About jseattle

Justin is publisher of CHS. You can reach him at chs@capitolhillseattle.com or call/txt (206) 399-5959.

#caphillpsa: Capitol Hill signs — Starbucks apologies, Comet code of conduct, City Market on Tom Brady’s balls

(Image: Comet Tavern)

(Image: Comet Tavern)

It’s a sign. One of the most effective ways to communicate your thoughts on the Hill on the Hill is to create a big, giant sign. CHS has a pile of Capitol Hill sign updates to share, below.

  • As you can imagine, we’ve been sent the Starbucks apologies banner that popped up on the side of Benson’s Grocery several times over the weekend. But Dan Nolte sent it first.

    This appeared on Bellevue at Pike over the weekend -- thanks to @noltedan (and everybody else) for sending

    This appeared on Bellevue at Pike over the weekend — thanks to @noltedan (and everybody else) for sending

  • We assume the sign makers “Mark and Sam” are referring to this. But maybe they meant this?
  • Benson’s, by the way, knows a little about the city’s on-premises advertising rules regarding signage.
  • We look forward to the Amazon, Microsoft, and CHS editions of the apology banners. Continue reading

Done with Broadway Alley, Villa Escondida — ‘the Mexican diner that Seattle’s been dreaming of’ — vows to reopen

(Image: Villa Escondida)

(Image: Villa Escondida)

(Image: Villa Escondida)

(Image: Villa Escondida)

Seattle Central College alum Jose Perez has shuttered his first restaurant venture as Villa Escondida is on a search for a new home — preferably on or near Capitol Hill, we’re told.

Word spread over the weekend of the affordable Mexican eatery’s preparations to shut down inside the Broadway Alley retail complex. A few fans had one last opportunity to eat at the restaurant Saturday night.

In a Facebook post, the restaurant’s management chalked the closure up to a “contract disagreement.” The restaurant had recently been unsuccessful in winning a beer and wine license for the location.

CHS covered Broadway Alley’s unusual mixed-use history here in 2012. It continues to house several Capitol Hill businesses including the much-loved and expanded Tacos Chukis.

CHS reported on Perez’s first restaurant venture last spring as Villa took over after Mexican sandwich shop Torteria Barriga Llena also pulled out of the Alley. The family connections to Capitol Hill’s Mexican food scene run deep:

“I always wanted to do it but never had the opportunity,” said Perez. His cousin,Misael Dominguez, has previous experience opening up businesses and is kicking in financial support. “He’s the one, I guess, that is teaching me all the stuff.” Dominguez, when we spoke with him last, was opening La Cocina Oaxaquena at Melrose and Pine last spring. Dominguez managed Ballard’s La Carta de Oaxaca back when the restaurant first grew into prominence. Roberto Dominguez, the managing partner of La Carta de Oaxaca and Mezcaleria Oaxaca on Queen Anne, just opened the beautiful the beautiful and mezcale-stuffed Mezcaleria Oaxaca Capitol Hill on E Pine.

The recipe of affordable Mexican food and breakfast options seemed to be catching on. Earlier this month, the Seattle Times named Villa Escondida to its roster of “best new cheap eats for 2015.” “This is the Mexican diner that Seattle’s been dreaming of,” the Times wrote in a sentence now likely filling you with deep levels of regret. Hopefully that regret won’t last long.

Keep an eye on the Villa Escondida Facebook page for updates about a new location.

Capitol Hill nonprofit has one question for you: ‘What would you most like to see in the new Hugo House?’

download (4)Last fall, CHS reported that Capitol Hill nonprofit Hugo House had begun work on a plan to build a new center as part of a mixed-use development at the site of its 11th Ave home. The literary arts organization is asking for community feedback on what shape its new venue should take with an online survey and Monday night community forum:

Hugo House is going to have a new home! Come help us dream up an even more dynamic center for writing and reading and listening.

What do you most wish to see in the new Hugo House—whether it’s something you hope we continue to have, a practical addition, or a wild wish for something new? We wouldn’t dream of making decisions about our new facility without you: the teachers, the students, the event attendees—the writers. This forum will give you a chance to tell us what would make the new house a home.

We’d love to see you there—and please invite anyone on your friends list who you think might be invested in the future of the House.

The “community conversation” starts at 6 PM at Hugo House, 1634 11th Ave.

You can also add your voice via this one-question survey:

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 11.03.45 AM

Note: You’ll have to enter at least five characters so F-U-N won’t count. We always preferred essay questions over multiple choice, too.

