Chophouse Row, Hill’s ‘new Melrose Market,’ opens for business as original celebrates five years

Timmermeister at work in the shadows (Images: CHS)

Timmermeister at work in the shadows (Images: CHS)

UPDATE: CHS stopped by for the May Day opening

(Image: Alex Garland for CHS)

(Image: Alex Garland for CHS)

Chophouse Row will be Capitol Hill’s most ambitious development to open in 2015, tying together a slate of likeminded, independent shop owners and offices in a now proven formula from developer Liz Dunn.

To celebrate the five year anniversary of Dunn’s original “Capitol Hill complex“, the tenants at Melrose Market are hosting a party on Saturday starting at 11 AM that will be open to the public and include, among other provisions, Raclette cheese nachos.

As the trio of office tenants settle in upstairs inside the Chophouse building on 11th Ave between Pike and Union, the customer facing elements of Dunn’s project are now lining up to open. First up: Kurt Farm Shop and Niche Outside, two businesses with Capitol Hill roots opening their doors May 1st inside the nearly finished marketplace.


As the only non-food and drink tenant, Niche Outside’s nature inspired shop will feature the finely-tuned tastes of Nisha Kelen, backed by her 30 years in the flower and garden business. Handmade watering cans, wax canvas aprons, and custom blended candles are all items Kelen says you’ll be able to find in her urban-focused shop.

“I’ve always wanted to have a place to go to get a really great gift for somebody that’s linked to the garden,” said Kelen, who just celebrated the 18th anniversary of Fleurish floral shop at 19th and Madison.

Just next door to Niche, farm-to-table pioneer Kurt Timmermeister has taken over a 300-square-foot patch of space for his newest venture. Kurt Farm Shop will feature a selection of dairy products from the farms of Timmermeister and friends, including the best cheeses of Puget Sound, yogurt and ice creams flavored by the bounty of the Pacific Northwest. Timmermeister closed his last Capitol Hill venture, Septieme, in 2004 and rolling his investment into his legendary Kurtwood Farm.

The May 1st opening will be a soft opening of sorts for Chophouse, Kelen said, as buildouts continue thoughout the building. Continue reading

On the List | Melrose Market turns 5, Taco Truck Challenge, Indie Bookstore Day, Pedaler’s Fair

Holy smokes. Capitol Hill is set to achieve summer-level entertainment this weekend. Lucky you to be here to enjoy it.

  • First, don’t forget Thursday’s Dining Out for Life with 45 Capitol Hill venues donating proceeds to support Lifelong.
  • You can celebrate Capitol Hill’s Melrose Market as the locally-focused retail and food project celebrates its fifth year Saturday:
    Come out to celebrate the past 5 and many more with all of us at Melrose Market. We will be scraping Raclette nachos for the crowds, and our neighbors will be offering their own goodies as a token of customer appreciation. YUM!
  • The Taco Truck Challenge returns to Volunteer Park Saturday for a day of outdoor gluttony via tortilla.
  • Or you can enjoy a day at the racetrack and a few mint juleps as Bottleneck Lounge hosts its Eighth Annual Kentucky Derby Party on Saturday afternoon.
  • Believe it or not, some of the weekend’s events have nothing to do with food. Celebrate Free Comic Book Day (and their second anniversary) at Phoenix Comics. Meanwhile, Elliott Bay Book Company is part of a new Independent Bookstore Day celebration.
  • For all you yacht owners in the audience — and the people that love them — the 2015 Seattle Yacht Club Opening Day Parade begins at noon Saturday. There will also be helicopters, by the way.
  • Let’s say you don’t want to buy anything including a yacht — and a night of poetry and circus performance. The Seattle Poetry Slam is Saturday at Town Hall while 12th Ave Arts hosts Company Cirque en Déroute’s The Really Weird Cabaret on Friday night.
  • You can also pedal over to Saturday’s 2015 Pedaler’s Fair at the Russian Community Center:
    Pedaler’s Fair is an annual marketplace for Washington based, bicycle-inspired small businesses to exhibit their goods. In its first year, Pedaler’s Fair hosted 23 exhibitors and received over 1,000 guests. In addition to exhibitor booths we had live music, workshops and presentations. We are currently working on bringing you the 3rd annual Pedaler’s Fair, with even more family friendly events, tutorials, workshops and presentations, in addition to all of our fantastic vendors.

