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Capitol Hill food+drink notes: Bako’s north Broadway plans, Dine out for Life, Artusi coming soon

Spring break is over, kids. Time to get back to the grueling work of collecting weekly food + drink notes on Capitol Hill. Got a tip? chs@capitolhillseattle.com, please.

  • Keeman Wong is about to push north Broadway over the edge, bringing a third independent, one-of-a-kind, high-end restaurant to this end of the busy street and, possibly, making the intersection with Roy a Seattle foodie destination.

    “I’m aware this could possibly set the tone for this end of the neighborhood,” Wong said. “I’m in awe of what’s happening here and the changes.”



    Wong hopes Bako, his vision of Cantonese cuisine, can join as a triumvirate with restaurants like Olivar and Poppy already establishing serious culinary reputations in the neighborhood. “This will be more more modern Cantonese cooking but fortunately the tradition is very much in line with modern values. Local sourcing. Doing the minimum to the food you have to do to bring out the flavors. A better balance of meat and vegetables,” Wong said.

    Though his life took him far from the kitchen for many years, the Capitol Hill resident knows traditional Chinese food. His grandparents and his parents made their lives in Vancouver’s famed Asian restaurant scene operating multiple places in the Pender/Main mix. “This is the last thing they would want me to do,” Wong says. “I want to create what I think real Cantonese food is.”

    When Wong opens Bako — plans, he says, target this fall —  he will also be bringing a space to life with some legendary Broadway — and, yes, Chinese — roots. “I would love to get in touch with the family from the Jade Pagoda,” Wong said. “I hope they can be part of the opening or to see what we could preserve.”

    Wong said the look of Bako will be modern. “Not Jestons but not red lanterns, either,” he said. He said he has spent more trying to make the design as sustainable and as green as possible and to preserve as much of the old building as he can including a section of the Pagoda’s dome ceiling and a brick wall he had to haggle with the city over due to rules around energy conservation.

    Wong said his project is trying to hold on to whatever pieces of the old Pagoda can, safely, be part of the new space. DPD records show the build-out with a $300,000+ construction budget. We wrote about some of the previous rehab work on the building here.

    One sure nod to the Jade Pagoda — or, really, a response to it — will be the drinks. Wong says his years working in family restaurants have inspired him to open a Chinese restaurant with good cocktails. For a change. “We’re talking lots of bad white wine,” Wong said of the typical liquor experience in one of his family’s restaurants in the past. Now, Wong is working with a mixologist and has hopes to showcase some of the new wave of local spirits in the area. And, yes, there will likely be a drink named after the Jade Pagoda.

    Bako, Wong tells us, is Cantonese for White Beach Peach. He chose it, he said, as an antidote to the conventional wisdom of Chinese restaurant names. “This is not a regular Chinese restaurant,” Wong said. “I wanted a place that I would want to go.”

  • Seattle restaurants are doing their part for Thursday’s annual Dine out for Life. We count 36 venues on the Hill including a few daytime and coffee shop options. Proceeds benefit Lifelong AIDS Alliance.
  • Sign at Spinasse’s expansion says their bar addition Artusi will be ready “late May.”
  • Capitol Hill man is promoter behind the Othello international market.
  • Pretty picture of a plate from Broadway’s Tacos Chukis.
  • The bar is now open at Northwest Film Forum.
  • Capitol Hill espresso: Many “mediocre” shots.
  • Surely no mediocre shots when Congressman McDermott shows up for a meet and greet in May at Caffe Vita.
  • Why the chef from Crush was hanging out at the 15th/John Safeway last Friday.
  • Bimbos and the Cha Cha (a CHS advertiser) are getting ready to celebrate their 16th birthday on Cinco de Mayo. Yes, you may feel old now.
  • Something you might have missed. We look at real-world implications of recent changes with the Seattle Nightlife Initiative.
  • CHS recently lauded Marination Station (opened on Friday!) as “the first of the Seattle street food scene to bring its offerings to a brick and mortar location.” Commenter says, hey, what about Rancho Bravo? Fair point.
  • Volunteer Park Cafe DPD Meeting: The community meeting to discuss the cafe’s change of use application with the City of Seattle is Monday night at nearby Stevens Elementary.
  • Bonus Item: Chapel just posted this celebrity picture to Facebook from a recent visit

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9 thoughts on “Capitol Hill food+drink notes: Bako’s north Broadway plans, Dine out for Life, Artusi coming soon

  1. Bako sounds great as there are not many Chinese restaurants on Broadway. It would be nice if there was a selection of vegetarian dishes. Because we vegetarians would like to eat there!

  2. Thanks for the nice coverage, Justin! Your iPhone may have mistyped the translation. It stands for “white peach.” :) Look forward to joining the neighborhood!

  3. it would be great to have a cantonese-chinese option that isn’t a fusion of teriyaki/panda express. in other words, something that potentially is set at a slightly higher price point but provides better quality & less “greasy spoon.” for once i’d love to see a chinese restaurant that doesn’t offer neon-orange chicken or teriyaki-insertmeatoptionhere.

  4. Am I the only person wondering what Jodie Foster was doing at Chapel? Just enjoying herself in Seattle?