After only a year of business, Broadway’s Junkichi — and its robot — set to be offline for ‘several months’

We trust this robot — for now

The skewering of meats, open flame of the grill, and even the cute little robot have gone quiet — and nobody is answering the phones. Broadway’s Junkichi Robata Izakaya will be closed for “several months due to renovations” after only one year of business.

The curt message appeared on the restaurant’s website to start the month as the 200-block Broadway E robata grill concept has gone dark. Company representatives haven’t responded to repeated calls and messages about the closure. Continue reading

After mystery summer disappearance, Capitol Hill mystery soda machine mysteriously resurfaces

Now it can be revealed. Capitol Hill’s mystery pop machine is alive and well and apparently sightseeing. And in a sure sign of the impending Capitol Hill apocalypse, it now has PR representation.

The viral soda dispenser  — yum! — missing for months from in front of the Broadway Locksmith resurfaced unexpectedly Monday morning on social media, revealing its temporary location to be near the Space Needle. The pop machine has also apparently hired a graphic design team. Continue reading

Limoncello Restaurant is ‘opening soon’ on Capitol Hill

Someday, you won’t have CHS to tell you about Capitol Hill restaurants planning to open 18 months from now. You need to learn to fend for yourself. Here is something to practice on: Limoncello Restaurant.

CHS is pretty good on the comings and goings of Capitol Hill and the nearby and usually we have some idea of a project’s details even if we don’t have enough to report on it.

Limoncello is a mystery. As far as CHS’s reportorial resources reach, we don’t have a clue about where the project is headed. All we have to work with is this March 21st Tweet:

We reached out last week and got a reply from the account  — “we’re putting together a media Package with all the info,” it said. We haven’t heard more since.

So, welcome to our world, reader. Enjoy the mystery. And good luck with your reporting.

Capitol Hill food+drink | Mystery ‘Rory’s Restaurant and Rooftop Bar’ making plans to rise above E Pine

We’ve had an early taste of Seattle spring in the days leading up to Valentine’s 2017, how about some chatter about a new restaurant and rooftop bar project being lined up for a classic Pike/Pine building with plans to be open this summer.

Developer Hunters Capital tells CHS it is underway on a seismic overhaul and full rehab of the Colman Automotive building on E Pine at Bellevue that it acquired for $3.85 million in 2012. “Initially we are going to spend 4 to 5 months stripping the building down to its bones, sandblasting, bringing in upgraded utilities and seismically upgrade it for new occupancies,” a Hunters rep tells CHS. Part of those big changes: a restaurant with roof deck component. We asked who is planning to move into this new Pike/Pine creation but that’s where the Capitol Hill development and real estate investment firm gets quiet. Continue reading

E Pike rumor dot com: Amazon just might be opening a grocery store on Capitol Hill

It's not very interesting inside... yet (Image: CHS)

It’s not very interesting inside… yet (Image: CHS)

A bookstore in U Village. A drive-up grocery store in Ballard. A checkout-less convenience store on 7th Ave in Amazon-ville. With Amazon’s voice control platform Alexa reportedly “stealing the show” at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the retailing giant has also been busy innovating and testing new concepts in its home city. But, so far, none of its “meatspace” experiments have made a home on Capitol Hill, the neighborhood where many of its employees live.

That might be about to change.

CHS has learned that an Amazon executive central to the rollout of the company’s retail projects including 7th Ave’s Amazon Go checkout-less concept is involved in the giant and highly secretive retail project slated to fill a 10,000 square-foot retail space in the Mercedes Benz dealership-turned AVA Capitol Hill development in the 600 block E Pike.

A development manager for Avalon Communities declined to comment telling CHS he was not allowed to discuss the tenant and Amazon has not replied to inquiries about the project.

The Amazon senior program manager included in City of Seattle filings on the project worked on the University Village Amazon bookstore and the launch team for Amazon Go, according to his Linked In profile. Continue reading

Why did the Cal Anderson duck pool turn red?

(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

There is a lot of water testing going on around here these days. Seattle Parks officials tell CHS they’re working to figure out why the Cal Anderson reflection pool water has taken on a red hue. If it turned purple this week, there would be no questions. But apparently water testing is needed to figure out what, exactly, is plaguing the duck-friendly pool. “Our crews will take a sample to have the water tested this week,” a spokesperson said. “Once we have results, we will develop a plan to drain, clean and refill the pool.”