Looking for more to do or have something others around the Hill should know about it? Check out the CHS Calendar. Continue reading

Owner says Capitol Hill pizza joint closing because of $15 minimum wage rules for franchises

Screen Shot 2015-04-29 at 10.56.16 AMThese restaurants weren’t closing because of Seattle’s new minimum wage — but this one is.

The owner of the Broadway location of Zpizza — a franchise chain with locations in 14 states, Washington D.C., and three “international” outlets — has announced she is closing her shop across from Seattle Central this summer after five years of service because Seattle’s new minimum wage law makes it too expensive for small-time franchise owners to do business.

“I’m a franchise. The law states that if you’re a franchise, you have to accelerate your minimum wage just like Amazon or Chipotle,” Ritu Shah-Burnham tells CHS. Continue reading

Seattle prepares for May Day 2015 with protests — again — planned for Capitol Hill — UPDATE

Both Broadway QFCs shut down early -- the Broadway Market store suffered some broken glass (Image: Tim Durkan)

Both Broadway QFCs shut down early — the Broadway Market store suffered some broken glass (Image: Tim Durkan)

With reporting by Bryan Cohen and CHS Intern Makena

UPDATE MAY 1, 2015 9:53 PM: Protesters in the Seattle Central plaza have dwindled to a few dozen though there is still the occasional excitement like the drone reported flying above the area at one point in the night. Broadway is being reopened to traffic slowly as police vehicle clear the street.

photo (49)UPDATE MAY 1, 2015 9:20 PM: SPD says there have been 15 total arrests so far tonight. Critics will remind that very few of the May Day arrestees over past years have been charged.

In a statement, Mayor Ed Murray condemned the violence. “As we continue to witness acts of violence from protesters, we urge folks on Capitol Hill to exercise caution,” said Murray said. “Seattle Police are advising that businesses on Broadway and other Capitol Hill streets should take reasonable precautions to protect their employees and customers. Police will continue to work to protect people and property in the area, and will make arrests when necessary.”

UPDATE MAY 1, 2015 8:40 PM: A Seattle police spokesperson said the march through Capitol Hill had turned from a protest to riot as officers deployed flash bangs and pepper spray, and shot projectiles at protestors along E Olive Way between Melrose and Broadway. As they marched, protesters tossed dumpsters and materials from construction sites into the streets. As the marching began to slow at Broadway and Pine, about 75 people gathered in the intersection. Police eventually pushed the group on to the Seattle Central grounds to clear the streets.

UPDATE MAY 1, 2015 7:45 PM: Police were working to redirect a large group from progressing any closer to downtown. A line of officers at Boren pushed the group back up Pike to Melrose where it marched north. At Denny, police were again attempting to push the crowd back up to the Hill. Pepper spray and flash bangs were again deployed by police and protesters rolled a dumpster into the street but was stopped by responding officers, according to radio dispatches.

UPDATE MAY 1, 2015 7:45 PM: At least three police officers were injured, a media vehicle had its back window blown out by a firework, and there was at least one arrest in a skirmish between officers and protesters that began near Broadway and Howell around 7:30 PM. Police were able to quickly take control of the area by firing pepper spray and blast balls. The large crowd was mostly dispersed and a smaller group of a hundred or so reformed and continued to rally its way down the Pike toward downtown. There were reports of small fires set in newspaper boxes and trash cans as well as explosions from fireworks. A crossfit studio on E Pine was hit with large anarchist tags and a fence at a Harvard construction site was toppled. Bystanders pushed the fence back into place after the crowd moved through.

UPDATE MAY 1, 2015 7:25 PM: Protesters began dragging barriers and garbage cans into the street in an attempt to block police. Officers reported that rocks were being thrown and that officers were being hit with sticks at Broadway and Howell. A dispersal order to clear the area was given just before 7:30 PM.

