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Capitol Hill food+drink | Meet the five pros building Big Fun at 11th and Pine — Plus, Kimchi Bistro returns

Gabre-Kidran, Rice, Mo, S -- and IL's feet (Image: CHS)

Gabre-Kidran, Rice, Mihoulides and Schwartzman hold still for a minute — IL, always working (Image: CHS)

Big deal, right? Another bar in Pike/Pine. Oh, this one is directly downstairs from hipster HQ at the Stranger? Pour me another. But Patric Gabre-Kidan’s project to create a club at 11th and Pine in the former home of Velo bike shop is exactly what is great about the continually expanding Pike/Pine nightlife economy.

“We’ve all done this before. It’s just dumb it’s taken this long to do it together,” Gabre-Kidan says of the group of friends, now business partners, working to build out the new hangout, tentatively named Big Fun. Each of the Big Fun partners has played roles in helping build various food and drink empires around the city. At 11th and Pine, the group is stepping up for a venture of its own with plans to be open before the end of 2013.

IMG_8991Gabre-Kidran, a food and drink entrepreneur who helped create The Book Bindery, Anchovies and Olives, How to Cook a Wolf and Tavolata, comes to Big Fun after stepping away from the day to day for two years in the restaurant design and contractor business. Emma Schwartzman and Chris Rice have probably poured you a drink on Capitol Hill at some point in the last five years or so. They also recently generated some buzz with their Summer Dog Lake Union-based floating hot dog cart. Industrial designers Jacob and Lucas Mihoulides — Lucas goes by IL now, apparently — round out the band of five. CHS found them all at work in the former Velo space earlier this month tearing down crap and getting ready for a buildout.

IMG_8988CHS speculated about what was coming next for the relatively gigantic empty bike store earlier this summer as we first caught wind of a project underway. The Stranger, with offices upstairs, sorted out who had started banging away down there.

Gabre-Kidran said the 8,000 square feet venue at 11th and Pine will be built for a planned nightclub liquor license meaning no kitchen and no old school rules requiring food service. The Big Fun concept, Gabre-Kidran said, is to have no concept. He wants to build a hangout that becomes part of the Pike/Pine nightlife scene and part of the neighborhood. The partners expect Stranger staffers to visit from upstairs — “We’ll have a staircase!,” one jokes — and the crowd to swell on weekends along with the tides of Pike/Pine.

Meanwhile, across the street, new residents will begin moving into the Sunset Electric building’s 89 apartment units next year.

“It’s a good neighborhood to do this in,” Gabre-Kidran said. “There’s no shortage of bars and restaurants for people to choose from. I don’t see people suddenly shifting from Capitol Hill. They’re always going to come.”

Capitol Hill food+drink notes

  • Gabre-Kidran becomes one of the few black food and drink entrepreneurs to currently own a business on Capitol Hill joining Marjorie’s Donna Moodie, Plum’s Makini Howell, The Kingfish Cafe’s sister team Laurel and Leslie Coastan and Blen Mamo Teklu of Abay Ethiopian. Let us know if there’s anybody to add.
  • photo-11-400x298Tipster Charles reports: “Was craving some soft tofu soup so gave them a call and they have reopened wooo hooo” — much-loved Kimchi Bistro is back open after a four-month closure.
  • Chuck’s Hop Shop CD now on course for an October opening.
  • Tuesday night: Wandering Goosethe book:WanderingGoose-383x550

    Join Heather Earnhardt and Frida Clements to celebrate the release of The Wandering Goose: A Modern Fable of How Love Goes. Enjoy delicious treats from The Wandering Goose Café, original artwork from the book, and plenty of southern hospitality.

  • Say, speaking of low-concept neighborhood bars, what’s up with Liberty’s project on E Olive Way? The bar says a few issues with DPD have been “unwound” and the build out is underway.
  • Speaking of high-concept neighborhood bars, Canon is hiring a new executive chef. Andrew Cross joined Canon to run the kitchen in early 2012.
  • Speaking of Canon, new-fangled start-up Postmates which makes its nickels by delivering food, etc. to lazy people like CHS, kinda royally fucked up the customer service end of things when dealing with Mrs. Canon, Erin Boudreau. An apology has since been issued. Don’t expect any deliveries of Slippery Nipples (or whatever Canon serves up these days) for a while.BUOGbJ8CAAEo4Fs
  • “What is everyone ordering at Artusi these days? Negronis, forever and always.
  • Just in case you didn’t hear, Bauhaus is taking over the Capitol Club space and hoping to re-open there in October.
  • More good news for a living legend — The Canterbury name will live on.
  • Fuel’s Dani Cone and Skillet’s Josh Henderson are collaborating on a Capitol Hill grocery store.
  • First Hill now has a Top Pot.
  • Montana’s new parklet is under construction.
  • Bombay Bistro has shuttered to make way for demolition to make way for a big apartment building to make way for… what’s next?
  • This Broadway Subway worker says he lost his job after participating in worker rallies and strikes.
  • timthumb (1)The Big Fun crew should talk with Jerry Everard. He’s built some of indie Capitol Hill food and drink’s best showcases.
  • Sprudge sez:

    On Sunday, October 6th an exciting new events production company will be launched by longtime collaborator Alex Negranza. Based in Seattle, Washington, and called “An Evening With“, this event series represents the very best of what Seattle has to offer in food, coffee, cocktails, wine, and above all, professional service. AEW’s inaugural event takes place at Stumptown Coffee Roasters, which will be transformed for one night only into an extraordinary pop-up fine dining restaurant, staffed by a team of service professionals united from throughout Seattle’s thriving food, spirits, wine, and specialty coffee communities.

    The fine print:

    Guests can choose from a 5-course dinner with hand selected coffee pairings for $175, or a 5-course dinner with full coffee, cocktail and wine pairings for $250. Just 47 tickets are available to the public.

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8 thoughts on “Capitol Hill food+drink | Meet the five pros building Big Fun at 11th and Pine — Plus, Kimchi Bistro returns” -- All CHS Comments are held for moderation before publishing

  1. Hmm. A nighttime “hangout space” with no food and no theme (meaning, I suppose, decoration and bar-accessory-wise)? I’ve pretty much given the area over to bars and restaurants and don’t resent this, exactly, but why would such a place attract me instead of the other three dozen within a two minute walk? I guess I’ll just have to wait and see.

  2. Pingback: Capitol Hill food+drink | Meet the five pros building Big Fun at 11th … | ytilacegesaf

  3. No. More. Bars. Seriously! And especially not places like this that don’t even bother to serve food. Why? so that people can get more efficiently trashed and then run around trashing the neighborhood. I can only hope that it will encourage people to eat at the excellent Mexican place in the old KFC (I think it’s called Rancho Bravo?) because they are great and a lovely part of the area.

  4. Well drats. I liked Bombay Bistro a lot and would have dined there one more time if I had known they were in count down. Any next-best suggestions, neighbors?

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