Mother of the Brazilian in Seattle, 15th Ave E’s Wax On

Wax On's Uhlir (Image: Wax On)

Wax On’s Uhlir (Image: Wax On)

If the whole actress thing doesn’t work out for Demi Moore, maybe she can look into being a business consultant. An offhand comment made by the movie star in 1997 led Anne Uhlir to open Wax On Spa on 15th Ave E.

Uhlir was working at a salon and was sent to Moore’s hotel room to perform a Brazilian. Moore said there was nowhere in Seattle that offered the service and a business was born.

The idea bounced around in Uhlir’s head for a while before she opened the spa (yes, it took its name from “The Karate Kid”) in 1999. Those early years were lean, Uhlir said. At the time, there wasn’t much personal grooming of that particular variety going on.

“I had to educate them about what a Brazilian was,” Uhlir said.

Initially, she was giving the waxing away, so people could understand it. “It took me thousands of free services,” she said.

She’s also used a tongue-in-cheek marketing campaign featuring beavers, the occasional pussy cat, and, during the 2000s the president’s name.

“The Bush years were a heyday,” Uhlir said.

It took about three years — with a possible assist from the adult film industry making the style more fashionable — before she really had the client base she needed to know the business was going to be able to sustain itself. Continue reading

Bar Vacilando wanders onto Capitol Hill

We can't show you much of Bar Vacilando but we can show you this

We can’t show you much of Bar Vacilando but we can show you this

The versatile bar, good for an after-work cocktail with a shared plate of food or a dinner date, enjoys quite a bit of popularity on Capitol Hill. After refining one version of the concept with Black Bottle in Belltown and Bellevue, a trio of owners are nearly ready to open another take on the “gastrotavern” with a venture on Capitol Hill.

Chris Linker said his intention for Bar Vacilando at 15th and Harrison is not to open a fancy restaurant, but a bar with really nice food.

“We want people to feel like they can disarm … let time slow down a little bit,” Linker said of restaurant slated to open in mid-May. “It’s more of an analog restaurant than a hyper-digital restaurant.”

The Bar Vacilando owners are not quite ready to reveal how they have changed the former 22 Doors space, but CHS was able to take a peek inside. While no major transformations have taken place, the space has been peeled back to a more raw form. The dropped ceilings are gone, revealing the old building’s original wood slatted ceilings. The bar top has been replaced, but Door 22’s impressive wooden back bar remains. The 2,374-square-foot space is also known for having one of the best patios on the Hill, and Bar Vacilando will continue to put the intimate outdoor space to good use with some small upgrades.

Bar Vacilando’s name is also rooted in the analog. In his 1962 book Travels with Charley, John Steinbeck wrote, “If one is vacilando, he is going somewhere but doesn’t greatly care whether or not he gets there, although he has direction.”

The patio in 22 Doors days

The patio in 22 Doors days

That sense of world travel inspired co-owner Judy Boardman chef Brian Durbin when developing a menu for the new restaurant. Bar Vacilando will offer a mix of the light and indulgent, including slow cooked pork cheek and Tokyo turnip, salt cod croquettes, and king trumpet mushroom salad with watercress and spinach. Most plates will be made to share.

A medium-sized wine list, handcrafted cocktails, and a several local beers on tap will round out the drink offerings.

Linker said he and the other owners were drawn to 15th Ave E because of its neighborhood within a neighborhood quality. “There’s such a strong sense of community and cooperation and familiarity on 15th Ave.”

Opened in 2005, 22 Doors shuttered on New Year’s Eve 2013 after apparently dealing with financial troubles for years. Sandwiched next to Rione XIII and The Wandering Goose and the old-timer Tim’s Barbershop, the space remained vacant for two years. CHS first wrote about the Black Bottle crew coming to the block in November.

Earlier this year, Linker and Black Bottle caused a stir when they joined Seattle restaurant heavyweight Tom Douglas in adding a 2% surcharge to offset the city’s new minimum wage law. Both restaurant groups eventually backed off the plans after backlash. Douglas has since begun the process of eliminating tipping and raising wages at his fleet of restaurants.

Bar Vacilando will be a tipped-based restaurant, at least for now. Linker said he still has concerns about how his company will sustain the increasing minimum wage, though it clearly has not stopped them from expanding. “I think the restaurant model will continue to evolve and what that looks like precisely, I don’t know,” he said.

Bar Vacilando plans to open in May at 405 15th Ave E .