One group is already rallying to ask for Hugo House to include a performance venue in its plans:

Right now, the building is home to an 1800 square foot black box with fixed seating for 87, theatrical lighting grid and built-in sound system – this stage has been a place for local Seattle playwrights to debut the bold new work being produced in our city, and to lose it would be a serious setback in transforming Capitol Hill into the arts district it strives to be.

In the announcement of the new development project last fall, Hugo House and the longtime property owners of the more than 100-year-old building said they were working with a developer to determine “the exact mix of uses as part of the design and permitting process.” The announcement notes the property owners have “generously supported all facility costs, including rent” for Hugo House throughout its history.

Chop Suey re-born

IMG_9312

(Image: CHS)

Earlier this month as many mourned what they believed to be the impending death of Capitol Hill music venue Chop Suey, CHS reported on the progress being made by new owners Brianna Rettig, Brian Houck, and Erin Carnes to overhaul and reopen the venue.

Due to contractual restrictions, people involved in the deal weren’t able to speak on the record. We’re happy to share that Stranger music writer Dave Segal has finally confirmed the details of Chop Suey’s rebirth with the new owners:

Will Chop Suey maintain its current booking agenda, with a focus on local and underground rock, hip-hop, and electronic, or do you intend to change direction and add other genres to the mix?
We’re all about rock ‘n’ roll, but honestly, we just want to give local artists a home and national acts the best sound in Seattle.

Segal also reports that much-loved talent buyer Jodi Ecklund will continue to be part of the new venue when it re-opens this spring.

A partner in the new venture tells CHS the Chop Suey name will live on as part of a larger project around the venue.

Carnes, the co-owner of The Escondite, a live music venue and burger joint in downtown LA, and her musician business partner Rettig are set to begin an overhaul to both the interior and the exterior of the 1937-built building at 14th and Madison. The 2002-born Chop Suey business was on the market for just under $100,000 this summer as the Japanese company that owned Chop Suey decided to bring its investment to an end. In 2009, the club was purchased by the same ownership as K’s Dream, a live music venue in Tokyo.

One performer with knowledge of the new set-up told CHS music and performance will remain part of the new club’s offerings but that the way events are booked and promoted is set to transition to a “for rent” format that leaves elements like marketing and ticketing to the acts to handle. But the partner CHS spoke to Monday morning tells us that format will not be the plan and that the club is sticking with Ecklund.

So, what else will join the live music components at the new project? In Los Angeles, the Escondite is known for its burgers. Though, with a name like Chop Suey, other food formats come to mind.

The news joins a long list of Capitol Hill changes met with an initial wave of sometimes justifiable sadness at the pace of “new” hitting the neighborhood, followed by sometimes confounding and mitigating developments like new owners, new plans to return, and/or new formats featuring the beloved fixtures.

What they’re saying about the Elysian-Anheuser-Busch InBev deal: why they sold, the ‘Loser’ joke, what’s next

"Elysian in the mirror" (Image: jillbertini via Flickr)

“Elysian in the mirror” (Image: jillbertini via Flickr)

Friday was a busy day for CHS. The news that Capitol Hill-born Elysian Brewing was selling out to Anheuser-Busch InBev brought the fourth highest daily total of readers to CHS ever. (Our roster of biggest news days ever is at the bottom of this post.) We barely had a chance to read what others were saying about the deal. Here’s a look at the soul searching and insights we’ve found about the deal. Let us know what we missed.

Elysian + AB InBev notes

  • In case you missed a few of our later updates, tweets from two Elysian employees didn’t paint a happy picture around the circumstances of the deal’s announcement Friday:

  • The Washington Beer Blog knew the deal was coming — and knew it would come with some big questions — Is Elysian Brewing evil now that it’s part of Anheuser-Busch?
    Dick said something that I think is very important. “We hope people will continue to judge Elysian by what’s in the bottle.” There is no doubt Dick understood that people would freak out, but he really does hope people can see past the business end of things and just continue to enjoy Elysian beers. Continue reading

Writer Dotty DeCoster remembered

Dotty and her family (Images courtesy David Collett)

A nearly 50-year resident of Capitol Hill and First Hill died last week — CHS was lucky to call her a friend. Dotty DeCoster, who spent her last six years on First Hill after four decades on Capitol Hill, was a writer, researcher, and historian who often worked for little more than her love for some of her favorite subjects — the people, places — and sometimes birds — of Capitol Hill, First Hill, and Central Seattle.

