Grandfather of Capitol Hill Thai, Ayutthaya celebrates 30 year on E Pike

Owner Pai Boon and AJ at Ayutthaya (Image: Grace Qian)

Owner Pai Boon and AJ at Ayutthaya (Image: Grace Qian)

02By Grace Qian — UW News Lab/Special for CHS

Ayutthaya, one of the first Thai restaurants ever on Capitol Hill, is preparing to celebrate a milestone 30th birthday this year.

Pai Boon, the current owner of Ayutthaya and Bangkok native, attributes the restaurant’s popularity to its location and its early start on Thai cuisine in Seattle in the 1980s.

“When we opened, there were not that many Thai restaurants and the people at that time didn’t know about Thai food,” said Boon. “From then on to now, a lot of people know about Thai food.”

Named after an ancient Siamese kingdom, the E Pike at Harvard restaurant has been around long enough to see a robust dining district grow up around it. Continue reading

Blotter | Valentine’s brawl outside Rhino Room

See something others should know about? Email CHS or call/txt (206) 399-5959. You can view recent CHS Crime coverage here.

  • Club fight: A female victim suffered a minor facial injury and a male victim was knocked unconscious in an assault reported late on Valentine’s outside the Rhino Room at 11th and Pine. We’re not sure exactly how to explain what played out but the report seems to describe an altercation between a group of women and two males that got turned up a notch when two more guys intervened and started throwing punches. Here’s how one victim reported the melee began:
    Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 4.14.45 PMRhino Room security described a scene when two new people showed up out of nowhere and started punching: Continue reading

Pike/Pine business owners bemoan ‘culture clash,’ construction impacts as Mayor Murray tours neighborhood

(Images: Bryan Cohen/CHS)

These days, most Capitol Hill business owners can point to at least two or three giant cranes above — and two or three construction projects directly impacting their business in some way. Neighborhood growth hasn’t come without growing pains. Mayor Ed Murray got an earful about those effects and the impact of the area’s growing nightlife economy from a handful of business owners during a little publicized Monday evening stroll through Pike/Pine.

The issues raised during the scheduled meet-and-greet probably won’t come as a surprise anyone living on Capitol Hill, but it gave business owners an opportunity to speak directly with the mayor on home turf. Continue reading

Company’s new Capitol Hill headquarters will be bike shop + training facility + cafe

HSP hopes its new Capitol Hill facility will appeal to more than hardcore cyclists (Image: HSP)

HSP hopes its new Capitol Hill facility will appeal to more than hardcore cyclists (Image: HSP)

(Images: HSP) 

The E Union backside of Pike/Pine will continue its rapid transformation as a one of a kind bicycling and athlete training center and retailer makes plans to open its ambitious new headquarters on the street.

Construction is gearing up to begin on the new Herriott Sports Performance facility in the 4,400 square-foot former E Union home of Lifelong Thrift. The goal, founder Todd Herriott tells CHS, is to be open and hosting viewing parties by the time the 2015 Tour de France begins in July.

“We’re really excited to be in the neighborhood and have more visibility,” Herriott said.

HSP has operated its “Pro Shop” near Seattle Pacific University since 2009 and has grown into a business focused on the “lifestyle experience for athletes,” Herriott said, with trainers and workout equipment along with HSP’s cycle and repair shop.

Herriott is ready for a major expansion on E Union that will add to the elements he will move from West Nickerson and, he hopes, expand the base of athletes HSP appeals to.

“We consider everybody a high performance athlete,” Herriott said. “We think of ourselves as performance consultants.” Continue reading

Mount Zion campaign party, Capitol Hill cafes targeted in #blacklivesmatter protests

(Image: @local_maxima via Twitter)

(Image: @local_maxima via Twitter)

Protesters targeted a Saturday night campaign kickoff and Sunday morning brunches around Capitol Hill in a series of actions inspired by the #blacklivesmatter movement.

