With a ‘catarium’ and sheltered friends looking for homes, Neko Cat Cafe coming to the kitty-corner of Belmont and Pine

It’s not every project on Capitol Hill that comes with approval from the health department specifying rules for the “catarium” —

At all times, the designated cat support employee must always remain in the catrium and cat support function areas. This includes when the cat support employee starts and ends his or her shift. The only exception would be to use the restroom located in the café area. The cat support employee is not allowed in the office, scullery area, and the espresso bar. Please provide a locker or equivalent for your cat support employee to accommodate this requirement.

After more than a year of buzz, Neko Cat Cafe has found a Capitol Hill home at Belmont and Pine below the Annapolis Apartments. Here is the announcement from owner Caitlin Unsell:

We came, we hunted, we pounced. NEKO is officially coming to Capitol Hill this summer! That’s right people, it’s time to squad up and get your cat on. We’ve planted our paws on the corner of Pine and Belmont in the heart of Capitol Hill.
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Rapha Seattle opens on Capitol Hill this week

In October of 2013, neighbors enjoyed one final night at Bauhaus inside its original Melrose and Pine location. The only activity at the corner since has involved hard hats and construction crews building the eight-story, preservation incentive-boosted Excelsior Apartments above the old block formerly home to the cafe and a collection of independent shops and a small handful of apartments.

That will change this week as global cycling brand Rapha is ready to debut its latest “clubhouse” retail and cafe concept on the corner:

We’re thrilled to announce the opening of Rapha Seattle on Wednesday, March 22nd at 8AM. Rapha Seattle will offer the latest Rapha products, host events and exhibitions, serve the finest coffee as well as screen live road racing throughout the year. We hope to see you soon.
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ReachNow car service has solved parking in Pike/Pine on a Friday night (for now)

(Image: ReachNow)

(Image: ReachNow)

While it and others like Car2Go bridge the gap to a future of self-driving cars shuttling us between millionaire-tax supported government farming communes and our favorite Capitol Hill craft cocktail bars, ReachNow has also figured out a stopgap solution for its  customers wanting to park its BMWs and Minis in Pike/Pine on a Friday night. The true test? St. Patrick’s Day on a Friday. Here is marketing director Laura Gonia:

We’re live tonight from 6:00pm – 10:00pm. We’ll have music, water and Rancho Bravo tacos for all members who swing through (if you sign up tonight, we’ll give you a taco, too). We’re expecting tonight to be a little busier since more people will be out for St. Paddy’s Day but our team will be moving cars so there’s always a spot.

For now, the ReachNow “dropzone” will only take over Rancho Bravo’s lot on Friday nights through March but Gonia said a longer term solution is “definitely something we’re exploring.” “If it continues to pick up and our members love it, we’ll definitely continue it,” Gonia said.

The BMW-operated service charges $0.41/minute (“reduced from $0.49 for a limited time only”) for driving, and it will cost your $0.30/minute if you just want to sit in your car and “park.” The service also offers flat-rate pricing. ReachNow launched in Seattle with a party on Capitol Hill and has continued to focus its marketing on the neighborhood. Car2Go’s fleet from Daimler AG rolled out in 2012. Both have become a ubiquitous part of the neighborhood’s transit solution — though, for some, the services are not ubiquitous enough with a clear ring of emptiness emerging around the Capitol Hill core around during key commute times. Drivers can park in any legal street parking space, including metered spaces and residential zones. The so-called “car share” companies pay the city permit fees to utilize resources including street parking.

With the push of a button, nuanced Ghost Note Coffee opens on Capitol Hill

Christos Andrews’ quest to do “every little small thing we can to make it better” when it comes to a cup of coffee was celebrated in a grand opening on Bellevue Ave with a Tuesday of demonstrations and a showcase of its fancy pants coffee machine.