$1.7 million per month in Central District and Capitol Hill pot sales

Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 3.10.22 PMLast week as the state’s entrepreneurial ranks of I-502 retailers did their best to drum up even more business on 4/20, protesters again targeted 23rd and Union’s Uncle Ike’s to speak out against change in the neighborhood — and, for some, the inequitable way the legalized drug industry has played out. But just how big has the industry grown?

Across Capitol Hill and the Central District, there were more than $1.7 million in I-502 marijuana sales last month, according to state data organized by 84% of that was generated by Ike’s. The rest were generated by Uncle Ike’s closest competitor, Ponder, which opened in September just down the block on E Union, and 15th Ave E/Republican’s Ruckus, which opened as the first pot shop on Capitol Hill in December.

37% of those dollars went back to the state, remember. Since its birth in late September 2014, Uncle Ike’s has paid the state $6.9 million in excise tax. Don’t feel too sorry. Owner Ian Eisenberg got to put the remaining $12.3 million of it to work powering the business and doing whatever else he likes to do with his money. Uncle Ike’s is a CHS advertiser! In the meantime, Ike’s is now the second largest pot retail location in the state after Vancouver’s Main Street Marijuana.

How the sales trends will continue is anybody’s guess. The three active retailers in the area produced growth of 11% month over month coming into March. We’re going to assume 4/20 sales were good. And another boost is in the works as Capitol Hill’s second I-502 pot shop — and the second along 15th Ave E — is currently under construction.

Counting producers and processors as well as retailers, Washington pot is a $17 million per month industry. State sales totals from

Counting producers and processors as well as retailers, Washington pot is a $17 million per month industry. State sales totals from

Buy or move? Lambert House faces $2M decision on Capitol Hill home

A Capitol Hill LGBTQ youth nonprofit needs around $2 million to keep its 35-year home. It likely says a lot about the strength of the Lambert House that the news about its 15th Ave home brings a confident statement about its future — not a panicked cry for help. The response also says a lot about what it is like to run a successful nonprofit on Capitol Hill as the waves of development continue.

“The planned sale of the property comes at a time when Lambert House was considering the possibility of expanding our space,” writes Lambert executive director Ken Shulman in an announcement about the situation.

“It also coincides with the redevelopment of many properties on Capitol Hill, and elsewhere in Seattle, as land values have skyrocketed and older buildings are being razed to make way for denser and more profitable use.” Continue reading

Apollo Nails joins growing beauty economy on 15th Ave E

(Image: Photo by Derek Reeves via NK Architects)

The corner where Chutney’s once stood will soon be home to Apollo Nails in the new Stream Fifteen building (Image: Photo by Derek Reeves via NK Architects)

(Image: Apollo Nails)

(Image: Apollo Nails)

There’s going to be a new business on 15th Ave that doesn’t involve marijuana. Apollo Nail Salon is set to take up all of the commercial space in the new Stream Fifteen building on 15th and Mercer.

Owner Johnny Le and his wife and business partner Connie say they’ve been wanting to open something on Capitol Hill and are only now finding the right space, about 3,000 square feet of it.

“We thought it was a great spot,” Johnny Le said. “Capitol Hill was always on our mind.”

The couple opened their first salon in Poulsbo 10 years ago. A few years later, they expanded to Silverdale, and then Queen Anne in 2012.

Once they open, Le said they hope to offer a full spa-type experience for women and men, including nails — both mani and pedi), facials, waxing, and eyelash extensions. He said they will not use acrylics for nails, which should mean no fumes wafting up to the apartment dwellers overhead. Continue reading

Liquidation: Healeo shutters Capitol Hill cafe, lives on in wholesale juice biz

(Image: Healeo)

(Image: Healeo)

(Image: Healeo)

(Image: Healeo)

When your family has a deal in place to sell its building at 15th and Madison for $33.5 million and you have a popular but profit-challenged nutrition-oriented cafe and juice bar in that building, you probably can’t complain when your cafe can no longer afford the rent.

We missed the announcement in the wake of Chicago-based Equity Residential’s acquisition of The Pearl building in December but Justin Brotman’s healthful cafe Healeo shuttered earlier this month.

Brotman tells CHS that the Healeo business lives on as a wholesale juice concern 50% owned by local Charlie’s Produce. Small test shops around 500 square feet could be in the Healeo brand’s future.

Brotman also has his hands and fingers full this presidential election year typing out Tweets and updates faster than even CHS with his social media-focused political news operation Bipartisan Report. “Internet Newspaper and powerful news search engine. The Internet’s Largest newspaper,” the site bills itself.