Saturday, a small group drew a huge police response to 19th and Madison’s Mount Zion Baptist Church when the protest group attempted to disrupt the campaign launch party for King County Council member and noted Seattle black leader Larry Gossett. Gossett, whose district includes Capitol Hill and the Central District, joined the rest of the county council earlier this month in unanimously approving an ordinance to build a new youth detention center at 12th and Alder. Continue reading

Clouded downtown venture a rare dark spot as star Capitol Hill chef Stratton exits Spinasse

Stratton on a construction tour as Spinasse was prepared for expansion -- and its new little sister, Artusi

Stratton on a construction tour of the Spinasse expansion and its new little sister, Artusi

A fashionable Capitol Hill chef at the top of his culinary game is leaving the 14th Ave food and drink scene he helped create and a downtown venture that will partly cloud his exit.

“After leading Spinasse to great popular and critical acclaim over the course of six years, Jason Stratton has decided to move on to explore new opportunities,” an announcement sent by the public relations firm representing Spinasse, its sister bar Artusi, and downtown’s Vespolina read. “Jason will assist the staff in the transition for the next few weeks.”

The timing of the announcement has been a story unto itself in Seattle food and drink media outlets. “The announcement is particularly shocking considering Stratton was just announced as a James Beard Award semifinalist for Best Chef: Northwest for his work at Spinasse,” the Seattle outlet of the national Eater chain noted. Seattle Met reported Stratton is planning to travel in Spain before returning, presumably, to his longtime home turf on Capitol Hill.

Screen Shot 2015-02-22 at 2.58.15 PMBut Stratton is also faced with a nearly $90,000 judgement from a lawsuit brought last year by Dolan Built as the construction company fought in court for thousands of dollars it said it was owed for the buildout of Stratton’s downtown restaurant project. Continue reading

New Spacefinder helps *find* *space* for arts… and more around Capitol Hill (Plus, we found Caps for Slats)

Looking for a space you can rent by the hour on Capitol Hill? Here's a start

Looking for a space you can rent by the hour on Capitol Hill? Here’s a start

One of the big challenges for creating a thriving Capitol Hill Arts District? Finding spaces to meet, work, and perform that are accessible to artists and community groups. The Seattle Office of Arts and Culture has rolled out a new tool to help. Spacefinder Seattle is “a database that will eventually include every rental space in the region that’s available to artists, and arts and cultural organizations” —

The site’s database includes presentation spaces, such as theaters, galleries, cinemas, and museums, and the relatively invisible artists’ creative spaces, such as studios, rehearsal rooms, and offices. There will be event spaces, meetings spaces, and even raw retail and warehouse spaces for lease. The site is launching with approximately 200 spaces, and will grow over time. Spacefinder Seattle allows artists to search the database by dozens of variables, including price and availability. There are no fees associated with using the site, which is underwritten by the City’s Office of Arts & Culture. It is envisioned as a tool to connect artists and arts organizations to available spaces for development, rehearsal, or presentation of their work, and encourage the regional artspace marketplace.

10661931_10154826244120008_6929457198356361607_oYou can check out the listings at The office is also working to promote “the economic activity generated by arts and cultural activities, and educates citizens, property owners, and developers on the importance of the arts to property values and neighborhood character,” an announcement of the new tool reads.

One venue not on the Spacefinder map is CHS advertiser the Comet Tavern but that’s where we found a piece of “lost” Capitol Hill art. Turns out, Caps for Slats, the bottle cap mural of the Pike/Pine character, found a home inside the E Pike bar. Last year, we reported on the mostly organic plans for many of the pieces found on the Sound Transit “Big Red” construction wall once the barrier starts coming down. A Sound Transit spokesperson tells CHS the wall art belongs to the artists. “In Slats case, Cameron Larson, the artist, no longer lives in the area and didn’t have a way to move it,” the spokesperson said. “We made sure he was OK with it going to The Comet when that came up as an option.” Comet co-owner Dave Meinert said he was “psyched” to be approached about the piece. “Slats was a regular,” he said.

