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Capitol Hill food+drink: Regent Cafe & Bakery comes to 14th/Pine, Varro 4 $ale, Ba Bar’s 1st weekend

pastries @ redmond, originally uploaded by ~C4Chaos.

There are times when we can hardly wait for Mondays when we have a juicy little snack of news that we want to tell the Hill about. This is one of those Mondays. Now it can be told…

  • The next chapter in the story of 14th and Pine’s growth as a food+drink zone includes a surprising character. CHS has learned that the buyer of the retail condo that was formerly home to the headquarters of the Online Coffee chain is a family company with experience in the bakery business. In a delicious twist, Golden Jubilate LLC isn’t really about bread and scones, however. We’re talking pork buns and bubble tea.

    According to Teresa Loh, owner of the Eastside’s legendary Regent Cafe and Bakery, she’s gearing up for a new Capitol Hill location — hopefully, by November. “We are Asian style, made fresh every day,” Loh tells us. Loh says the new Capitol Hill Regent will be true to the original’s roots but more upscale — and more boozy.”We want to be like Capitol Hill. Redmond is different,” Loh said. Regent’s 14th and Pine cafe will have a liquor license. It will also, like its sister, serve Chinese dishes like salted fish diced chicken hot pot and chow fun with barbecue pork as well as sweet treats, tea and beloved cakes. Story goes that the guys from Valve Software were such fans that they incorporated one of Regent’s cakes into their popular Portal game.

    According to county records, Loh’s company paid $618,000 for the 3,000 square-foot foreclosed 14th and Pine Braeburn building retail unit. She says she is still getting to know the neighborhood where she’ll be caddy corner to foodie hotspot Spinasse and its little buddy Artusi. “Many people have told us [that] Capitol Hill is a popular destination,” Loh said.

  • Meanwhile, a block south on 14th Ave, we talked to Alex Meza again last week after our latest update on the arrest of the man who had been planned to buy the Meza restaurant. Like we reported, Meza told us that he’s planning to keep the restaurant open. He wanted us to know, he said, that he was in the process of working out a new business license with the city. As of Monday morning, nothing is on file for the business yet. Also, still no charges filed against Mario Villegas.
  • We talked to Nick Woell, the former Online Coffee Co. employee now running his own Online Cafe business on E Olive Way.
  • Only three months after opening on 12th Ave and the expenditure of a $160,000+ construction budget, the investors behind highly concepted Varro are looking to sell. “Hospitality entrepreneur” Glenn Walker confirmed to CHS this morning that the Italian style lounge is being shopped. Last week, Varro was shut for days for renovations according to their Twitter feed. A Varro rep told us over the weekend that the closure was for “changes in the kitchen.” Walker didn’t confirm the asking price — we’re told by another local restaurant owner it’ll cost you a cold hard $20,000. “We hope to get this right and then open more,” backer Rich Troiani told us in April. Plans change. UPDATE: Walker says we have the price tag wrong — we’re hoping to hear back from him with an accurate price. UPDATE x2: Walker says the business is for sale for $150,000.
  • Reading the first weekend of Tweets from @BaBarSeattle is kind of a hoot. Basically, the new 12th Ave noodle shop was slammed for its first weekend of business. That explains — and forgives — tweets like this: “Sorry, change of plans. Breakfast is off until next week. We are out of both food and man power. Dinner will be served again at 5PM.” Fun times!
  • A Square Meal pops up at Volunteer Park Cafe Monday night. Next one is July 25th. Every other Monday, got it?
  • Eater Seattle says Grubwich is due to open any week now. Also, Lil Woody’s (we’re visiting this week) and Blue Moon coming soon.
  • We love following Oola’s progress via their Facebook posts. Here’s a look at their bottles.
  • Tiki party at Liberty?
  • North Broadway’s Cafe Kanape says it has the city’s best sangria. Discuss.
  • Yogurtland is responsible for amazing creations but sounds like Old School draws a pretty good late-night crowd when YL shuts down (relatively) early on the weekends. Molly Moon’s line pretty much never goes away. And there’s always Bluebird
  • Whoopie Pie Bake-Off II at Oddfellows on Tuesday.
  • Slog says Cure “an excellent idea.”
  • Tamara Murphy is upgrading the kitchen at the 10th Ave Elliott Bay Cafe.
  • Pike/Pine’s Vermillion has applied for a permit for sidewalk seating. Pagliacci Broadway, too.
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13 thoughts on “Capitol Hill food+drink: Regent Cafe & Bakery comes to 14th/Pine, Varro 4 $ale, Ba Bar’s 1st weekend” -- All CHS Comments are held for moderation before publishing

  1. Clearly what makes this cafe special is the more relaxed pace, super food, especially the strawberry crape, nice-sized wine pours and also the great service. It’s at the North end of Broadway where it splits and is on the east side of the brick building. A must visit for Happy Hour!

  2. oh man, an asian bakery so close to home is pretty dangerous. nice to see a couple more chinese restaurant choices popping up in the neighborhood (not that I don’t love pho and teriyaki, but y’know..)

  3. even with the corrected price of $150K, that seems like a steal after the $160K buildout.

    Seems like a bad sign that the owners would be looking to unload so soon after opening – makes me think either the business really didn’t take off well and is hemorraging $$, or it was always set up to flip, although I can’t see the upside to the sellers if the numbers are correct. Do they own the space?

  4. I don’t know….based on the description of “more upscale — and more boozy”, I doubt it’ll be like any of those tasty & cheap little joints in the ID. I wish somebody WOULD open a cheap Asian bakery/deli on CapHill. Especially the “cheap” part. I think we’re pretty well set for ‘upscale’ places, no? That’s been done, and then some.

  5. just what we need is another “upscale” restaurant over here.
    it feels like so many parts of this city are quickly becoming overpriced.

  6. A failing restaurant with a crazy build out is never a steal. Bet they’re bleeding 30k a month. Sorry to see them fail, its hard to get it right, that’s why only 1 in five, make it.

  7. @ a neighbor – that’s what I meant. The price being less than the build out means the place is in serious trouble.

    I guess it could be considered a steal if someone came in and was able to use the buildout but somehow overhaul the concept.

  8. Nah, best not to take over another operators mistakes. Closing on weekend like they did last week is a very very bad sign. I don’t care if the kitche has burned to the ground, a successful operator will find a way to get the doors open. Remodel? Not buying it.

    When they finally run the well dry and the doors close the owner of the building will lease the space to someone else, not for 150k, but for the price of rent.

  9. Varro’s owners are selling cause rich troiani left to go to san diego or somewhere. the money owners don’t run restaurants so they are getting rid of it or finding a new partner to run it whichever comes first. viva italia

  10. I’ve been to Kanape more than a few times during happy hour and have to say it really does seem to be a hidden gem, because it’s usually not that busy. The service has always been good when I’ve been there and their happy hour specials are really great, especially on Saturday’s when their sangria has been on the happy hour menu for $4 a glass.