Healeo opened in 2009 as a glossier than you might have expected “neighborhood nutrition bar.” With his family’s Costco roots, Brotman’s 15th and Madison cafe and juice bar looked ready to be the first of many Healeos. But the start-up nature extended to the business’s profits — a 2014 lawsuit brought by a bookkeeper who claimed she was owed more than $20,000 noted that from 2009 to at least mid-2014, Healeo “operated on negative margins” and often required “cash infusions” from a Brotman Family Trust.

Still, the cafe had plenty of fans — CHS once slurped a smoothie with Chihuly — and the wholesale juice business has a solid customer set, Brotman said. You’ll probably see Healeo here again.

“I’ll miss our corner but we will likely be back on the Hill somewhere in a small spot,” Brotman said.

You can learn more about where to find Healeo products at

Demolition at 15th and Howell

"Bob, what have we done?" (Image: CHS)

“Bob, what have we done?” (Image: CHS)

Longtime readers of the site know CHS is your leading source for Capitol Hill demolition porn:

Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 10.16.53 AM

Though our own pace of demolition postings has slowed, it’s not because the development pace has finally slowed down and fewer demolitions are happening on Capitol Hill — we recently tallied 94 demolition permits in 2013, 70 in 2014, and 67 through September 2015.

Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 4.43.00 PM_all_2015

Tearing down Ballard? DPD demolition-related permitting activity, 2015 (Source:

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But the location and scale of the tear-downs has changed. The era of ripping down a block of old buildings in the heart of Pike/Pine — for now — has passed. The recent demolition that quickly and mostly quietly came at 15th and Howell is an example of a ripping apart of an older building we might skip these days, leaving Twitter and Facebook to document the mildewy smell of splintered boards and piles of twisted metal mixed with yellowed insulation.

Tuesday, it inspired a CHS Community Post documenting the old apartment building mid-demolition — and then the corner was cleared. The recent increase in ejected furnishings and old appliances from the apartments being spread around the neighborhood had come to an end.

What’s next is another thing neighbors on Capitol Hill have become more accustomed to. Construction will soon begin on an “urban apartment building” with 57 “small residential units.” The microhousing from developer Greenbuild and designed by Caron architects got its final approval from the design review board about a year ago last January. When it is complete, the corner will have traded two buildings with 8 units for nearly 60 averaging 341 square feet a piece.

1420 E Howell - 1 of 2

CHS Pics | Capitol Hill Valentine violinist

Valentine's Violin - 1 of 6

While we were thinking about different ways to say I love you on Capitol Hill, CHS found Alen̈a hard at work Tuesday at the 15th and John Safeway earning money for a new violin with some Valentine-worthy performance. Stop by with your sweetie and drop a dollar or two in the can for love.

Second Capitol Hill pot shop approved for 15th Ave

IMG_5911The owner of Uncle Ike’s Pot Shop may finally realize his aspirations to open a recreational marijuana store in his 15th and Republican building, even if the business itself isn’t his.

A West Seattle medical marijuana entrepreneur has been given the green light by the state Liquor and Cannabis Board to open a retail marijuana shop in the space last home to the Capitol Hill Family Arcade.

The permit approval for Lion’s Heart puts owner Daniela Bernhard one step closer to opening Capitol Hill’s second pot shop in a building owned by fellow potreprenuer Ian Eisenberg. Bernhard was a co-owner of the Northwest Patient Resource Center in West Seattle prior to moving ahead with her Capitol Hill business.

Bernhard did not respond to CHS requests for comment and Eisenberg said he could not comment on the approval. Continue reading

Police investigate 15th/Harrison gunpoint robbery

A male victim reported he was robbed at gunpoint early Sunday morning near 15th and Harrison.

Seattle Police were called to the 1500 block of E Harrison just after 2:20 AM Sunday morning to a report of a pistol-point robbery involving a male suspect who fled in a waiting vehicle.

The victim told police he was robbed of his wallet by the armed suspect who then fled in a lowered red Honda. The suspect was described as a Hispanic male in his 30s with a goatee, wearing a dark hooded jacket, blue jeans, and tennis shoes. A female accomplice was waiting for him in the vehicle. The car was last seen headed north on 15th Ave E.

Police arrived in the ares just minutes after the robbery but found no sign of the car or its occupants. There were no injuries in the incident.

The hold-up is the second armed robbery on Capitol Hill CHS has reported in the past week. Last weekend, a man told police he was carjacked at gunpoint at 12th and Denny.