She was an activist:

A political radical, DeCoster was involved with “old guard” leftist groups like the Congress for Racial Equality (CORE), and experienced the sexism within them.  “It is almost impossible to imagine what it was like in the mid-to late 60s if you were a woman.  If you went to a radical meeting you weren’t allowed to talk.”   Like other women at the time, DeCoster began to see the need for a separate space for women to exchange ideas.  Through the Free University, DeCoster encountered discussion around “the woman question”, became part of the anarchist Women’s Majority Union, and worked on the feminist journal Lilith. Quickly, radical women’s groups surfaced which were addressing the problems that mattered to them, driving the changes which would grant women further autonomy.

DeCoster’s family tells CHS she died during the week of complications from colorectal cancer. She would have turned 71 on February 1st. She is survived by daughter Tara, son Tristan and granddaughter Esme.

Despite her move to a First Hill apartment on Spring, DeCoster still identified as “Capitol Hill” and her knowledge of our history stretched back over the decades.

“In the late ’60s, the housing here was in pretty bad shape even on Capitol Hill, not just in the Central Area,” DeCoster said in a 2000 interview. “After the Boeing Crash, housing prices were so cheap that a lot of young couples bought houses here, and still live here because they can’t afford to move, but there were a lot of children here in the ’60s and ’70s. That’s not true now. You see a lot of weekend children.”

Over the years, we were lucky to share some of DeCoster’s work. You learned where the steam at Pike and Harvard comes from. You learned about Broadway’s stairway to nowhere. You learned about the vanished nighthawks of First Hill:

They also have an odd habit while perching.  Rather than sitting on tree limbs or wires or rooftops facing you (with the perch on the horizontal) they sit sideways, aligned along the perch.  Called “goatsuckers” some places, they used to be a delightful addition to the August falling star show viewed from the Capitol Hill ridge crest.

Thanks for your work and your sharing, Dotty. We learned a lot.

This week in CHS history: Twilight Exit shooting, M Street Grocery closes, Unicorn is born

8473084494_d34cec0053_oHere are the top stories from this week in CHS history:

Crash leaves light pole leaning precariously on 23rd Ave Metro wires

IMG_7362IMG_7368A single-car crash that knocked a light pole onto Metro trolley wires near a troublesome curve in 23rd Ave near E Aloha caused no significant injuries but was set to take hours to unsnarl Saturday night.

Police and Seattle Fire responded just after 10 PM Saturday after a car struck the pole and sent it leaning on the dual wires used to power 23rd Ave Metro trolley routes 43 and 48. The car’s driver was not seriously injured but was taken into custody at the scene. A DUI unit was called to the scene.

Crews were being gathered to evaluate the leaning pole and the Metro wires supporting it but were expected to take up to two hours to complete the inspection. Traffic in the area was diverted off 23rd Ave during the response.

UPDATE: The road was reopened to traffic around 1 AM.

New at the Broadway Farmers Market: Central Seattle’s own Malus Ginger Beer

996496_596024903762173_281111596_nFour years ago, a ginger beer maker got her start on what has become a collection of Seattle food and drink venues with a table at the Broadway Farmers Market. Later this year, Rachel Marshall will open a Rachel’s Ginger Beer on Capitol Hill inside the 12th Ave Arts complex.

Sunday, a new creator of the spicy drink tells CHS he is making his debut at the market and joining Rachel’s which has continued to keep its place at the weekly event. Here’s John Struble on his Malus Ginger Beer:

Malus Fermented Ginger Beer debuts at the Broadway Farmer’s Market on January 25 and will return every other Sunday thereafter. Crafted with a strong regard for herbal history, Malus Ginger Beer is Seattle’s only fermented non-alcoholic ginger beer. Malus’s process of fermentation is what separates its ginger beer from our admired fellow producers, Timber City and RGB. The craft of fermentation, more closely related to the production of beer, wine, and kombucha, is the linchpin of Malus’s methodology. Malus uses organic ingredients, including Northwest wildflower honey.

ad-04The Central District resident touts his drink as the only non-alcoholic fermented ginger beer in Seattle. The beer lists only four simple ingredients: water, ginger, honey, and lemon. (UPDATE: Struble let us know he believes his is the only non-alcoholic fermented ginger beer being made in Seattle. We’ve clarified above.)

Struble says he plans to carry Malus beyond ginger. “Malus has unearthed a centuries old recipe that promises to taste unlike any other root beer,” he writes, “with healthful ingredients that epitomize Malus’s herbalist tradition and stout opposition to the heavily medicated culture created by the American Medical Association.”