UPDATE MAY 1, 2015 6:50 PM: With a crowd estimated close to 700 according to East Precinct radio dispatches, the anti-capitalist marchers practically ran up Broadway to begin a night of protest. Reaching Roy in around 10 minutes, the large group chanted as it weaved through the residential streets around Roy and back to Broadway. There was a report of a broken window but SPD was unable to locate the damage. No other incidents have been reported but a dispute between protesters and an open carry gun rights advocate who carried a rifle to the rally was being monitored by police. Black-clad protesters joined by participants from the earlier Black Lives Matter and worker and immigration rights marches were joined by other protesters on a warm spring night on Broadway. Some onlookers cheered, others threatened the protesters, while others thanked the police. This year for the first time SPD has stationed police officers in front of some businesses to help deter property damage.


UPDATE MAY 1, 2015 6:20 PM: As the anti-capitalist marchers gathered and prepared to leave the plaza at Broadway and Pine, a group of Seattle Police officers were busy trying to help a man reportedly suffering a mental crisis and carrying a hammer who had climbed on top of a basketball hoop in Cal Anderson. Seattle Fire was called in to help bring the man down with a ladder.

UPDATE MAY 1, 2015 5:30 PM: Seattle Police arrested one man near E Pine and Boylston around 4 PM for throwing a rock at a window. According to SPD, the man was also carrying a machete, paint, and a wrench. The arrest was not part of the immigrant rights march coming from Judkins Park. 

IMG_5143UPDATE MAY 1, 2015 4:45 PM: With groups starting to gather at Seattle Central for Friday night’s “anti-capitalist” march, SPD already was displaying heavy presence in the area. This group of bike officers helped out a fellow cyclist before being dispatched to help with the march as it proceeded downtown.

UPDATE MAY 1, 2015 3:30 PM: The march was proceeding on its planned route and was nearing Boren. “Tear down the prisons, tear down the border, bring it to the fascist order,” chanted one section of the march as the groups made their way down Jackson toward downtown. Small groups joined the main procession as it traveled the streets including Casa Latina‘s representatives who jumped in at 17th and Jackson.

Today is not just a tradition, says Diana Lopez. “We’re still going to talk about how to move forward”  (Image: Bryan Cohen for CHS)

Today is not just a tradition, says Diana Lopez. “We’re still going to talk about how to move forward” (Image: Bryan Cohen for CHS)

UPDATE MAY 1, 2015 2:30 PM
With estimates ranging from expected crowds of between 1,000 to 2,000 people, groups are gathering in Judkins Park preparing for the march downtown.

Meanwhile on Capitol Hill, police have investigated a handful of 911 calls about small groups of people wearing masks headed toward downtown but there have been no reports of demonstrations in the neighborhood. A unit of officers on foot patrol and wearing “safety yellow” vests is also on Broadway this afternoon.

UPDATE MAY 1, 2015 9:40 AM
Mayor Ed Murray began his May Day 2015 with a news conference at Cal Anderson in his home neighborhood of Capitol Hill and a reminder of what the day is about.

“This neighborhood has a history of protest — protests that have changed this city for the better. Protests in the anti-war movement. Protests for LGBT rights,” Murray said.

“As we have seen in May Day after May Day there are also individuals being destructive,” Murray said that the story of the day ought to be about those who stand up for justice before addressing public safety and traffic questions from the media.

An operations briefing including Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole will be held later in the day.

There are three planned events on the day:

  • Black Lives Matter May Day 2015 — 10:30 AM — MLK Memorial Park — 2200 Martin Luther King Jr Way S — and 2:30 PM 20/Jackson
  • Marcha Y Manifestacion Anual del 1o de Mayo 2015 – 2015 May Day March & Rally — 2 PM Rally — 3 PM March — Judkins Park to Downtown
  • May Day Anticapitalist March 2015 — 6 PM — Starts at Seattle Central

City officials said Friday morning they were also monitoring the situation in Baltimore where the prosecutor’s office has announced six police officers will be charged in Freddie Gray’s death.

