About Bryan Cohen

Bryan Cohen is a CHS reporter. Reach him at chasecohen@gmail.com and @bchasesc

Capitol Hill food+drink | Governor, mayor at soon-to-open Stateside to launch initiative to help indie restaurateurs

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Stateside owner Eric Johnson surrounded by elected officials inside his under construction E Pike restaurant (Photo: CHS)

Earlier this year first-time restaurant owner Eric Johnson discovered he needed to have part of E Pike closed off in order to run a new gas line into his upcoming French-Vietnamese fusion restaurant, Stateside. Unsure where to turn, Johnson was put in touch with the city’s Office of Economic Development and Jennifer Tam, who helped expedite the work.

On Thursday, a cast of top elected officials appeared at Stateside to announce the formalization of Tam’s role as the city’s restaurant advocate and the launch of a new initiative intended to help guide Seattle’s first time restaurateurs through the multi-layered process of opening a new business.

A sneak peek at Stateside's color (Image @shaunhong via Instagram)

A sneak peek at Stateside’s colors (Image @shaunhong via Instagram)

Thanks in part to Tam’s work, Johnson said he expects Stateside to open by late November. “Just having one real person to turn to helps,” he said. Continue reading

The real pronunciation and future of Nagle (Nail?), founding father of Capitol Hill

John Nagle’s name is all over Capitol Hill, though you probably never notice it unless you’re walking down his namesake Place. Nagle was a Seattle pioneer and Capitol Hill landowner who died in 1897. Prior to his death, Nagle’s estate sold 161 acres of his land to the city, which included much of the land that makes up Cal Anderson Park and north Broadway today.

8443523121_64e801da1e_ounnamed (34)The strange stretch of Capitol Hill pavement is about to undergo some major changes as Capitol Hill Station development ramps up in coming years approaching the expected opening of the U-Link light rail extension by early 2016. The first signs of this change are now beginning to show:

Nagle Place Utility Relocation

Starting as early as Thursday, October 30, Sound Transit’s contractor will begin work on Nagle Place between Howell St. and E Pine St. to install underground utilities.

This work will require sawing the pavement, jack hammering, excavation and paving equipment. The project will take approximately one month to complete. Work hours are from 7 a.m. through 6.pm. weekdays.

Once the utility work is complete, crews will restore the area.

During this work, Nagle Pl., between E Pine St and Howell St. will be closed to through traffic.

Residents and patrons should enter Nagle Place at E Pine St. for the duration of the work.

What to expect:

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Staff changes at The Stranger continue ahead of 2016 move from 11th/Pine

The Stranger needs new office space -- because new office space is coming to 11th and Pine

The Stranger needs new office space — because new office space is coming to 11th and Pine

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Keck, at the mic, and his right hand man, Stranger editor in chief Christopher Frizelle, clutching the mic, at the 2014 Stranger Genius Awards (Image: Beth Crook via The Stranger)

Last week, arts editor and food writer Bethany Jean Clement announced she was leaving Capitol Hill’s only newspaper to pick up the food and drink beat at the Seattle Times. It was the latest in a year of big editorial change-ups for The Stranger, which occupies 2.5 floors above Value Village and the Rhino Room at 11th and Pine and is — perhaps — the most well known of all Capitol Hill businesses.

Publisher Tim Keck told CHS the staff changes don’t represent much more than the steady turnovers now commonplace in many newsrooms. Without tying it to specific staff changes, Keck did say The Stranger is trying to chart a course that better balances deeply reported stories with the impassioned and uncompromising voices the paper and its blog, the Slog, are known for.

“Loud, brash opinions are a dime a dozen,” he said. “It’s really important for publications to distinguish ourselves from that.” Continue reading

Capitol Hill man pleads guilty to trafficking stolen property out of 12th Ave home

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During the 2012 raid of the Darling home, police found stolen property and methamphetamine (Image: CHS)

A Capitol Hill man has pleaded guilty to trafficking a stolen bike and possessing stolen computer equipment at his 12th and Mercer home where, in a late night raid two years ago, police confiscated a trailer truck full of allegedly stolen property.

Last week, Rabindranath Darling pleaded guilty to one count of trafficking stolen property, one count of possession of stolen property, and one count of possession of methamphetamine.Darling statement

During the 2012 raid, police also said they discovered 18 grams of methamphetamine inside the Darling home.

As a front for his illicit business, investigators said Darling was running a home-based computer repair shop.

