues emerging in the campaign doesn’t have as much to do with law enforcement as much as it does with management style. Johanknecht, commander of the southwest precinct, said one of the top reasons she’s running is to reverse what she said is a decline in morale over the past few years that Urquhart has been sheriff. She said she hadn’t actually considered running until she was approached by people inside and outside of the sheriff’s office who encouraged her to run.

Urquhart said he is running for re-election because he’s done a good job, and would like to continue. He credits himself for working to change the culture of the shreiff’s office, pointing out that he’s fired 22 people for cause. And has worked to “dismantle the blue wall of silence.”

“We are a much different sheriff’s office than when I took over,” he said.

The sheriff’s office handles law enforcement for both King County Metro and Sound Transit, so if there’s a problem at the light rail station, on the streetcar, on a bus, or at a bus stop, it’s up to a sheriff’s deputy to respond – with help from Seattle Police when appropriate or needed. The sheriff’s office handles search and rescue operations for people who get in trouble or lost when hiking in the eastern part of the county. Continue reading

23rd Ave corridor ‘Vision Zero’ work to continue in 2018

A new round of changes is coming to 23rd Ave corridor between John and Roanoke streets starting next year. Yes, technically, it’s 24th Ave between Helen and Roanoke. Phase 3 construction of the 23rd Avenue Vision Zero project is likely to start in the spring or summer of 2018, but it won’t be nearly as disruptive as the first phase of the project, between John and Jackson streets, which took 21 months to complete, city officials say.

Phase 3 will continue the Seattle road diet strategy in an effort to reduce accidents and make roads safer for pedestrians. The biggest change in this phase will be between John and Boyer streets. Currently the road is two lanes in each direction. The redesigned road will have one lane going northbound (downhill), a center turn lane, and two lanes going southbound (uphill) the lane closest to the curb, however, will be bus only. SDOT hopes the new design will help address speeding in the corridor.

The bus only lane is designed to help keep bus travel time reliable, in advance of potentially placing a rapid ride bus on the road, though that’s not likely to happen until 2024. The bus only lane will continue to 23rd and Madison, where it will transition into the single lane southbound lane there now.

The stretch between Boyer and Roanoke will continue to be two lanes in each direction, a nod to the traffic volumes in that area around state 520. That area will get some improvements, along with the rest of the corridor. Continue reading

Capitol Hill food+drink | Dad’s dedication and a new generation — 30+ years of El Gallito

Elizabeth Lopez didn’t have to think long about what’s kept El Gallito open for so long.

“My dad’s dedication,” she said.

That dedication has kept the restaurant open since the early 1980s. Refugio Lopez was born in Mexico, but spent most of his life in the United States, living in Texas and Chicago before coming to Seattle in 1978. Lopez thinks it was 1983 or 84, when he opened El Gallito (Spanish for the little rooster). Refugio retired 13 years ago.

He brought the recipes with him from Mexico, Lopez said, and most of them, including classics like the enchilada sauce, haven’t changed since the day the place opened.

Like many small business owners, he involved his children, and Elizabeth and her brother, Ole, have worked at El Gallito since they were in high school. She grew up in the neighborhood, and her mother still lives on Capitol Hill, though Elizabeth has moved to Leschi and her brother to Madison Valley. Lopez said that as she’s gotten older, she’s grown to appreciate the business more, particularly how it can be good to be the boss, and make her own hours.

“We grew up, pretty much, in the restaurant,” she said. “I enjoy it more as an adult than I did as a kid.” Continue reading

Central Co-op set for an E Madison facelift

Front Entry Elevation_132in sign Revised layoutCentral Co-op is getting a makeover, but nothing on the inside is going to change.

The building’s landlord, Madison Crossing, is working on some improvements to the exterior. Construction is expected to start within the next few weeks, and should last about five months, assuming there are no delays in permitting or construction, the co-op’s Suzanne Schultz told CHS. The building opened in 1998, and the Co-op, moved in shortly after.

Schultz said the store plans to remain open during its normal business hours throughout the construction. She said the interior layout and selection of products will not change, nor will the look of the inside of the store.

“Most of the work is not going to be happening in our store,” she said. Continue reading

As King County booms, how many people live on Capitol Hill? 32,989… and counting

Ways of clapping

“The Seattle area is the ninth fastest-growing metro in the nation, gaining about 1,100 residents per week,” the Puget Sound Business Journal reported Thursday. For those wondering, no, they aren’t all moving to Capitol Hill.

About 32,989 people live in the neighborhood, according to 2016 estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. But if you feel like the rate of growth around you has been increasing, you are right. King County, it turns out, gained the fourth highest total of new residents from 2015 to 2016 with an increase of 35,714 neighbors in the county.

How fast is Capitol Hill growing? First, the 32,989 datapoint for 2016 comes with some caveats. CHS used census tracts which most closely match the boundaries of Capitol Hill, which we generally consider to be from I-5 to 23rd Ave, and Roanoke to Madison. Since the census tracts don’t quite match up with our definition (bigger in some places, smaller in others, (get with it census)), the numbers are going to be a bit off. For those keeping score at home, we used census tracts 64, 65, 74, 75, 76, 83 and 84. Continue reading

98 or so ideas for Capitol Hill and Central District streets and parks

Pac Man

The city asked for ideas, and the people have responded.

The first phase of the Your Voice, Your Choice program wrapped up in February, and brought in 894 ideas about how to spend $2 million across the city on smaller infrastructure projects – those with a budget of $90,000 or less. About 11% of the ideas came out of City Council District 3, centered on Capitol Hill and the Central District. Tuesday night, the penultimate effort to winnow that list down to a manageable eight projects gathered in the Central District at the Douglas Truth Library. Here are some of the District 3 safe streets and open space ideas they were wrangling.

The largest single category on Capitol Hill and the Central District seemed to do with either making it easier for people to cross streets, or forcing cars to slow down. Continue reading