With a decade of nostalgic style on Capitol Hill, Throwbacks Northwest adapts to changing Seattle

Owner Rialto “Rio” Estolas at Throwbacks Northwest (Image: Andy Yamashita for CHS)

By Andy Yamashita, UW News Lab/Special to CHS

Walk east on Pike, just past 12th Ave and you might miss it.

Tucked away in a small storefront, you can tell you’ve found Throwbacks Northwest from the black door covered in stickers and all the Seattle Supersonics memorabilia that hangs in the window. The sign hanging off the beige building is hard to see if you aren’t sure what to look for.

But for people involved in the streetwear, deadstock, and vintage collection communities, the shop is the stuff of legends.

“A lot of people come here and they ask if we’re hiring,” Shane Cloud, an employee at the store said. “But, it’s kind of like — you get asked to work here, you don’t ask to work here.”

Throwbacks Northwest, owned by Rialto “Rio” Estolas, is currently in its tenth year of business and has been the center for a niche group of people looking for unique ways to express their own style and represent Seattle. They are drawn to the shop because, as Estolas and Cloud say, they offer more than just shoes, snapbacks, and sweatshirts.

“We don’t necessarily sell clothes,” Cloud said. “We sell nostalgia. A lot of this is memories — special memories you know. People remember that game they went to with their dad, and maybe their dad has passed away now. Or they grew up playing Little League and they remember watching Ken Griffey Jr. play.” Continue reading

After starting journey on Capitol Hill, Travelers preparing to serve its final thali

(Image: CHS)

A Capitol Hill-born story of thali, chai, and good karma is coming to an end on Beacon Hill. Travelers, some seven years after it was pushed off E Pine, is shutting down its kitchen.

“We built our restaurant around ‘thali’, and we are proud of what we achieved,” a message from owners Allen Kornmesser and Leon Reed about the closure reads. “When we started serving thali on weekends, cooking in the back of our spice shop and import store on Capitol Hill, nobody else in Seattle was doing it.” Continue reading

Business reps call for support at Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce’s summer safety meeting

The wave of shootings across the Central District that have left a 19-year-old dead and others wounded gained its terrible strength in a shooting weeks ago in March in Capitol Hill’s Cal Anderson where 21-year-old Hakeem Salahud-din was gunned down next to the park’s basketball court.

Police, Mayor Jenny Durkan, and City Council representative Kshama Sawant have focused much of their efforts in the Central District to stem the violence. But gun violence incidents on Broadway and in Pike/Pine, and fears of an increase in street disorder as summer approaches also have the neighborhood’s business community concerned.

Seattle Police Department and mayor’s office representatives spoke earlier this month with Capitol Hill business representatives to discuss crime and street disorder throughout Pike/Pine and along Broadway as summer quickly approaches.

The event, hosted by the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce at Elliott Bay Book Company and moderated by the chamber’s head and District 3 candidate Egan Orion, looked to give locals an opportunity to air grievances and priorities as well as allow the city to give an update on the state of crime in the neighborhood.

SPD East Precinct commander Capt. Bryan Grenon said that in the area there has been a 4-5% reduction in crime overall as of the beginning of the month but crime statistics are ripe for abuse in a community forum. You can look at the latest SPD stats for the East Precinct covering Capitol Hill here on the CHS Crime Dashboard. Beyond the statistics, there has been a spike in violent crime with eleven shootings in 30 days taking place across Capitol Hill and the Central District.

The first area of emphasis in the meeting was the reasoning for a lack of SPD emphasis patrol in Capitol Hill given high crime levels in the area as the Mayor’s office chose seven other neighborhoods instead. Sabrina Bolieu, business liaison for Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office, explained, saying that they were looking for areas with increases in person-on-person crime and Capitol Hill has simply sustained its crime level. Continue reading

Reported knife shoplifter arrested after Broadway stabbing

Crime scene tape blocked off the Broadway at E Pike scene from nightlife crowds early Saturday morning as Seattle Police investigated a stabbing incident in which the suspect was reported to have shoplifted his weapon from the nearby QFC just before the attack.

Police were called to the corner of Broadway and Pike just before 1 AM for a report of a man swinging a knife and causing a disturbance. As they headed to the scene, a report of at least one male stabbed came into 911. Continue reading

Clock is ticking for Pine lot where nightlife crowds like to park — and people keep shooting guns

This parking lot is a goner (Image: King County)

While neighbors around 21st and Union are looking at so-called Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design efforts in addition to the mayor’s plan for curbing gun violence in the Central District, an environmental problem spot at the base of Capitol Hill is on its way to a CPTED solution of a different sort.