In addition to the Sunday markets (11a to 3p at Seattle Central, Broadway at Pine), you can also find Malus at Bannister, Café Presse, Central Co-op, Chuck’s Hop Shop, E. Smith Mercantile, and Revolver Bar.

You can learn more at malus-seattle.com.

Lifelong Thrift readies for Broadway with sale, moving campaign

(Image: Lifelong)

(Image: Lifelong)

With plans to open in February March on Broadway in the former home of Red Light Vintage, Capitol Hill’s Lifelong Thrift is clearing the shelves and preparing for the move with a big sale and a fundraising campaign to boost the nonprofit’s move from E Union.

Saturday is the last day of business for the shop at 1017 E Union — you can find some sweet deals on the final day:

As you all know, out last day of operation at 1017 E Union will be Saturday Jan. 24th. So we will be having a store wide 75 percent off sale, starting Friday Jan. 23rd. Items that are .50¢ will not be further discounted.

Lifelong is also holding an online giving campaign to help with additional unexpected costs from a one-month delay in the move:

The Lifelong Thrift is a Seattle thrift shop institution known for awesome one-of-a kind items. It has resided on Capitol Hill since the 1980s when, at the height of the AIDS epidemic, it was a place of togetherness…a place the symbolized hope in a time of heartache. Today, it is one of the few, if not the only, thrift stores in Seattle that offers a voucher program to HIV positive individuals in need of basic living essentials, like warm coats, dishes, or even an outfit to wear to a job interview. The Lifelong Thrift has given $500,000 in vouchers through the years!

The thrift store is bursting at the seams and can grow no more in its current building while the number of clients served by Lifelong continues to grow. The good news is, the thrift store announced in the Fall that it would be relocating to a new location on Broadway in Capitol Hill — a space that is three times the size of the current space. The new space will allow the thrift store to double the amount of contributions back to Lifelong’s programs delivering food, housing, and health services to people living with chronic illnesses including HIV/AIDS.

If you give $2,500, you’ll get a fitting room in the new Broadway location dedicated in your name.

CHS Pics | This week in Capitol Hill pictures

The CHS Flickr Pool contains more than 18,000 19,000 20,000 21,000  22,000 23,000 24,000 photographs -— most of Capitol Hill images, many glorious, some technically amazing. The pool is a mix of contributions from Capitol Hill — and nearby — shutterbugs. Interested in being part of it? If we like your photo and it helps us tell the story, we may feature it on CHS so please include your name and/or a link to your website so we can properly credit you. Interested in working as a paid CHS contributor for scheduled assignments? Drop us a line –- our roster is full for general assignments but pitch us on an idea. Continue reading

911 | E Madison parking garage mugging, 19th/Alder fire

See something others should know about? Email CHS or call/txt (206) 399-5959. You can view recent CHS Crime coverage here.

  • 22/Madison robbery: Seattle Police searched for the suspect in a reported strong-arm robbery inside the parking garage below The Summit apartment building at 22nd and Madison Friday night. We’re told the victim was a driver for a Capitol Hill pizza joint. According to police dispatch radio, the suspect took the driver’s keys, phone, and wallet in the robbery reported just after 11 PM on the lower level of the garage below the apartments and Safeway. The suspect was described as a black male in his 20s, wearing a Seahawks beanie, black jacket, and jeans. The suspect did not brandish a weapon in the incident. One local business owner sent out a Tweet overnight saying a Hot Mama’s driver had been robbed. We’ll see if we can confirm that this is part of the same incident. There were no reported injuries.
  • 19/Alder fire: Seattle Fire is investigating after an early Saturday morning garage fire that damaged a two-story house near 19th and Alder. Heavy smoke and flames were reported coming from the structure just before 5:30 AM as occupants attempted to put out the blaze with water. All occupants were reported to have made it safely out of the house as SFD initiated its response and brought the fire under control around 20 minutes later. The fire marshal is investigating the cause of the fire. Red Cross was called in to help provide assistance to the residents. There were no reported injuries.

Blotter | Gunpoint robbery in Cal Anderson, no victims in Central District drive-by

See something others should know about? Email CHS or call/txt (206) 399-5959. You can view recent CHS Crime coverage here.