Earlier this year, some of the items seized in the 2012 raid began trickling back to their original owners — many living around Capitol Hill and neighboring areas — as detectives wrapped up the case and began notifying victims. Continue reading

12th/Pike dog daycare project will also include Capitol Hill’s first doggie bar

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CHS noticed the design renderings for the Chophouse Row mews sure was doggy back in 2013

CHS noticed the design renderings for the Chophouse Row mews sure were doggy back in 2013

Underdog? Play Under the Hill? Dog Play Afternoon?

The Central District’s Play Doggie Daycare is opening a second location in an underground space on Capitol Hill, but the owner has yet to settle on a name and she’s looking for ideas. Feel free to help her out in comments.

Sarah Slater, owner of the popular dog daycare at MLK and E Cherry, told CHS she hopes to be open in the space under Manhattan at 12th and E Pike by mid-January. The daycare will focus on small dogs for partial-day or full-day stays — the Capitol Hill location won’t be set up for overnight boardings. Slater said she expects most people to utilize the space by dropping their dogs off 2-5 times a week while they go to work or just for doggy socializing.

“There are so many apartments with dogs around (Pike/Pine)” Slater said. Downtown Dog Lounge on E Denny Way is the only other large-scale dog daycare currently servicing Capitol Hill.

While the new dog daycare will be located underneath Manhattan, it will also interact with the new Chophouse Row complex going up on the block, with connections to the “mews” storefronts and outdoor courtyard. According to Slater and Chophouse plans, a mezzanine “dog bar” will overlook part of the dog play area — an unfair-to-the-competition but ingenious way to keep bar patrons entertained for hours. Design plans say the bar “will allow for patrons to have a drink while their friends get their exercise in a separate doggy-daycare center below.” Continue reading

Tougo Coffee owner ready to open charcuterie and wine spot Bannister next door at 18th and Union

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(Image: Bannister)

(Image: Bannister)

The Central District’s one-block commercial stretch along 18th Ave at E Union is one of the quaintest and most neighborhood-y around. Since 2007, Tougo Coffee has anchored the stretch as a neighborhood hangout. Now owner Brian Wells says he’s hoping to cultivate the same sense of community one door down at Bannister, his new charcuterie-wine venture.

Wells tells CHS he’ll hold a reservation-only soft open starting October 24th and a grand opening on November 1st.

On the menu, Wells said to expect fine cheese, cured meats, olives, made-in-house,  pickles, and a full wine bar.

The restaurant is named after Edward Mitchell Bannister, a 19th century artist Wells said he has long admired.

Wells started his coffee career in Boston in 1991. He moved to Seattle in 1996 and spent most of his time in the service industry. In 2010 CHS reported on financial and tax troubles at Tougo. The 18th Ave cafe closed temporarily while Wells fundraised to pay back business taxes in order to renew his license. Since, Wells shuttered his Westlake Ave location. Wells said these days everything is going swell at Tougo and he’s ready for the expanded business venture. Continue reading

Seattle’s bus funding ballot measure *could* resurrect the 47 with sales tax hike and car tab fee

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The 47 taking its final run. (Photo: CHS)

After months of warning, Metro’s funding woes finally came to Capitol Hill’s doorstep in September when the the 47 bus was discontinued along with 28 other routes around the regional bus system.

Seattle Transportation Benefit District Proposition 1 asks Seattle voters if they want to buy back some of those services in Seattle and improve existing routes with a $60 annual vehicle license fee and .1% sales tax hike. If enacted, the measure is expected generate around $45 million annually for the hamstrung bus system.

Some of those funds could be used to restore Rt. 47 and others that were among the lower performing routes in the system, though the plan does not spell out which routes would get funding. Those decisions would likely be left up to the City Council. The group Yes For Seattle Transit has identified several existing Capitol Hill-area routes that would likely be improved or expanded, including routes 2, 8, 9x, 10, 25, 43, 48, 49, and 60. Continue reading

City has failed to enforce paid sick leave, says auditor report

Mike McGinn signs paid sick leave into law in 2011 at Plum Bistro (Photo: CHS)

Mike McGinn signs paid sick leave into law in 2011 at Plum Bistro (Photo: CHS)

In 2011 when Mayor Mike McGinn signed mandatory paid sick leave into law on Capitol Hill, it was hailed as a major progressive victory and a crowning achievement of his administration. Then there was that small bit about actually putting it to work.

From when the law went into effect in September 2012 to December 2013, workers made 143 valid complaints about paid sick leave enforcement, but a recent report found none of those resulted in fines on employers or anything more harsh than an advisory letter. Continue reading

Capitol Hill food+drink | What’s it mean to be home to the 6th best bar in the world? 12th Ave whiskey and bitters emporium Canon will show you

IMG_0278Ask two people on Capitol Hill for the best bar in the Seattle Inner City and you’ll get three different opinions. But somehow, the industry journal Drinks International is able to rank the 50 best bars in the entire world. This year 12th Ave’s Canon came in at number 6.

