Rocket Taco, welcome to planet Capitol Hill

If the cosmic forces above this quiet side of Capitol Hill have felt out of balance lately, the launch might help. The next stage in the long, hard-loved history of the Kingfish Cafe restaurant space is ready for a new adventure.

Rocket Taco — with its “quality, affordable, hand made food,” house-made tortillas, and an emphasis on speed, consistency, and accessible pricing — is set to make its debut Friday on 19th Ave E. CHS stopped by a test run earlier in the week and found all systems “go.”

The project from neighborhood residents Jill and Steve Rosen is an expansion of their Whidbey Island-born, fast-casual taco joint concept. But concept isn’t quite the right word. Though Steve Rosen is an industry veteran who helped create Blue C Sushi and Boom Noodle and whose current ventures include Elemental Pizza, the Rosens call Rocket Taco their family restaurant.

Now there are two. Continue reading

Design review: Country Doctor’s 19th Ave E expansion

screen-shot-2017-02-21-at-5-15-25-pmA crucial Capitol Hill project for one of the city’s only providers of nonprofit, low-income health care will take what should be its final step in the Seattle design review process Wednesday night.

The Country Doctor Community Clinic’s plan will create a new four-story building on the site of its 19th Ave E offices:

The new facility will provide medical services including a new dental clinic, and expanded services for WIC (Women, Infants and Children), Maternity, HIV and Chronic Pain. The project will also provide expanded administrative office and meeting space for the entire Country Doctor Community Health Centers network. The current 2,350 square feet of medical services and administrative offices provided on-site will be expanded to 9,000 square feet on the 1st and 2nd floors.

Meanwhile, the project’s top two floors will house eight workforce apartments in a mix of studio and one-bedroom units. Country Doctor had hoped to to develop the housing as affordable apartments but that the project was too small to attract a development partner.

The new $6.5 million facility is being funded by a capital campaign, $1 million in federal grants, and a $1.2 million grant from the city to support the clinic’s new dental services.

Design review: 510 19th Ave E

Executive director Linda McVeigh told CHS last fall the construction will also add more private rooms, sorely lacking in the current space. “A lot of services we provide are best provided in a one on one environment,” she said. Continue reading

Next chapter for Kingfish Cafe: Contadino Restaurant and Pizzeria

Clevenger (Image: Vendemia)

Clevenger (Image: Vendemmia)

The next stories for the old Kingfish Cafe space on 19th Ave E will include two intertwined tales from chef/owner Brian Clevenger. Clevenger, who opened Vendemmia in Madrona in 2015, will transform the shuttering Ernest Love Agnes into Contadino Restaurant on one side and Contadino Pizzeria on the other:

Brian Clevenger, chef owner of Vendemmia and Raccolto, and his partner Kayley Turkheimer are excited to announce that they will be opening two new concepts in the storied space that long housed The Kingfish Cafe, and was more recently home to Ernest Loves Agnes—a project from Jason LaJeunesse, who will stay on as a partner in the new spots. Continue reading

19th Ave E development can go forward after appeal from neighbors dismissed

Tis the season to put a bow on things and get them wrapped up for the year. Before we dig in on the big design review this week for the Capitol Hill Station development, a loose end in the CHS universe was the tale of one of the few major developments on Capitol Hill to get tied up with the Hearing Examiner this year. Given the amount of blowback Capitol Hill’s “waves of development” get from people who would like to see growth in the city slowed, you might expect more of the neighborhood’s big projects to face appeals over decisions from the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections.

We reported earlier this year on one appeal seeking to halt the development of a four-story, 50 or so unit project slated for the northwest corner of 19th and Mercer. The appeal from a group of neighbors spearheaded by nearby homeowner Dr. Suzanne Lasser was an example of the kinds of project that seem mostly likely to end up facing appeals — smaller, in-fill apartments in the intertidal zones abutting Capitol Hill’s single-family home neighborhoods.

