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CHS Year in Review 2013 | Capitol Hill food+drink goes big — and small

(Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

IMG_1801CHS has chronicled the news, big and small, of the boom of the food+drink economy of Capitol Hill. In 2011, we told the stories of a rapid explosion of big investments in the neighborhood’s bars and restaurants coinciding with a wave of new development across the Hill. In 2012, the neighborhood’s biggest players strengthened their hands and put even more on the table.

2013, then, saw a year filled with new neighbors as the growing bar and restaurant scene attracted big talent and encouraged the Hill’s biggest players to further invest. Meanwhile, smaller plays in smaller spaces made by smaller — but growing — names also changed the game. Through it all, there were the dramas and sad passings of a neighborhood experiencing ongoing change and an entertainment business landscape that has never been described as forgiving. Below, you’ll find some of the biggest, most important and most interesting restaurant and bar stories we covered in 2013.

Leaman inside Bakery Nouveau Capitol Hill (Image: CHS)

Leaman inside Bakery Nouveau Capitol Hill (Image: CHS)

Pros move in
A burgeoning restaurant and bar economy attracted big talent and bigger investments.

  • Bakery Nouveau didn’t skip a beat in bringing William Leaman’s perfect croissants to Capitol Hill in a retail space that had stood empty for years.
  • Not all the food+drink titans busy in 2013 were new to the neighborhood. Pike/Pine nightlife kings David Meinert and Jason Lajuenesse teamed up to create 24-hour diner Lost Lake. Oh, they’re also overhauling the Comet. And The Canterb… well, more on that soon.
  • Another big player with deep Hill roots readied her new investment in a 2013 story that hasn’t exactly happened yet. Linda Derschang’s new Tallulah’s is set to open before the end of the year.
  • Team Poquitos launched the German bier hall amusement park that is Von Trapp’s.
  • The McCracken Tough boys were at it again as The Old Sage finally opened on 12th Ave.
  • Dulces


    Freddy Rivas could easily fit in the “smaller ideas” section but dude’s a mini-titan. The Rancho Bravo front-man got into the burger business with Broadway’s Freddy Junior’s.

  • Willy Boutillier, the man behind Seattle’s much-loved French classic Maximilien, brought Le Zinc to 15th and Pine.
  • A longtime Madrona favorite, Dulces finally found a home on Capitol Hill.
  • It might be the first place the team has created all on their lonesome, but the Big Fun project at 11th/Pine definitely isn’t a rookie operation. Slated to open in the New Year.
  • More big fun — Rachel Marshall and Kate Opatz of Montana fame announced they were opening margaritas and chips and cheese purveyor Nacho Borracho on Broadway.
  • Word spread that Team Liberty was prepping plans for a sequel on E Olive Way.
  • Eric Stapelman, a provocative and pretty damn interesting chef, announced he was bringing Shibumi Ramenya to Capitol Hill.
  • Ethan Stowell opened Bar Cotto, his third joint on 15th Ave.
  • World of Beer, a massive national franchise, opened on E Pine.
  • Sam’s Tavern started the year with a New Year’s Eve debut.8323103919_aeacd0914c_b
Kedai Makan (Image: CHS)

Kedai Makan (Image: CHS)

At work at Vostok Dumpling House (Image: CHS)

At work at Vostok Dumpling House (Image: CHS)

Smaller ideas in smaller spaces
2013 was dotted by new investments by first-timers and the occasional larger player as the neighborhood squeezed in new restaurants and bars wherever it could find space.

Olivar's Philippe Thomelin (Image: CHS)

Olivar’s Philippe Thomelin (Image: CHS)


The last night at the old Bill's (Image: Nate Leese for CHS)

The last night at the old Bill’s (Image: Nate Leese for CHS)

Sad passings*
Here are some of the places we said goodbye to in 2013. *Note: A few of them will be back.

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