CHS will be reporting on the day’s activities. You can follow live updates here or on Twitter via @jseattle and @bchasesc. You can also call or txt us at (206) 399-5959 if you see something others should know about.

Even though 2014’s protest activities on Capitol Hill were less intense than some of the small pockets of rioting that occurred in 2013, at least one major business is planning to close early. The Starbucks Reserve Roastery will be shuttered Friday as a safety precaution, a company spokesperson told CHS. “To ensure the safety of our customers and partners (and a result of conversations with the mayor and police chief) we will be closing the Roastery and 18 downtown stores early today,” the spokesperson said. “In terms of re-opening, we will do that when it is safe.”

The spokesperson would not confirm that the company is planning to board up windows on the multi-million facility as some large chains like Niketown have done downtown on May Days past. “We are evaluating all options for the safety of our customers and partners,” the spokesperson said. UPDATE: A load of plywood has been delivered to the Melrose at Pike roastery and cafe.

East Precinct commander Capt. Paul McDonaugh said his staff isn’t advising businesses take any extraordinary measures. The streets around East Precinct’s headquarters at 12th and Pine will be closed to traffic starting early Friday evening.

Screen-Shot-2015-04-30-at-7.45.59-AM-1024x709SPD’s post about the day’s logistics is here:

A large number of uniformed officers will be present at tomorrow’s rallies to direct traffic, ensure everyone is able to freely and safely exercise their First Amendment rights, and prevent or respond to any unlawful behaviorAs always, please contact an officer or call 911 if you have any concerns or need to report an emergency.

The permitted workers and immigration rights march from Judkins Park is expected to have around 1,000 people in attendance, according to a Seattle Department of Transportation bulletin though organizers predict more than two times as many marchers:

The march route starts at Judkins Park, assembling at S Lane Street and 20th Avenue S, moving northbound on 20th Avenue S to S Jackson Street. The march will turn westbound on S Jackson Street to Boren Avenue S, proceeding northbound to Pine Street, turning westbound on Pine to the Federal Courthouse. Seattle Police will escort the march.

Seattle Public schools sent a bulletin warning families of possible traffic issues but didn’t announce any related closures or schedule changes.


Seattle Police are again preparing for a night of protest starting on Capitol Hill this May Day after two years of increased damage and violence.

Meanwhile, the annual May Day march for worker rights earlier in the day attended by thousands will likely again be overshadowed by the mayhem. Continue reading

Medical marijuana overhaul will close dispensaries and shift patients to I-502 retailers

Capitol Hill celebrated the passage of I-502, which brought about the medical marijuana overhaul (Image: CHS)

Capitol Hill celebrated the passage of I-502, which brought about the medical marijuana overhaul (Image: CHS)

The green cross has grown into a symbol of the marijuana medical marijuana industry

The green cross has grown into a symbol of the marijuana medical marijuana industry

Last week, Governor Jay Inslee enacted the most sweeping overhaul to the state’s medical marijuana system since voters first approved it in 1998. It was an effort to bring the mostly unregulated medical marijuana system in-line with the highly regulated recreational one.

For Seattle’s non-patients, the most noticeable change might be an urban landscape suddenly devoid of signs bearing green crosses.

Shutting down medical shops will also mean putting some people out of a job including workers and owners at a handful of Central District dispensaries.

Shy Sadis, who claims ownership of 10 dispensaries including Starbuds at 23rd and John, said nearly all of his 80 employees could be out of work if the state doesn’t establish a pathway for medical shops to re-open as retailers.

“I wish medical could stay, but if it’s going, I’m going to have to make the transition to full I-502,” he said. “I’m hoping they will give us I-502 licenses for shutting us down.”

