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Capitol Hill food+drink | Optimism Brewing on Capitol Hill?

Capitol Hill has a bit of a beer mystery playing out involving a big name architect and two well-connected technology entrepreneurs apparently planning to get into the beer business.

Capitol Hill residents Gay Gilmore and Troy Hakala haven’t announced the project publicly yet but continue to drop hints of what they’re working on via their blog. The most recent update — Getting started on the building — was particularly juicy:

We met Tom Kundig at the brewery building so he could see it. It was either meet him there today or wait until Christmas when he’s back from trips to Asia and the sellers made arrangements to get us into it over the holiday weekend. Tom always has ideas and useful feedback and, as usual, is “super-jazzed” about the project which is part of the fun of working with him. Next week we can really start working on it with the architects and engineers. It’s about time!

Hakala declined to comment on the most recent blog update and the project. One location we know the project is no longer targeting is the former Utrecht art store on Pike. An early filing with DPD for the building at 1124 Pike this summer by Gilmore and an architect for the Olson Kundig architect firm indicated the start of a plan for tenant improvements “to change from retail unit jto (sic) micro brewery and tap room.” But when global coffee giant Starbucks stepped forward with its plans for a roasting facility and showroom in the building, the microbrewery search apparently moved on.

Hakala and Gilmore, who made a fortune when they sold Recipezaar in 2007, have put other pieces of the project in place. There are Optimism Brewing trademarks secured, a @OptimismBeer Twitter account and a mostly empty The couple also formed a corporation and has applied for a microbrewery license.

Meanwhile, the couple’s $2.3 million Capitol Hill mansion was renovated by, of course, Kundig. It’s a good home to birth a beer business, built by Rainier Brewery founder Andrew Hemrich in 1908.

Capitol Hill food+drink notes

(Images: CHS)

(Images: CHS)

  • We told you about Juicebox’s debut in mid-November but we didn’t have much of an opportunity to show you inside. Here’s a better look at the 12th Ave cafe. More below. You can find the juicer’s already revamped morning (PDF) and lunch (PDF) menus here.IMG_0639 IMG_0607 IMG_0660
  • Repeal Day has, thanks to the tireless efforts of PR professionals and foodie news bloggers, become a thing. This year on Capitol Hill, December 5th will feature all sorts of drinky fun. Liberty hosts a holiday punch competition, Smith is partying with Oola to bring you special “prohibition era” cocktails, and Bar Cotto is planning its own “prohibition era” cocktails and punch — “Fedoras, bowlers, and short mustaches are definitely encouraged,” the PR sez. We’re guessing there are more such promotions planned. UPDATE: Seattle Times sez: “Knee High Stocking Co. will offer a punch bowl special until 9 p.m. and extend happy hour until closing time.” and Canon “will feature a 1930 Haig & Haig Scotch. Shot is $99. (Regular price on other days, $325. )”
  • We’ll see if this one catches on. Cotto’s sibling Anchovies & Olives has announced a “Feast of the Seven Fishes” night for December 23rd.
  • Speaking of prohibition, the applications for retail marijuana shops are rolling in — as predicted, 23rd and Union is a popular location.
  • Mamnoon’s birth reminds CHS a little of the Optimism Brewing item above with a tech couple making its first foray into a food and drink venue and bringing along their favorite architect for the ride. Anyhow, now it’s the restaurant of the year. But even restaurants of the year need help — Mamnoon is holding a contest to name its cocktails.
  • Possibly missed in the Thanksgiving rush: Dinette is looking for a new home — possibly on Capitol Hill. Revolver is not — or it already found one. Where Dinette is… or was.
  • You can now buy Sun Liquor’s famous egg nog… to go.
  • Holiday gift boxes for sale at Canon.
  • Now pouring at Volunteer Park Cafe: Slate Coffee.
  • Linda’s is holding a benefit Tuesday night for employee Anne O’Neill who was hit by a car while riding her bike.
  • Where does Sam Lachow like to eat? Ask him on Twitter.
  • Five questions for the bartender at Capitol Hill’s most expensive — and possibly best — restaurant.
  • Want to learn the secrets of creating Emilia-Romagna styled pasta? La Spiga is hiring.
  • Lost Lake has generated enough buzz from “banning” Google Glass that even the most attention hungry Pike/Pine food+drink entrepreneur has got to be sated. But we think co-owner Dave Meinert’s Facebook-shared opinions on other topics are equally worthy of debate. For example, he’s most recently pondering cutting you off from technology completely, nerd. Perhaps more imperative, the employer of quite a few Pike/Pine food and drink pros is also pondering the possible impact of a $15 minimum wage on Capitol Hill’s entertainment economy:

    We need to have a conversation about inequality. And it’s great to be having it at the city level where we can get some things done about it. But this conversation needs to be honest, and the data needs to be relevant and true. Hopefully we can get honest data on how many people in Seattle make the minimum wage (non-tipped), and what their demographics are. Anyone have that data or know where to get it?

  • Bill’s Off Broadway went out with a bang Monday night. It should be back in 2015.
  • Bauhaus isn’t yet open in its new Capitol Club home. But it has popped up in the Baltic Room by day in the meantime.

    (Image: Bauhaus)

    (Image: Bauhaus)

  • Tallulah’s — and friends — remains on track for a pre-Christmas debut on 19th Ave E.
  • You’ll have a longer wait for Nuflours on 15th Ave E — but, looky, they got the keys.

    (Image: Nuflours via Facebook)

    (Image: Nuflours via Facebook)



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  1. Pingback: Capitol Hill food+drink: Outer Planet creating truly micro-craft brewery on 12th Ave | CHS Capitol Hill Seattle