While a working reservoir still lurks below Cal Anderson (CHS wrote about it here in 2015 when the facility was due for a cleaning), the reflecting pool next to the pump house is purely for aesthetic. There has been a reservoir at the site for 115 years. After the state mandated that Seattle’s open water sources needed to be covered in the early 1990s, community groups helped lead an effort to cap the reservoir with a park. The ripple pool and water mountain have become an iconic element of the neighborhood. But a murky red pool? Not as much.
Continue reading

The (relatively) giant retailer coming to E Pike will be a… grocery store

As much as the return of the Capitol Hill Block Party has some remembering the “good old” days of Pike/Pine circa 1997, the changes underway on E Pike may eventually leave you pining for the CHBP days of yore — or, at least, remembering a day when there weren’t all those pesky large grocery stores on every block.

CHS reported this spring about the mysterious, relatively huge, 10,000 square-foot retailer making plans to join a new mixed-use development under construction on E Pike:

According to permits, the project’s plans for multiple retail units along the street have been pushed aside in favor of one combined “retail store” in the project. At just over 10,000 square feet, the store would be about half the size of Elliott Bay Book Company, for example, but twice the size of the still-empty OfficeMax that shuttered on Broadway earlier this year.

The developer wasn’t talking.

But CHS has learned that the project is being lined up as a grocery store involving an unknown company with plans to join what will be a wave of new market offerings joining the area in coming years. By 2017, a Whole Foods Market is destined to rise at Broadway and Madison as part of a 16-story apartment development. And developers say a “Portland-based grocer” is in talks to become the anchor retail tenant in the development surrounding Capitol Hill Station.

We’re not sure what that leaves as far as grocer possibilities to join E Pike where hundreds of new apartments will soon join the market in the blocks between Broadway and Summit. Maybe Samuel Pitts is getting back into the business.

UPDATE 7/24/2015 10:00 AM: Uh oh. In a letter dated July 20th, DPD says the plan for the mystery project to combine what was planned as multiple storefronts on E Pike doesn’t jibe with zoning. The developers have the opportunity to reply to the correction notice.Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 10.10.44 AM Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 10.10.55 AM

Which (relatively) giant retailer is coming to E Pike this summer?

IMG_5263Site Plan (3)

If you're looking for clues, this design rendering probably can't be trusted

If you’re looking for clues, this design rendering probably can’t be trusted

At 10,437 square feet, whatever new store is planned to open on E Pike in the new AVA Capitol Hill building this summer will instantly become one of the bigger retailers in the neighborhood.

But, so far, the building’s developers at AvalonBay Communities aren’t talking.

CHS asked the AVA folks about new permit paperwork that showed up earlier this month for a relatively huge new store fronting the 600 block of E Pike in the seven-story, 245-unit, mixed-use project under construction at the site of the former Phil Smart Mercedes dealership.

According to permits, the project’s plans for multiple retail units along the street have been pushed aside in favor of one combined “retail store” in the project. At just over 10,000 square feet, the store would be about half the size of Elliott Bay Book Company, for example, but twice the size of the still-empty OfficeMax that shuttered on Broadway earlier this year. The planned Broadway Whole Foods, on the other hand, will be four times larger than our new, unidentified Pike/Pine retailer.

For your speculating pleasure, 10,400 square feet is plenty of room for an Apple Store which reportedly were averaging around 8,400 square feet of store space a few years back. We have no idea how big a space Uniqlo needs, however.

The AVA Capitol Hill building is slated to open in August 2015.

The future of service in Pike/Pine -- here's what the AVA Capitol Hill will look like

The future of service in Pike/Pine — here’s what the AVA Capitol Hill will look like

They are (probably) not filming Capitol Hill Block Party: The Movie at Lost Lake Cafe


As Pike/Pine teeters into full-on Capitol Hill Block Party preparation mode for the 18th annual edition of the three-day music festival, 10th Ave between Pine and Pike was filled with production trucks and crew for a commercial shoot at Lost Lake Cafe.

According to a *mostly* reliable source, the commercial is for global shoe giant Nike and features beloved Mariner hero Ken Griffey, Jr. We’ll let you postulate on possible scenarios in the comments.

Also, we could be completely wrong so feel free to tell us what you know — or you *think* you know — below.

UPDATE 9/19/14: Here’s the finished product —