Key permits have finally been issued for a project to create an eight-story, 70-unit apartment, and office building on the land currently home to the parking lot near Pine and Melrose that is popular with nightlife crowds but has attracted more than its share of assaults and gun play over the years. Continue reading

Eat Capitol Hill tacos for breakfast

Starting Friday at Good Weather (Image: Good Weather)

Lots of tacos flying around in Capitol Hill food and drink is nothing new. We’re blessed. One great taco joint replaces another, in these parts. Even our bodegas have great tacos. And now you can eat Capitol Hill tacos for breakfast.

Starting this Friday, Good Weatherthe bicycle repair shop and cafe that moved into Chophouse Row in 2017 — is rolling out something it hopes to grow into a big thing: Friday morning tacos — Continue reading

CHS Pics | The 8th annual Pine Box Beer Can Derby

How much does Seattle love beer? Seattle Beer Week is actually 10 days. At Capitol Hill’s chapel to brew the Pine Box, an annual SBW tradition played out Saturday.

The 8th annual Beer Can Derby again brought Boy and Girl Scout level bravery and creative use of glue and graphite to the tracks inside the Melrose beer hall’s breezeway. Continue reading

The daddy of Capitol Hill kink shops, Doghouse Leathers has new home with a lot of history on E Pike

Doghouse Leathers, the Capitol Hill leather and kink institution that started 13 years ago in the bathroom of leather and kink bar The Cuff, finally has a new home. After a 16-month overhaul of the 108-year old former Neal Apartments building, Doghouse Leathers — motto: “Men are pigs, give them what they want” — is back in business in a new storefront space on E Pike.

It might not exactly look like it when you peer through the brand new window displays of the store, but the shop is already open in its new home. For the next couple of weeks, there will probably still be some boxes on the ground, some racks still empty. Jeff “Daddy” Henness, who owns and runs the store with husband Dan “Puppy” Daniels, still has some serious unpacking to do before the shop’s official opening celebration — Father’s Day.

“This gives us time to get everything unpacked and rearrange things at least once,” Henness said during a recent visit, sitting on a folding chair near racks full of pleather boxer shorts and “Nasty Pig” sports underwear. That won’t be easy or quick, considering the store has over 12,000 pairs of underwear, 500 pairs of socks, as many hats, and hundreds of whips, leather harnesses, and sex toys. Continue reading

With Capitol Hill a nirvana of murals, here’s why Kurt Cobain got painted over for Pride on Nagle Place

Kurt Cobain could give a shit about Nagle Place. And walls? Walls change.

“Walls rotate. And if you’ve been in the game long enough, you’ve seen it happen to your own walls,” muralist and street artist Weirdo tells CHS.

You’ve seen his “hyper-real” Weirdocult works all over the Hill, most prominently on the side of Neumos where a regular rotation of new works hype the latest big music release or, recently, new kits for the Seattle Sounders.

The murals are his business and this kind of street work is a growing industry for influencers and marketing. They’re not strictly advertising. To stay clear of the city’s rules about off premise advertising — remember this legendary 12th and Pine ad space? — the depictions don’t include overt commercial messaging and involve imagery and subjects related to the building and the community. The paintings, in the end, become statements and part of the colorful background of Pike/Pine and Broadway.

Mostly, Weirdo’s murals are celebrated for their mix of intense, beyond real colors, and photorealistic depictions of his subjects. Weirdo’s latest work is being wrapped up on one of the newer canvases in the Capitol Hill wall space on the backside of the Hunters Capital-developed Broadway Building, along Nagle Place, facing the popular and usually bustling Cal Anderson skate and sport courts. Continue reading

UMadBro? 119-year-old Capitol Hill garage snubbed for preservation falls onto parked cars during demolition

Capitol Hill’s auto row history is coming down faster than expected.

A 1900-era building left out of the wave of Pike/Pine preservation-boosted development projects surprised a demolition crew and some drivers who are probably now regretful about their parking choices when the old auto row-era garage prematurely collapsed Monday. The Capitol Hill Historical Society wrote about the old UMadBro structure — Union, Madison, and Broadway — here last month to mark the building’s final days.

With demolition underway, the old single-story Complete Automotive Detail garage fell onto a handful of parked cars and across the sidewalk off E Union at 10th Ave around noon. Continue reading