Off Capitol Hill’s beaten path, Chico Madrid shutters — UPDATE: Fuel pops up

(Image: CHS)

Your last chance to enjoy the sangria machine is this weekend (Image: CHS)

UPDATE: We wondered about this — Turns out, the old Chico Madrid space will stay in motion. Dani Cone’s Fuel Coffee is “popping up” in the space starting Tuesday with coffee and pastries. Hours will be 7 AM to 2 PM. Beer and wine may be in the offing.

Original report: Despite experienced Capitol Hill backers and a lovely home in one of Capitol Hill’s most interesting apartment developments, Spanish-accented cafe Chico Madrid will close this weekend after only one year of business on Bellevue Ave E.

CHS has not heard back from the project’s backers which included coffee and pie entrepreneur Dani Cone and a recent infusion of energy and cash from the team at Marination, Kamala Saxton and Roz Edison. Cone’s Fuel and High Five Pie and Marination Station are CHS advertisers.

UPDATE: Here’s a statement on the closure sent to CHS:

“Chico Madrid will always be a special place and we are so grateful to all of those who embraced the concept, our staff and [our] neighbors. At this time however, we’ve decided to focus our efforts and energy elsewhere.” -Jacob Daley, founding member of Chico Madrid

A message was posted to Facebook about the planned closure earlier this week:

Friends – with heavy hearts, we must tell you that Chico Madrid will be closing its doors this Sunday, April 13th. It has been a remarkable year full of devoted regulars, welcoming press and kind neighbors, however we just haven’t reached a sustainable level of business. But we LOVE Chico Madrid and we want all of you to have one last chance to enjoy our delicious food and warm spirit before we close. Please join us this week – we’d love to see you to say thank you.

Chico Madrid was born in spring of 2013 with Cone teaming up with Jacob Daley and Franz Gilbertson of Ballard’s Honore Bakery. At the time, Daley told CHS his travels in Spain — and the bocadillo sandwich — inspired the new creation. “There were mom and pop cafes with a ubiquitous sandwich,” he said. “Really high quality ingredients but simple.”

The 800 square-foot cafe was resident in the commercial suite built as part of the preservation and development Belroy Apartments project created by Point32, the developers also behind the Bullitt Center. While the residents of the new and 80-year-old old wings of the building were a built-in customer base for Chico Madrid, the cafe was apparently too far away from the Hill’s more traveled areas to draw enough customers to survive. Earlier this year, CHS reported on the effort from Marination to revive the cafe and introduce cocktails and new energy to the space. It apparently was too little, too late — though we haven’t heard back yet about what is next for the partnership that had formed around Chico Madrid.

Whatever is next for the space, backers of a new project might want to check in with the folks at nearby The Lookout as the bar has hung in there over the years – and with a change of ownership — as a neighborhood watering hole on a far-flung edge of Capitol Hill.

Connector ‘running as usual’ following attention-grabbing Capitol Hill protest

Tuesday's SPD presence on Bellevue (Image: @audrey_leigh)

Tuesday’s SPD presence on Bellevue (Image: @audrey_leigh)

After a surprise anti-gentrification protest blocked the buses for a short time to start the work week, Seattle Police cruisers were on hand Tuesday near Microsoft Connector stops on Capitol Hill.

The Connector system is running as usual, a company spokesperson told CHS Tuesday.

The police presence came after two protesters unfurled a banner and handed out flyers Monday morning while blocking the corporate shuttles — and a few public buses — on Bellevue at Pine. “The Microsoft Connector bus is an active agent in the hyper-gentrification of Capitol HIll and other rapidly transforming Seattle neighborhoods,” the flyers read.

The Microsoft Connector includes 22 routes with 74 busses total in the Puget Sound region. Around 250 passengers ride each day from Capitol Hill to Redmond/Bellevue. Those busses average about 70% capacity, according to the company. In total, the Connector serves about 3,000 people per day. According to Microsoft, 65% of those who ride the connector drove to work alone prior to the system’s availability.

