Neighbors around Bellevue and Mercer received an intriguing land use notice recently:
Land Use Application to change the use of an existing multipurpose retail, sales and service (store) to restaurant.
That existing multipurpose retail, sales and service (store)? That’s Harry’s Fine Foods — or, at least, the two-story building the grocery store called home before clearing out earlier this year.
The restaurant? That’s the most intriguing part.
CHS has learned that one of the biggest behind-the-scene names in Seattle food+drink is behind the Capitol Hill restaurant project involving a secret chef and an ambitious buildout set to transform the old neighborhood bodega into a new culinary destination.
Harry’s Fine Foods, LLC, a company run by real estate broker to Seattle’s food and drink stars, Laura Miller, purchased the property in the summer of 2014 for $560,000 according to county records. Miller “wields great power within Seattle’s close-knit restaurant community because she helps chefs navigate the abstrusely touchy process of securing a restaurant space,” as Seattle Met put it in a profile of the real estate pro last year. We’re not aware of any previous instances (on Capitol Hill, at least), where Miller stepped up and bought a property destined for food and drink transformation. But we also haven’t had a chance to speak with her. The busiest woman in Seattle’s food business can be difficult to connect with. We’ll keep trying. UPDATE: Miller tells CHS the building is the fourth such that she’s developed in Seattle — but first on Capitol Hill.
“It’s just too competitive up there,” the real estate ace said.
Miller said she likes to find candidates to rehab, not tear down. She pointed to a property in Greenwood now home to a Caffe Vita, Blue Bird Ice Cream, and Cornuto as an example.
We did connect with the chef all of this fuss and hullabaloo is about, however. Continue reading