“It’s another bit of local history in what’s becoming the local historical tavern,” Meinert said.


Wildrose owners, Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence selected as 2015 Pride Grand Marshals

Mainstays of Capitol Hill culture, community, and nightlife will be honored this summer during the 41st annual Seattle Pride Parade. Organizers have announced that Wildrose owners Martha Manning and Shelley Brothers will join The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Abbey of St. Joan as the 2015 parade’s official grand marshals.

“The Wildrose is a cherished business that has given the LGBTQ community a safe place to congregate here in Seattle,” Seattle Pride President Eric Bennett said in an announcement of the honor. “Current owners Martha and Shelly personify what Seattle Pride identifies as part of the Lifetime of Pride!”

The Sisters, meantime, are being recognized for their charity work and fundraising along with their nearly ubiquitous presence at LGBTQ community events on Capitol Hill and across the city.

The full announcement of the grand marshal selection is below. Continue reading

Serious car vs. scooter crash closes Pike — UPDATE

(Image: Doug McLaughlin with permission to CHS)

(Image: Doug McLaughlin with permission to CHS)

Pike was blocked in all directions Wednesday night following a reported car vs. scooter collision that we are told resulted in serious injuries for the rider.

SPD and Seattle Fire have not released official updates on the incident yet but the investigation has continued into the night at the scene on Pike just above Boren near the new Starbucks roastery. Continue reading

Public Bikes comes to Capitol Hill, taking over former Black Coffee space on E Pine

Here’s a vignette of retail today on Capitol Hill: An anarchist cafe closes and a stylish, San Francisco-based bicycle shop takes its place. CHS has learned that Public is opening its first Seattle location at the E Pine and Summit space formerly occupied by Black Coffee Co-op.

With the ink barely dry on the lease, Public’s head of sales and marketing Dan Nguyen-Tan told CHS he expects the shop to open this spring.

“We looked at several neighborhoods and Capitol Hill was always at the top of the list,” he said. “It’s central, bike friendly, and we love that our location is along the Pine Street corridor.”

The shop will primarily focus on selling and servicing Public bikes, but Nguyen-Tan said some general repair services will be offered depending on the amount of parts the store can stock. Continue reading

CHS Pics | As Seattle’s parking ‘vanishes,’ a small solution on E Pike

One thing that gets overlooked in much of the talk about bro culture “taking over” Pike/Pine: These kids are young. But maybe not quite this young.

This excellent E Pike parking job in front of the Cha Cha was reported Saturday night by the observant folks at The Wildrose. Given Seattle’s ongoing optimization of its streets, you may want to consider a similar ride. At least they didn’t have to Zirx it. Continue reading

Chophouse Row lines up mobile tech company Glympse for Pike/Pine marketplace + office development

(Image: Dunn + Hobbes)

(Image: Dunn + Hobbes)

glympseIOSTech backlash or no, startups have and will continue to make Capitol Hill their home. One new building preparing to open in Pike/Pine appears to have landed exactly what its developer was looking for in creating a mixed-use project just off E Pike with a focus on office space, not apartments.

Glympse, a Seattle-based mobile technology startup currently making its home in South Lake Union, is making plans to bring its employees to Capitol Hill with 10,000 square feet of office space in the upper levels of Liz Dunn’s nearly complete Chophouse Row development.

Dunn told CHS she cannot comment on tenants in the preservation and development project and Glympse hasn’t returned our messages from earlier this week but early plans on file with the city show preparations to construct a two-level office for the startup on the third floor of the 11th Ave project between Pike and Union that is combining an old auto row-era structure with new construction to create a Melrose Market-like marketplace at street level with office space above. Continue reading

Paintings from Capitol Hill nightlife owner colored with creativity, sobriety

(Image: CHS)

Portrait of the artist as a Pike/Pine club owner (Image: CHS)


After spending the better part of 20 years putting on music shows, including the biggest annual show on Capitol Hill, Jason Lajeunesse will be stepping into some new territory on Thursday. This month marks three years since the prolific Capitol Hill food and nightlife owner chose to live sober, and he’s commemorating the occasion with a show of original paintings.

