Capitol Hill food+drink | With heavy course load, Honor Society Coffee earns high marks in Melrose Market

(Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)



True to its name, Capitol Hill’s Honor Society Coffee aims for high marks.

“Not only are we a coffee shop, but we are our own roaster and we also have a full food menu – and we have our own pastry program,” says Liz Pachaud, a coffee specialist who launched the Melrose Market business in September with veteran Seattle chef Brandin Myett.

While other cafes do various combinations of those things themselves, Pachaud believes hers may be the only one in Seattle doing all of them.

“Ultimately,” she says, “everything we do is an extension of the values that we have regarding hospitality, flavor, ingredients, environmental stewardship, community stewardship.”

She and Myett created Honor Society Coffee because they’d been looking for a cafe just like it, and couldn’t find one. Continue reading

Five years of Capitol Hill high expectations at Altura

Ask chef Nathan Lockwood of Capitol Hill’s Altura how he’s managed to consistently hit the lofty targets of the fine dining world for five years running, week in and week out, and you get a gently bemused look that says: Dude.

“It’s what I do,” he replies. “Twenty-four years I’ve been doing this. It’s just a habit at this point. It’s what I do every day.”

And every day it gets more demanding. “Guest expectations are higher. My expectations for ourselves are higher. The cooks’ expectations of me are higher.”

Nathan and his wife Rebecca, Altura’s business manager, launched their restaurant on north Broadway in October 2011, offering Italian-inspired dishes based on seasonal Northwest ingredients. A current sample menu includes the likes of Salt Spring Island mussels smoked with madrona bark, shaved matsutake mushroom with a spicy Dungeness crab brodo, and a ragu of wild boar.

Altura started out busy on opening night. Then it grew even busier. Continue reading

More employees taking the helm on Capitol Hill with new owners at Scratch Deli

When former Scratch Deli owner Ian Thackaberry wanted to find someone to take over his business, he didn’t have to look far. No farther, in fact, than his own kitchen and counter crew.

“The old owner came to each of us individually being, like, “Hey, would you have any interest in doing this?” Scratch’s Daniel O’Connell said.

As it turned out, they would. But only if they could do it together, and share the responsibility of running a business they love.

The result? O’Connell says he and three coworkers — Brandon Frosch, Erika Macias and Laura Rains — teamed up and bought Scratch from Thackaberry on October 1st. They also took over the lease to the building that houses the deli.

“I think it worked out for all of us,” says O’Connell. “It was a very serendipitous occurrence.” Continue reading