Many of the city’s medical marijuana dispensaries are expected to close by July 2016 under the reformation act, though the overhaul does pave pathway for some to transition into recreational shops. I-502 shops already in operation will be able to obtain medical endorsements to sell medical marijuana to card-holding patients tax-free. Continue reading

45 Capitol Hill restaurants and bars sharing the love for 2015’s Dining Out for Life

(Image: Lifelong)

E Pine’s Fogon will be one of four “Golden Fork Restaurants” on the Hill this year donating 50% or more of their Dining Out for Life revenue (Image: Lifelong)

Dining-Out_logo_2014-1024x477 (1)Don’t eat out Wednesday. Or, if you do, eat out again — breakfast, brunch, lunch, happy hour, dinner, and second happy hour — on Thursday. It’s time again for the annual Dining Out for Life at restaurants and bars across Seattle and all over Capitol Hill. Proceeds benefit Capitol Hill’s very own Lifelong:

On Thursday, April 30th, over 100 restaurants throughout the Seattle metropolitan area will donate 30% or more of their proceeds to Lifelong. Thank you in advance for joining thousands in your community to help fight hunger and illnesses such as HIV/AIDS. By dining out, you made a huge difference. Because of your support (and the support of others like you!) in 2014 we were able to feed over 1,600 individuals by providing 37,047 bags of groceries and 161,401 nutritious meals to those in need. Dining Out for Life is one of our biggest, most important fundraisers of the year—it’s been going strong in Seattle for over 20 years, and ensures that our food program, Chicken Soup Brigade, can continue to provide our clients with healthy food catered to their specific medical conditions. We’re excited to see you dining out on April 30!

The Hill roster of participating venues is below. You can learn more about the event, see the latest roster of participating Seattle-area restaurants, and, if you’re feeling it, donate online at

Continue reading

Blotter | Central District shootout arrest, Cal Anderson ‘washboard’ band robbery

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

  • MLK/Jeff gunfire arrest: SPD arrested one male suspect and impounded an SUV after reported gunfire near MLK and Jefferson involving at least two vehicles Monday afternoon around 2 PM. There were no reported injuries. SPD stopped one vehicle but found found no gun, casings, or damage, according to East Precinct radio dispatches. Witnesses who said they saw the vehicles involved in the shootout helped identify the suspect taken into custody.
  • 18th Ave robbery: A woman reported she was robbed at gunpoint inside her 18th Ave garage Monday morning. Police were called to a home on 18th Ave near E Union around 10:45 AM. The victim told police the suspect entered the garage and robbed her of her purse and car keys. The woman told police the man was armed with a black handgun. The suspect was described as an Asian male in his 30s, wearing a black hoodie and light pants. He was also reportedly carrying a black folder and asked the woman for directions to Harborview before fleeing southbound on 18th Ave. There were no immediate arrests.
  • Cal Anderson ‘washboard’ band robbery: The SPD report on this 6 PM, April 8th robbery in Cal Anderson Park is, sadly, a Capitol Hill classic
    Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 3.30.58 PM Continue reading

In race to catch Sawant, Banks kicks off Council District 3 campaign on Capitol Hill

Banks wants to catch Sawant, sure, but first she'll need to jump over challenger Rod Hearne (Image: CHS)

Banks wants to catch Sawant, sure, but first she’ll need to jump over challenger Rod Hearne (Image: CHS)

Surrounded by current and former Seattle elected officials at Capitol Hill’s Sole Repair event space, Pamela Banks formally launched her campaign Monday evening for City Council District 3.

The longtime Central District resident and CEO of the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle told the packed room she would bring “progressive leadership in District 3 that is inclusive.”

Banks didn’t mention any specific policies she would champion in the district, which includes Capitol Hill. She did say finding solutions to the rising cost of living in the Central Area would be one of her top priorities. “It’s unacceptable that rents keep rising while wages remain stagnant,” she said. Continue reading

Pedestrian zone at 23rd and Jackson would ensure ‘main street’ vibe ahead of redevelopment

A vision of a pedestrianized 23rd and Jackson

A vision of a pedestrianized 23rd and Jackson

With the transformation of 23rd and Union already underway, redevelopment is marching down 23rd Ave. Before it comes, community groups are seeking to ensure the redevelopment around 23rd and Jackson keeps a “main street” vibe.

