Big news for tiny 15th Ave E restaurant, Teriyaki Madness expanding

(Image: Patricia via Flickr)

(Image: Patricia via Flickr)

A mighty mite of the Capitol Hill food+drink scene is about to get a little bigger.

Hammers are pounding away at 15th Ave E’s Teriyaki Madness as the longtime takeout joint is expanding.

CHS didn’t learn much about the business behind the busy worker-bee food and drink stop but we did confirm that work is underway to expand the teriyaki shop into the space left empty by the exit of a neighboring pot dispensary as the state’s medical marijuana system was merged into its recreational pot economy. Gyro Cafe will continue to operate next door. We’re told Teriyaki Madness Capitol Hill is no relation to the Teriyaki Madness in Kirkland nor a franchise of Teriyaki Madnesses that operate on the West Coast. We don’t know how long it has been operating on 15th Ave E but we expect you’re about to tell us.

The construction permit calls for our Teriyaki Madness to expand into the retail space to its north to add more seating for the tiny but busy walk-up.

The expanded teriyaki joint is in the midst of lots of activity on its busy block of 15th Ave E. Earlier this year, architects from Board and Vellum took over and totally redesigned the old credit union to the north for their new office space. Upstairs, Seattle Area Support Groups and Community Center has settled in to continue its long running mission of building communities around specific HIV issues and other recovery assistance like addiction.

And it’s about to get busier. Permits have been issued to begin construction for the four-story, mixed-used development designed to fill in the old credit union building’s parking lot.

Committed to staying on Capitol Hill, Lambert House starts fundraising drive

Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 10.51.31 AMCapitol Hill LGBTQ youth nonprofit Lambert House has started a capital campaign to raise the money it needs to stay in its 35-year 15th Ave home. The organization is committed to staying on Capitol Hill.

Lambert House needs around $2 million to be able to stay in its longtime home on 15th Ave past the end of 2016. Executive director Ken Shulman said the organization is pursuing several different sources of funding through the capital campaign, including major private donations and a campaign started Pride weekend.

Shulman says that the nonprofit will assess the status of its fundraising in early October and decide whether they will likely have enough to buy up their current location by the end of the year. If not, Lambert House will move into an interim space for a few years while it continues to raise money for a more permanent location. Continue reading

Capitol Hill food+drink | With room for a Sugar Plum counter, Plum expanding on 12th Ave

Makini Howell’s vegan bistro Plum is expanding on 12th Ave — and adding something sweet in the process.

“We are booking a lot of catering this summer,” Howell said about the new Plum expansion set to take over the empty steakhouse just up the sidewalk. “It shows — more people are vegan but, also, the growth of the city. We’ve managed to stay through a lot of ups and downs.”

Plum Catering will put the expanded kitchen from the departed Manhattan to good use supporting Howell’s booming catering business while also making space for takeout meals, sauces, dips, and sundries. Pioneer Square’s London Plane offers an example of how it might fight together. A sweets counter featuring creations from the reinvigorated Sugar Plum will also be part of the construction underway in the space. Continue reading

In case it wasn’t clear (because it wasn’t), Uncle Ike’s is coming to Capitol Hill

Thanks for the picture @uncle_vinny. You're our favorite uncle.

Thanks for the picture @uncle_vinny. You’re our favorite uncle.

That second pot shop approved by the state at one intersection on Capitol Hill at 15th and Republican? It will be an Uncle Ike’s.

The latest twist in the As the Weed Turns-level soap opera playing out around 15th Ave E pot is that building owner Ian Eisenberg is, indeed, a big part of the plan to open a new pot shop on the corner.

We asked Eisenberg — a CHS advertiser — after seeing a sign teasing the Uncle Ike’s brand show up outside the construction underway to transform the former veterinary clinic into a new Uncle Ike’s.

We already knew another pot shop was coming to the street. And we knew it would be in Eisenberg’s building. In February, CHS reported on the approval of an I-502 retailer license for an entity called Lion’s Heart owned by Daniela Bernhard, a veteran of Seattle’s medical pot dispensary scene. The location for the permit is across the street from Ruckus which opened in December as the first I-502 pot shop on Capitol Hill.

Now we know Eisenberg will be involved in more than just developing the property he acquired for $1.5 million in 2015 and collecting rent. Continue reading

As sibling Liberty ponders going co-op, Good Citizen focuses on coffee, not cocktails

The plans for Good Citizen, Andrew Friedman’s second Capitol Hill hangout that eased into operation more than a year ago only to quietly go dormant again, have changed. Meanwhile, Liberty, Friedman’s plucky 15th Ave E bar that made its reputation in growing Seattle’s craft cocktail scene out of equal parts integrity and bitters, is up for sale — but likely only available to a very special group of buyers: the people who work there.

After opening as an event space more than a year ago, Good Citizen on E Olive Way is, for now, anyhow, moving forward as a cafe — craft cocktail-free.

Friedman tells CHS Good Citizen re-opened “just for fun” starting Tuesday, June 21. Right now, the store only has Stumptown coffee, but Friedman says pastries, and coffee from other roasters will soon be available. You can stop by now though be prepared for a flexible schedule as Friedman’s crew sorts things out. Continue reading

Here’s what it looks like when Capitol Hill architects design their own office

The architects at the Capitol Hill architecture firm Board and Vellum are enjoying the results of some of their latest work — their own new office space on 15th Ave E.

“We’re all beyond giddy,” said principal and founder Jeff Pelletier. “It’s rare for architects to get to design their own space, and we were just given a blank slate to do with what we wanted to do with it, and it’s just turned out fantastic.”

The firm was created more than five years ago in Pelletier’s Capitol Hill attic. Once they expanded enough to need a more formal office, Board and Vellum moved downtown for a year, then to a space in Capitol Hill off 16th Ave, where they stayed for the past three years. Pelletier says that office was made for about 11 people but was holding all 21 members of the firm. It got old quickly. Continue reading

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