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Princes of Pike/Pine tapped to take over longtime Canterbury space

(Images: CHS)

(Images: CHS)

The Capitol Hill Block Party is coming to 15th Ave E.

Capitol Hill Housing announced Wednesday that it is working out a lease with business partners David Meinert and Jason Lajeunesse for taking over the longtime home of The Canterbury at 15th Ave E and E Mercer in the nonprofit housing developer’s Fredonia building.

CHS reported on the end of the run for the 37-year-old dive bar earlier this year as longtime Canterbury owners Stefanie and David Roberge announced they could not afford to make a bid to remain in the space after their current 10-year lease draws to a close at the end of 2013. Faced with community concern about losing the relatively affordable watering hole, the nonprofit housing developer issued “a limited Request for Proposals” to restaurateurs who expressed interest with the goal of maintaining the space as a food and drink establishment — “a comfortable, accessible, third place” suitable for “a variety of income levels.”

Meinert and Lajeunesse are longtime players in the Capitol Hill entertainment economy. While Lajeunesse has taken over the reins of the annual Capitol Hill Block Party, he and Meinert have continued to collaborate on food and drink establishments including the May opening of 24-hour diner Lost Lake.

9025470801_ea99d268bb_bThe foray onto 15th Ave E will be a first for the duo. The eastward direction is also a bit of a trend for some of the Hill’s most notable entrepreneurs including Linda Derschang who will open Tallulah’s on 19th Ave E this fall.

Meinert and Lajeunesse were selected in part because of their community vision for the space, a statement from Capitol Hill Housing said. The statement said the duo — who also are part of ownership behind Big Mario’s New York Style Pizza, Neumos, Onto Entertainment “and other local businesses” — would like to explore keeping the Canterbury name and having an expanded family seating area.

CHH said it hopes to reach a lease agreement for the new project this summer and begin renovations in early 2014 after the Canterbury in its classic iteration says goodbye.

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14 thoughts on “Princes of Pike/Pine tapped to take over longtime Canterbury space

  1. Kind of surprised by this announcement. Sounded like Capitol Hill Housing wanted a quieter neighbor for the residents. None of their other businesses have a low profile in the neighborhood. Although most of them are really fun.

  2. Agree w/ @seattlebear, I expected an office or something to go in. Was not aware they were trying to keep our low profile, convenient establishment for us. Glad to hear some of the vibe will stay, as well. Win for the neighborhood!

  3. My worst fear was that it would stop being a public space. If I think about how much I still love the 5 Point, I feel pretty optimistic about them keeping the character of the place.
    One request – please keep the carpet in the “booth room” – it helps with noise.

  4. How come Dominic’s tweeting that this post of yours is an “advertorial”? I don’t get it. But I’m being careful to point it out because for some reason I like little spats like this.

    • I don’t think that word means what Dominic thinks it means :) We don’t do sponsored posts or advertorial advertisements on Capitol Hill Seattle — though many hyperlocals (including some well respected ones) do. I hate them. The idea disgusts me. Probably part of why Dominic likes to poke at it. Central District News needs a new editor. He should give it a try.

  5. So, if talking about reopening the Canterbury as an “affordable watering hole,” why not make allusion to the place’s history and rename it as the Gaslight Tavern? Could be Capitol Hill’s version of the Tractor Tavern.

    Along with the Comet, Broadway, and Elite Taverns, the Gas Light was one of Capitol Hill’s great “multicultural” bars in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The Canterbury tried to shake its legacy, but never could.

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