ECHOES: Paintings by Jason Lajeunesse will premier Thursday at Ghost Gallery in conjunction with February’s Capitol Hill Art Walk. An artist reception will run from 5 PM to 9 PM at the E Olive and Summit space and the pieces will remain on display and on sale through March 9th.

Lajeunesse’s abstract, mixed-media art span two years of work, including one piece he finished just this week. Inspiration for the paintings began in 2012 when a newly sober Lajeunesse took a trip to Europe to rekindle his connection to visual art. “I wanted life to be bigger,” he said. Continue reading

Attention Pike/Pine lovers: Castle announces its plans for E Pike move

B9mHCAnIcAAatYJThe Arizona-based “megastore” chain known for mass-merchandising lube and nipple clamps still hasn’t confirmed our report but the sign doesn’t lie. Broadway’s Castle sex store is leaving Capitol Hill’s main drag for a new berth on E Pike in a former tattoo shop.

Sandwiched between the Wildrose and Bimbos, the buildout is in the early stages of the new 2,000 square-foot store. In November, the new Out of the Closet thrift store and the new home AHF Pharmacy joined Lifelong in a new retail, health, and office facility across the street from where Castle is readying its new home. Around the corner, longtime Pike/Pine purveyor of kink The Crypt still lurks. Down E Pike, Babeland celebrated its 20th anniversary on the Hill in 2013. Meanwhile, Doghouse Leathers is expanding on upper E Pike.

Castle joins a thriving and sometimes tumultuous Pike/Pine nightlife economy still coming to grips with the Woo! Girl and what feels like an influx of not always sensitive new visitors.

CHS reported on the planned move in December after the retailer’s management had toyed with an on again, off again move from its longtime Broadway home citing public safety issues on Broadway and the poor maintenance of Castle’s building.

Broadway, meanwhile, will need to deal with another gaping retail hole after the OfficeMax chain confirmed it is closing its Capitol Hill location after only one year of business.

‘Never park’ on Capitol Hill again? Zirx on-demand valet service expands to Pike/Pine

IMG_4376Now that we have mostly displaced poor people from Capitol Hill (you just be quiet Jon Grant), it’s time to start reaping our service rewards. You’ll never have to park on Capitol Hill again — or, at least, on parts of it. Zirx has arrived.

Quietly, the “on-demand,” roaming valet service has rolled up the Hill to expand its Seattle service area beyond its South Lake Union test.

Here’s what Geekwire had to say about it:

Here’s how it works. You designate a pick-up location on Zirx’s app, and 5-to-7 minutes later, an agent shows up at your car. He or she will drive your car to a secure parking facility that the company has partnered with. When you want your car again, you select a location and an agent will bring your vehicle there.

Zirx pays parking garage operators to rent space it needs to store vehicles. In case of an accident, Zirx has a $1 million insurance policy for the vehicle itself, and a $1 million policy for the agent, who is also screened for driving records and background checks.

“Never park again,” Zirx promises. The cost? $15 for the day.

The start-up hasn’t announced the expanded service and hasn’t yet responded to our request for more information. We found out about the new area of service when we were talking with the folks from the Cafe Juanita pop-up staying on 12th Ave for the next six months. You can save on your Zirx pick-up, apparently, with code: “juanita”

Zirx says it tries but doesn’t promise a response to calls via its mobile app within five minutes. You can now expect to get stuck behind the “I’m waiting for Zirx” guy in addition to the epic line of taxi cabs in front of Rhein Haus on 12th Ave.

Despite improvements in availability thanks to expanded pay parking areas and hours, many consider parking on Capitol Hill on a Friday or Saturday night its own kind of special hell. $15 to hand it over to a Zirx valet and be done with it will probably feel like a bargain. And hey, all you wealthy party people who enjoy alcohol, for another $15, you can leave your car overnight.

You can learn more at