After 41 years, Dilettante leaving Capitol Hill

Cakes and Tortes at the Dilettante

The original Dilettante in the 400 block of Broadway E

The original Dilettante in the 400 block of Broadway E

How crappy is this Inauguration Day on Capitol Hill? Even chocolate can’t help you.

The ownership of Broadway’s Dilettante Mocha Café announced Friday afternoon that by the end of January, the “Chocolate Martini Bar” will serve its final desserts in the neighborhood where the company was born:

It is with a heavy heart that we must announce our impending closure. We are sorry to say that we will be closing our doors at the end of business hours on Sunday, January 29th, 2017. We have been proud to be a part of the vibrant Capitol Hill community for 41 great years, sharing our love of espresso, good food, strong drinks, and all things chocolate and dessert. Words cannot express our appreciation for all the memories throughout the years. Thank you!!

A call to the Broadway at Mercer cafe confirmed the closure plans and that the company was planning to keep its other cafes open. A manager told CHS that he was grateful Dilettante’s ownership gave employees a few weeks before closing.

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Seattle’s weekend of anti-Trump protests starts with Capitol Hill student rally — UPDATE

UPDATE 1/21/2017 8:00 AM: Police announced an arrest overnight in the UW shooting.

SPD also reported that a police vehicle suffered a busted window Friday morning:

Around 9:30 AM, an unidentified person threw a rock through the windshield of a Bellevue Police Department officer’s vehicle—which was assisting Seattle police in the Capitol Hill area.

“No other arrests were made during the day’s demonstrations,” SPD reports.

UPDATE 1/20/17 8:50 PM: Police and Seattle Fire have responded to a reported shooting that witnesses say happened in the crowds assembled outside the UW Yiannopoulos appearance. Seattle Fire says a male victim has been transported to the hospital with “possible life threatening injuries. Police are investigating and the protests continue.

UPDATE 1/20/17 7:30 PM: The marchers were last reported headed north on 10th Ave E toward the University of Washington where protesters have been blocking entrance to a planned appearance by right wing Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos.

UPDATE 1/20/17 7:00 PM: A portion of the Westlake crowd marched through downtown and eventually up Capitol Hill following the downtown rally. The marchers have been peaceful and there have been no reports of significant property damage or arrests. SPD says it seized several dangerous objects from people in the Westlake crowd but did not announce any arrests.

UPDATE 1/20/17 3:00 PM: There were surprises from the start of what is expected to be two days of marches and protests following the inauguration of Donald Trump. Student walkout supporters who rallied at Capitol Hill’s Seattle Central were expected to eventually meet up with El Comite immigrants rights marchers en route from the Central District to a large rally planned Friday night in Westlake. But people were ready to get moving earlier than expected and the student marchers set out for a Central District rendezvous with the immigrants rights march. They met on S Jackson before 3 PM and set a new course together for Westlake Park, about 600 strong.

Before the marchers hit the streets, District 3 representative and Socialist Alternative party leader Kshama Sawant warmed up the crowd of students from schools from across Seattle and their supporters. Continue reading

One year, 250,000 pints of Optimism


Hakala and Gilmore, left, along with the Optimism crew (Images: CHS)

Happy birthday to brew, Optimism Brewery.

Optimism Brewery opened its doors at Broadway and Union in December 2015 and is celebrating one year of making beer on Capitol Hill this weekend.

Gay Gilmore, who founded the brewery with her husband Troy Hakala, said they always dreamed of opening the brewery in their home neighborhood on Capitol Hill, and the support they’ve received has been hugely rewarding.

“The response has been so awesome, we just want to say thank you,” Gilmore said.