The appeal is also an example of how difficult it can be for a grassroots group of neighbors to stop the city’s various development processes. According to Hearing Examiner records, the case against the Epic Property Management development was dismissed this fall because the appellants didn’t make a key filing in the case by a significant deadline:screen-shot-2016-12-12-at-10-15-15-am

With a design approved in spring, the project is now finalizing permits for construction.

Eat Out 2016 for Country Doctor: 21 bars, restaurants, and cafes supporting nonprofit’s quest to build new Capitol Hill home

14040017_10153958119527545_4576690007042986366_nCountry Doctor Community Health Clinic is making progress towards raising the funding it needs for a new structure to replace its old office space on 19th Ave E. A capital campaign to raise the remaining money necessary for the project is underway. Thursday, you can boost the nonprofit provider of community health care by going out to eat.

“A portion of your breakfast, lunch and/or dinner bill will be donated to our organization to help our patients get the high quality, caring, culturally appropriate primary health care they need and deserve,” the promo reads.

The list of participants is below: Continue reading

More development planned at 19th and Mercer: Monsoon stays but a (probably) exceptional cedar might have to go

This could be the view on the west side of 19th and Mercer. Note: no (probably) exceptional tree

This could be the view on the west side of 19th and Mercer. Note: no (probably) exceptional tree

The "preferred" design scheme for a new five-story building proposed at 19th and Mercer

The “preferred” design scheme for a new five-story building proposed at 19th and Mercer

This week’s Capitol Hill design reviews are getting upstaged. Firstly, the meetings are happening the same time this is going down at City Hall. Secondly, a new Capitol Hill project slated for review next week is way more interesting.

A proposal for a new five-story apartment building on the northwest corner of 19th and Mercer is slated to come before the design review board for the first time next week. It’s a corner where plans for development were in motion before. This time, the plan includes neighborhood restaurant Monsoon and the cluster of businesses in the offices behind the restaurant and its new rooftop deck.

UPDATE: Property owner Glenn MacDonald and Amanda Twiss just sent over more information and this image (“looking up  Mercer towards 18th”) of the proposed design:street image 19th & Mercer

In 2008, a four-story, 52-unit building was lined up for the northwest corner of 19th and Mercer. This is what the Weber Thompson project would have looked like:

This 2008 project was planned for Monsoon's corner

This 2008 project was planned for Monsoon’s corner

The global economic slowdown derailed the development and allowed Monsoon owner Eric Banh to end his five-block search for a new home. In the years since, the economy heated back up and the area’s development kicked back into gear. Across the street, the 19th and Mercer building rose and brought new neighbors to the street. Monsoon expanded and added its rooftop deck. And, now, the corner’s redevelopment is back in motion again. Continue reading

Undaunted by new minimum wage, Seattle restaurant entrepreneurs make plans to extend Capitol Hill food+drink ‘boom’

A few of the Capitol Hill captains of food+drink industry

Not only are Seattle restaurants not closing down because of the “$15 minimum wage” but a wave of entrepreneurs and investors is pushing forward on plans to open more food+drink joints around the city. And they’re looking at Capitol Hill for how to do it.

Nearly 200 restaurant owners, developers, and brokers gathered at The Triple Door Wednesday morning for the second annual restaurant industry summit put on by Bisnow, a Washington D.C.-based trade publication outfit.

“Prices will increase, but I’m full steam ahead,” said Capitol Hill, Pioneer Square, and the New Restaurant Boom panelist Josh Henderson to the crowd of $80 ticket attendees. Henderson ain’t kidding. The prolific entrepreneur behind the Skillet-sprouted empire of the Huxley Wallace Collective just announced details of a fleet of new ventures he plans to launch in the city over the next year.

The “$15 minimum wage” — really, $10 an hour at businesses employing fewer than 500 people and providing healthcare or tips starting April 1st — doesn’t seem to be stopping him.

Continue reading