Following a letter writing campaign by neighborhood activists, the City Council’s land use committee voted last week to add the “pedestrian zone” designation to Jackson between 23rd Ave and MLK Way as part of legislation that would expand the zones across the city. The full council is set to make a final vote on the legislation.

Here’s how the city describes what a pedestrian zone does:

  • Encourage or preserve pedestrian friendly development in commercial cores.
  • Requires specific commercial or institutional uses to be located at the ground floor—
  • Uses that cater to pedestrians and are not residential uses
  • waives some parking requirements to encourage businesses to locate in the area, recognizing that many customers will use means other than driving to get to the business
  • limits driveways across sidewalks along principal pedestrian streets

Neighborhood activists have long sought a pedestrian designation for the section of Jackson, though the real concern lies in the two large shopping plazas, with even larger parking lots, that bookend the 23rd Ave side. It’s there that groups like the Central Area Land Use Review Committee fear new development, if done improperly, could kill the opportunity to create a thriving pedestrian corridor. Continue reading

City Council Notes | Okamoto selected, impact fee recommendation includes schools

The new Council member Okamoto got about 15 seconds at the mic Monday to accept his new role

The new Council member Okamoto got about 15 seconds at the mic Monday to accept his new role

Here’s a look at this week’s Capitol Hill-centric highlights from the City Council’s chambers:

  • Interim Council member selected: Following a special Friday hearing on the candidates, the City Council voted Monday afternoon to appoint political insider and Ed Murray-approved John Okamoto to fill the open Position 9 seat. Okamato most recently served as interim director of Seattle Human Services Department after his appointment to the post by Murray. Okamato received the majority vote Monday despite a withering attack from Kshama Sawant who criticized the candidate’s past work in the “cesspool of corruption” at the Port of Seattle. Outgoing Council member Tom Rasmussen called Sawant’s comments “odious.” The appointee will take Sally Clark’s spot as chair of the housing committee amid growing calls for rent control/stabilization legislation to help address affordability issues in Seattle. Clark announced she was leaving the Council earlier this year for a job at UW. CHS wrote here about the framework used for selecting Clark’s replacement. The eight finalists are listed here with links to their application info (PDF): Jan Drago Noel Frame / Sharon Lee / Sharon Maeda / David Moseley /John Okamoto / Sheley Secrest / Alec Stephens
  • University District BIA expansion: The Council voted 6-2 to approve legislation Monday to expand the University District business improvement area and, yes Seattle Times, “collect more money for street-cleaning and marketing from property owners across a larger stretch of the University District.” Someday, the Capitol Hill Chamber hopes for a similar (though probably less contentious) vote for the Broadway BIA to reach Pike/Pine. CHS wrote here about a small expansion in 2014 and the possibility of a greater southward expansion down the road. Council members Sawant and Nick Licata voted agains the U District expansion.
  • Impact fees: The Council’s transportation committee Tuesday morning will hear a recommendation to pursue a study of using development impact fees to fund transportation and parks projects. Under state law, cities may charge impact fees to fund transportation, parks and recreation, schools, and fire facilities. “Impact fees can only fund the cost of public capital facilities that are necessitated by new development and reasonably benefit new development,” a memo on the proposal notes. Additionally, the steering committee looking at the fees has recommended the Council consider working with Seattle Public Schools on a possible proposal to use the fees to help pay for education in the city. A component of the analysis to be considered Tuesday shows parts of the city where student population has increased in conjunction with increased development — you’ll note that Capitol Hill has some of the highest “student population” vs. “new housing units” ratios in the city:Screen Shot 2015-04-27 at 3.10.19 PM
  • CHS Re:Take writer confirmation: Being a CHS writer doesn’t require Council vote — but being reaffirmed as a member of the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board does. Rob Ketcherside will be up for re-approval to the post during Tuesday’s neighborhoods committee meeting.
  • Ballots due: Not Seattle City Council biz but don’t forget to vote on the emergency radio levy. It’s the only item on your ballot. Pop it open, vote, and make sure you get it postmarked by Tuesday.