In the first year, 61,000 people visited Optimism’s taproom, and the brewery has sold 1,000 barrels or 124,000 250,000 pints of beer. In addition to Capitol Hill-brewed beer, Optimism’s-16,000 square-foot brewery has become a popular space for politicians, city officials, nonprofits, and residents to hold parties and events. Continue reading

Police search Capitol Hill Station after another Broadway robbery

Thanks to a reader for information and a picture from the scene

Thanks to a reader for information and a picture from the scene

Police focused their search Tuesday night on the nearby Capitol Hill Station after a man held up the drugstore across the street in the second reported armed robbery of its type on the block in the past week.

According to East Precinct radio dispatches, the suspect was wearing a ski mask as he walked into the Broadway Rite Aid around 8:30 PM and handed employees a note demanding cash and threatening that he was carrying a Glock pistol in his pocket. The man reportedly apologized as he fled the store carrying a bag full of money. No weapon was seen. There were no reported injuries. Continue reading

As First Hill Streetcar turns one, Broadway business owners mixed on extension

img_1880When CHS broke the news late last year that the City of Seattle was pressing pause on the planned two-stop extension of the First Hill Streetcar on Broadway and that the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce was supportive of the decision, we heard from a few Broadway business owners disappointed in the news. Next week, the First Hill Streetcar turns one. We’ve talked with a few of the businesses up and down the street and found owners and managers torn over the benefits of more public transit on the street along with better infrastructure for pedestrians and bicycles versus the chaos and cost of constructing the extended line.

“Automobiles and cities are natural enemies,” David Schomer, owner of Espresso Vivace, tells CHS. “When you add transit and take out automobiles, people come out… the city becomes safer.” Continue reading

American Apparel closures set to leave another space on Broadway empty

(Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

There is about to be another empty commercial space on Broadway but this time the economic forces that are driving the closure extend well beyond Capitol Hill.

The American Apparel store at Broadway and John will be one of 110 stores across the country as well as its Los Angeles headquarters set to be shut down after the financially troubled retailer that was once valued at more than $1 billion was acquired in a bankruptcy sale earlier this month for $88 million.

“Founder Dov Charney charted a maverick path when he moved a nascent American Apparel to Los Angeles in 1997 and began manufacturing its cotton basics in the region,” the LA Times writes. “The company’s colorful garments and provocative advertising quickly caught on with young fashionistas.” But what followed was debt and, eventually, bankruptcy that left the dwindling chain unable to recover. Continue reading

Capitol Hill food+drink | A look inside Cook Weaver

We have told you a bit about the new food+drink life playing out inside Capitol Hill’s classic Loveless Building but we haven’t shown you what Cook Weaver looks like yet. Here are a few scenes from inside.

Cook Weaver from Nile Klein and chef Zac Reynolds opened in December with the promise of a comfortable dinner party for you and your neighbors.  “The type of food and cocktails are at home in fine dining,” Klein said, “But we want it to feel like a dinner party with friends.” Continue reading

Trading 14 for 50, six stories planned on Broadway to add to Capitol Hill Station wave

On Broadway, across from busy Capitol Hill Station, nobody sensible is going to complain about a six-story building with 50 new apartment units replacing a three-story building with only 14. Until rents slow down or, even, dip, the market needs the inventory. Some will say build it higher. Tell the HALA folks about that.

But progress on Broadway will mean change for the people living above the street in the old apartment building and a much-loved Capitol Hill favorite, below. When the old 1905-built Capitol Crest apartment building is demolished, Annapurna and her neighbors will need to find new homes. We say, in the meantime, eat at (CHS advertiser!) Annapurna often. And head around the corner to Ace Barbershop for a haircut. Perhaps Wednesday night before you take your full belly and new hairdo to the first design review for the six-story, 50-unit mixed-use building set to rise on Broadway next to Capitol Hill Station’s west entrance.