  • Cal Anderson armed robbery: A victim told police the suspect in a gunpoint robbery inside Cal Anderson Park late Thursday night was apparently a hometown sports fan. According to the victim in the hold-up reported just after 11:30 PM near the park’s fountain, the suspect was a Hispanic male wearing a Mariners jacket and Mariners beanie and was carrying an orange drawstring bag as he tucked a pistol back into this waistband and fled the scene with an accomplice after the robbery. Police searched the area for the men last seen headed south on Nagle but no arrests were made. Community groups and the Capitol Hill Chamber are continuing to work on a plan to request funds for improved lighting in the park to quell ongoing robberies and assaults.
  • Midtown Center drive-by: Police were searching for suspect vehicles after a second night of gunfire around 23rd and Union’s Midtown Center. Thursday night just after 8:30 PM, police swarmed the area after reports of shots fired by a passenger in the backseat of a black Toyota Corolla. There were no reported injuries and it wasn’t clear who or what had been targeted in the incident. There were no arrests. SPD asked witnesses to call 911 with information. Tuesday night, a bullet is believed to have traveled more than a half-mile before landing in the door of a third-floor apartment unit north of a shooting incident reported near the center. There were no injuries reported in that altercation and there were also no arrests.
  • Shots fired stats: SPD released its most recent SeaStat report including a review of shots fire across the city in 2014. SPD says reported gunfire incidents jumped more than 20% compared to 2013:Screen Shot 2015-01-23 at 12.16.37 PM

Anheuser-Busch acquires Elysian Brewing Company — including E Pike brewery

"Brewmaster" (Image: Jeanine Anderson via Flickr)

“Brewmaster” (Image: Jeanine Anderson via Flickr)

Helpers at an Elysian trimming party last year (Image: Elysian)

Helpers at an Elysian trimming party last year (Image: Elysian)

Anheuser-Busch, the US wing of a global brewing giant, announced Friday morning it has acquired Elysian Brewing including the Seattle-based company’s E Pike brewery and pub.

Opened in 1996, Elysian’s Capitol Hill pub and brewery was the company’s first location. The brewery was founded by Dick Cantwell, Joe Bisacca and David Buhler.

The E Pike Elysian celebrated its 15th anniversary in 2011 with with 15 favorite beers. At the time, Cantwell provided some history about this much-loved brewery:

It took us about two years to plan, write the business plan, raise the money, etc. We opened a week late and $3000 over budget. I had been brewing at Big Time–we brought a lot of their old staff over–and before that at Pike Place–Fal, their head brewer rode his motorcycle inside the day we opened. I also worked at a place on lower Queen Anne–Duwamps Cafe, before that. We opened with one of our beers–The Wise ESB–a little fruity because of a warm fermentation–and filled out the taps with beers from every brewery that any of us had had anything to do with in the past. We raced Pike to brew first, since they were opening their new place in the Market South Arcade. After a year-plus of going neck and neck, we beat them by an hour.

Elysian has not yet announced any financial details of the transaction or planned changes for its E Pike facility. In 2011, Anheuser-Busch acquired Chicago’s Goose Island and its approximately 130,000 to 150,000 annual barrel capacity for $38.8 million. In 2014, it bought New York’s Blue Point for somewhere between $18 million to $24 million. Blue Point’s 60,000 barrel capacity is in the same ballpark as Elysian’s annual output.

Elysian is currently distributed in at least 10 states and has collaborated with large brewing companies like New Belgium in the past.

“Throughout our journey we’ve been focused on brewing a portfolio of both classic and groundbreaking beers and supporting innovation and camaraderie in the beer industry through collaboration and experimentation,” Cantwell is quoted as saying in the Anheuser-Busch announcement. “By joining with Anheuser-Busch we’ll be able to take the next steps to bring that energy and commitment to a larger audience.” Continue reading

Traffic alert: ‘Emergency’ pavement repair E Olive Way just below Broadway

"Signs of our time on Capitol Hill Seattle" (Image: Kate Clark via Flickr)

“Signs of our time on Capitol Hill Seattle” (Image: Kate Clark via Flickr)

Expect a traffic pinch starting Saturday as work crews begin an emergency repair project to repair pavement on E Olive Way just west of Broadway. The work is slated to continue “into the work week” which we assume means Monday even though, sigh, CHS also works on the weekends.

Paving crews from the Seattle Department of Transportation will close a lane on Olive Way just west of Broadway for an emergency repair to the pavement beginning Saturday, Jan. 24 at 8 a.m. During the weekend the street will be restricted to one lane shared by both directions of traffic 24 hours a day. Police officers and traffic flaggers will assist drivers through the area.

SDOT crews will continue to work at this location into the work week, leaving one lane open in each direction, as they excavate and replace 12 concrete panels in the roadway.