Ghost Note Coffee, named for a silent beat with rhythmic value “but no discernible pitch,” is about nuances and raising the bar with custom mugs from a local ceramics maker, collared shirts and uniformed employees, no tipping, fresh herb and citrus garnishes, and “an emphasis on housemade elements borrowed from craft bartending.” Continue reading

Edie’s to close after 17 years as ‘Capitol Hill’s shoe store’

“Capitol Hill’s shoe store” is going out of business. After 17 years — including a classic Capitol Hill two-block move — Edie’s Shoes will close at the end of April.

Saturday, owner Erin Dolan announced her decision to close the shoe shop that has survived nearly twenty years of independent retail on both Pike and Pine. She tells CHS the decision was a personal one as much as anything about the business.

“After all this time, I think I’m just ready to move on to different things in my life,” Dolan said. “I’m ready for new things.” Continue reading

Seattle Central culinary student launches gardening program in the middle of Pike/Pine

IMG_0951Trey Philpot is wearing overalls. He is also merging the gap between biology and culinary students and inviting anybody else who wants to learn about urban gardening to join him at the Seattle Central’s Plant Sciences Lab on Boylston Ave.

Philpot, who grew up gardening in his hometown of Greenville, Alabama, began culinary school at Seattle Central in January. Shortly after starting, he launched Green Thumbs Up as a way to bridge the gap between growing food and cooking it.

“I found out that a lot of culinary students have no gardening experience at all,” Philpot said. “They’re from the city, from a place where that wasn’t something that they did.” Continue reading

Capitol Hill Community Council wants to help Green Your Space

A Seattle Seed Company workshop (Image: Seattle Seed Company)

A Seattle Seed Company workshop (Image: Seattle Seed Company)

One of the ongoing missions of the Capitol Hill Community Council is helping the area foster and manage its growth in the best possible way for the people who live and love the neighborhood.

In March, the council’s monthly gathering will be dedicated to another type of growth — flowers, plants, and gardens for your space “whether your home on 22nd or your studio apartment on Pine.”

Green Your Space will be held at the Capitol Hill Tool Library on Crawford Place the morning of Saturday, March 18th. You can RSVP here.

The event will bloom forth with help from the Seattle Seed Company. CHS wrote here about Sander Kallshian’s shop dedicated to gardening at a smaller, more micro level that moved onto 12th Ave below, yes, microapartments earlier this year.

Capitol Hill Community Council: Green Your Space

First look: the new Neumos and The Runaway

Some 25 years after its birth as Moe’s Mo’Roc’N Café in an old Salvation Army at the corner of 10th and Pike, Neumos showed off the results of its 2017 overhaul with a party Wednesday night.

There is an upgraded sound system and new lighting to keep the club rocking. There is a new life for the old Moe Bar next door. And there are smaller changes — yes, the bathrooms have been redone — and new details like a plaque to honor longtime friend of the club, Jon “Gash” Sanders, who died in 2016 and is remembered as the “Pope of Capitol Hill.”

“Our new sound system will blow you away and possibly is the best in the city,” Neumos talent buyer Steven Severin said in a message to friends about the reopening. Continue reading

Board to hear appeal on East Precinct cop fired for racial bias

The Seattle Police Department’s Discipline Review Board is set to hear an appeal from the former East Precinct cop fired for racial bias in a 2014 Capitol Hill “walking while black” case.

An SPD representative tells CHS that the appeal from the Seattle Police Officers Guild and former officer Cynthia Whitlatch is moving forward and will likely be heard later this month.

Whitlatch was fired in 2015 for “sustained policy violations involving bias, abuse of police discretion, and escalation of a contact” in her July 2014 arrest of William Wingate, a black veteran in his 70s who happens to take very long walks while carrying a golf club, and had a run-in with the veteran officer on a summer day at 12th and Pike just a block from East Precinct headquarters. In 2016, a jury agreed that Wingate’s rights had been violated in a civil case brought against the department.

The appeal will be heard by “a three-member body stacked two-to-one with police officers,” the Stranger’s Ansel Herz wrote when he broke the news on the appeal last summer.

The police union and the Murray administration, meanwhile, continue behind the scenes negotiations on a new contract that is hoped to cap off years of changes under the federal consent decree ordered to overhaul the department in the wake of several excessive force violations by SPD officers.