Design review: 1833 Broadway

The Roger Newell-designed project is being envisioned as a mix of 50 apartment units including 400-square-foot studios up to 936-square-foot two-bedroom models above 3,500 square feet of space for a store… or a restaurant. Continue reading

Charlie’s on Broadway closes… again — UPDATE

img_0236img_0234They said 2017 would be better. They were wrong. In an already bummer week, the reborn Charlie’s on Broadway has told employees not to come in Tuesday and posted the dreaded thank you note to the community in the window of the entrance:

With the ending of our one-year lease, we were faced with a difficult decision. Charlie’s holds a special place in our hearts. However, due to economic factors of the restaurant industry, as of Tuesday January 10th, 2017 we will be closed. Being a part of the Capitol Hill community has been an honor, and we will miss the community deeply.

Charlie’s on Broadway, at least in its latest incarnation, is gone.

Reborn under The Lodge Sports Grille family of restaurants, Charlie’s reopened in December 2015 with an attempt to keep the basic 217 Broadway E recipe the same while updating the business just enough to help it survive for another 39 years. Continue reading

Survey: How will you use new Capitol Hill Station community room?

How about a little thought exercise to start the year! Here are the parameters of your assignment:

The development around the Capitol Hill light rail station includes a community room. The room will be approximately 1300 square feet in size, including dedicated restrooms. The room will be able to accommodate 60-80 people seated lecture style or 40-60 seated at round tables. The developer and design team want to design it in a way that is most flexible and useful to the community.

Just before the holidays, the project to create market-rate and affordable housing, community space, and a block of new Broadway retail around Capitol Hill Station passed its first design review en route for the hoped start of construction in spring of 2018.

Your deadline for this part of the development is a little more pressing. You have until Wednesday, January 4th to tell the Capitol Hill Champion group — continuing its work coordinating community priorities on the project with developer Gerding Edlen — how you and your community group might put a planned community facility inside the development to use:

We wanted to make sure you and members of your organization saw this opportunity to provide input on the design of a future community center at the Capitol Hill light rail station. The new development around the light rail station includes a 1300 square-foot community space, but that space hasn’t been well-defined. Now, the developer and their design team need guidance to design the space and determine how it will be managed.

They probably can’t fulfill every wish, but they would like to design it in a way that provides the greatest flexibility to meet diverse community needs. If you would be likely to reserve the space for an event — a meeting, art class, performance, or something else —please complete this survey to tell us what you’d need. Please also pass this message on to others who would be likely to use the space.

Want to catch up on the latest on the Capitol Hill Station development plans? Start here.

City Light heads into overtime after seagull reportedly knocks out Pike/Pine power

Cal Anderson mural - seagull

See latest outage updates at

See latest outage updates at

Seattle City Light crews were racing against the clock Saturday morning with several Pike/Pine and Broadway bars and restaurants rooting for a last minute big play. Meanwhile, area seagulls were in mourning.

A power outage starting around 8 AM left more than 300 customers in the dark around the intersection of Pine and Broadway Saturday as fans awaited the noontime kickoff of the national semifinal college football game pitting Washington vs. Alabama in the Peach Bowl. “We were planning on showing the Huskies at noon. Will keep you posted when power is back on. Crossing our fingers, @SEACityLight!,” @optimismbrewing tweeted.

A department representative tells CHS that Seattle Fire reported the outage was caused by a seagull that touched overhead lines, causing a “bridge” that overloaded current and destroyed equipment at the scene. Overhead crews aren’t typically on call on the weekend so City Light workers headed into overtime to try to help area watering holes be part of the big game.

Seattle City light estimated a 1:30 PM restoration of service.

Seattle Central seeks bids to develop two Broadway properties

Seattle Central is moving ahead on plans to develop two of its long-held Broadway properties as mixed-use buildings that would bring new affordable housing to the street. And it is looking for help.

The Capitol Hill school has released a call for developers to make their bids in “letters of intent” for leasing or buying the land — the Atlas / Broadway Café building in the 1500 block of Broadway, and the South Annex/ International Programs building at Pine and Broadway — for redevelopment “commercial purposes and/or housing, including a potential affordable housing element.” Continue reading