In San Francisco, protests against corporate shuttle systems have grown into a significant political issue and occasional public safety threat. So far, Seattle’s incident seems more like a well calculated publicity stunt. The attention it generated has been significant — for example, Monday’s visitor total for CHS was the second highest daily total in the last 12 months and the post was linked to from sites including the Seattle Times, New York Times, Cnet, The Verge and the SF Chronicle, to name a few. “Google bus” protests spread to Seattle, the Chronicle headlined their take on the incident. We shall see.

(Image: Tides of Flame)

(Image: Tides of Flame)

Meanwhile, as the Microsoft transportation system appeared to not miss a beat on Tuesday, another protest action targeted a different tech giant and changing Seattle neighborhood. “Train blockaded at Amazon HQ,” boasted this post at the Tides of Flame site explaining that the latest protest targeted the Seattle-based online retail and services company for its work with the Central Intelligence Agency. “This new data cloud will help the CIA coordinate their massacres, assassinations, and terrorism across the planet,” the unidentified protesters wrote.

Two days of anti-corporate protest activities with similar MOs might have you wondering what’s next.

Hearing on SPD shooting of Capitol Hill man begins Tuesday

Seattle homicide reenacting the position and view of SWAT sniper Geohagan (Image: SPD)

Seattle homicide reenacting the position and view of SWAT sniper Jeff Geohagan, who fatally shot Joel Reuter. (Image: SPD)

Ten minutes before he would be shot and killed by Seattle Police Department snipers on the morning of July 5th, 2013, Joel Reuter wrapped himself in a rainbow flag while holding a handgun inside his Capitol Hill apartment. Earlier that morning, neighbors had called 911 saying they heard gunshots come from Reuter’s window.

The details surrounding Reuter’s eight hour stand-off with police have been documented in a 900-page SPD inquest, recently obtained by CHS. While the fact-finding investigation chronicles much of what happened on the day of Reuter’s death, police investigators did not make any judgements on the SWAT team’s use of force.

Whether or not officers were justified in killing Reuter will be decided in a three-day hearing starting Tuesday. The inquest and hearing are part of the standard investigations following SPD officer involved shootings. Continue reading

Team Marination ready to bring cocktails and more to Bellevue Ave’s Chico Madrid

(Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

Here’s the deal. The Internet says pineapples were brought to Hawaii from Spain in 1813. So there’s a connection. Despite Madrid’s distance from Oahu, the folks behind Marination Station are getting behind Chico Madrid, the less-than-year-old Spanish-style cafe inside the modern wing of the Belroy Apartments project on Bellevue Ave E.

“We want it to stay true to its Spanish roots,” Marination mogul Kamala Saxton tells CHS about the opportunity. Saxton said that she and Roz Edison have been planning a venture like Chico Madrid to expand their current empire of island-styled food and drink spots and mobile food truck business. The news that the team behind Chico Madrid was looking for new partners came just in time.

1518500_581385221950674_1497063087_oThe biggest change will be the new Chico Madrid’s plans to feature a full bar. Saxton says you can also expect to see more event dining opportunities at the cafe as well as a ramped-up catering effort.

Chico Madrid opened last March in the redeveloped Belroy featuring Spanish-style sandwiches and Iberian delights like sangria on tap in a cozy 800 or so square-foot space. Outside stands a giant cedar tree dwarfed only by the six-story building. Fuel Coffee and High 5 Pie owner Dani Cone teamed up with Jacob Daley and Franz Gilbertson of Ballard’s Honore Bakery to make it happen. Cone has since also been part of the all-star cast that financed and opened 19th and Mercer’s Cone & Steiner general store.

Marination Station, meanwhile, debuted in spring 2011 above Pike and Broadway and gave the Marination team its first permanent Capitol Hill presence.

Marination Station and High 5 Pie are CHS advertisers.

Saxton says she is joining Chico Madrid’s ownership at a good time to help make the little cafe an even bigger part of the neighborhood.

“We love the space. Dani and Jacob have done the leg work,” Saxton said. “Now we can deepen our roots.”

Chico Madrid is located at 711 Bellevue Ave E. You can learn more at chicomadrid.com.