What does that mean for you, dear Capitol Hill drinker?

Since it opened in 2011 with a 12-page menu, Canon has steadily grown and tweaked its dizzying selection of spirits, bitters, and ornate cocktails. It now boasts one of the largest spirit menus in the country — a 130-page tome (PDF) that represents around $1 million worth of inventory.

Owner Jamie Boudreau said the recently released top ranking took him by surprise. Even though Seattle’s high-end food+drink culture has grown by leaps and bounds, Boudreau said the city is still considered quite provincial in the craft cocktail world.

“To crack the top ten when I know the judges are always in New York, always in London, always in Chicago, it’s impressive,” he said. “To have a recognition of Seattle’s cocktail culture is really great. It’s nice that the city is starting to get noticed.”

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Former director to do time, pay back thousands she stole from Capitol Hill school program

Five years and a $125,000 civil lawsuit settlement later, a former director of a Capitol Hill after school program has been sentenced to 17 months in prison and ordered to pay another $82,000 in restitution for embezzling thousands of dollars from the program she increasingly used as her personal bank account, according to court documents.

Earlier this month, Cathy Reed pleaded guilty to multiple counts of theft from Kids’ Club, a non-profit after school program at 18th Ave E’s Stevens Elementary. From 2009-2011 Reed used Kids’ Club money to buy a new car, fund personal vacations, and even pay property taxes on her house. CHS first broke news of the allegations against Reed last October. At that time, Reed did not respond to multiple requests for comment, nor was she home when we knocked on the door of her Lake Forest Park home.

In court documents, the King County prosecutor said Reed’s actions were a clear case of a person who chose to live beyond her means.

“There is no evidence … of a gambling addiction, or of a drug problem, or of a compulsive shopping habit,” said deputy prosecuting attorney Amanda Froh. “Instead, those records tell the story of someone who was living her life, day by day, in a manner beyond what her income could sustain.” Continue reading

Low turnout? Vote in the CHS Primary (and vote on the monorail again!)

unnamed-5The Capitol Hill Community Council held an electoral forum for its monthly meeting Thursday night. The council invited representatives of five ballot initiatives to come speak (only four showed).
Rep. Brady Walkinshaw, who’s running un-opposed for Capitol Hill’s 43rd district seat, began the meeting by saying he was concerned about low public interest in the November 4th election. It was apt assessment given Thursday night’s meeting was primarily attended by speakers.
Below are CHS’s notes on the night’s discussions. We’re not sure they’re going to boost that “low public interest” but maybe they’ll help inspire a few extra ballots to be cast.


Gun control – I-594

  • I-594 seeks to expand criminal background checks for gun purchases to all private gun sales, including gun shows and Internet sales.
  • Rep. Brady Walkinshaw spoke on behalf of I-594, saying the best thing supporters could do was get out the vote. “This issue is really going to rise and fall with turnout,” he said. Continue reading

Is Capitol Hill’s Electric Tea Garden brewing a redux?

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Thanks for the tip, Marley

Last November, the Electric Tea Garden held a “last blast” dance party in its second story club space above the American Artificial Limb Co. at 14th and E Pike. But on Wednesday night, just under one year after ETG’s final weekend, a sign of life appeared on the shuttered club’s front door: a notice that ETG was applying for a new liquor license.

ETG’s owner Bruce Mason and others associated with the club have not yet responded to CHS on what is in store for the space.

A neighboring business tells CHS that there are plans to reopen the dance club.

When the club closed last year, Mason told CHS that an impending rent increase and gentrification in the neighborhood had weakened the club’s long term prospects. Continue reading

Sorting out the opposing pre-K measures on the November ballot

"Children at Broadway Playfield, 1918" (Image: Seattle Municipal Archives via Flickr)

“Children at Broadway Playfield, 1918″ (Image: Seattle Municipal Archives via Flickr)

Two competing preschool measures will be up for a vote come November 4th. Both Prop 1A and Prop 1B support a using some tax dollars to support and expand private pre-K programs with the aim of eventually putting all Seattle’s kids through voluntary preschool, but the measures differ on several key points. And only one has the mayor’s backing.

You’ll have to answer two questions that will look like this on your ballot:

1. Should either of these measures be enacted into law?

– Yes
– No

2. Regardless of whether you voted yes or no above, if one of these measures is enacted, which one should it be?

– Proposition 1A
– Proposition 1B

If “no” wins on the first question, nothing happens. If “yes” wins, then either 1A or 1B will be enacted depending on which one garnered the most votes. Got it? OK, here’s what they do… Continue reading