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Capitol Hill food+drink | Replacing a neighborhood favorite, Traveler Montlake moves in (kid pit moves out)

(Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

How to kick off our 2014 coverage of Capitol Hill food and drink? CHS will break some news about that nightlife hotspot to our northeast, Montlake! Well, not exactly break — the neighborhood email list is already all a twitter about the news.

“We’re just really excited to meet the neighborhood and try to give Montlake something new,” said Devlin McGill.

McGill, part of the group of partners behind Frelard’s The Leary Traveler and industry favorite The Nabob in LQA, says his new Traveler Montlake will be kin to his Leary Ave establishment — “a new American pub” with “a focus on quality food and beverage.”

“We absolutely love — love — playing with game meat. Meatloaf with ground buffalo, kangaroo sliders, wild boar sloppy joes, roasted goose pot pie,” McGill said.

The new Traveler takes over the longtime home of the Montlake Alehouse which shuttered to start the New Year. Alehouse owner Burke Shethar tells CHS that his 10-year lease on the 24th Ave E neighborhood favorite was up and he was ready to focus on his original Madrona Alehouse. “Madrona was the first and I am most sentimentally attached as I live in Madrona,” he said. “It will stay with me.”

“I had a nice 10-year run at Montlake but a new lease wasn’t going to be offered,” Shethar said. “The locals were great, but I believe they will be in good hands.”

Those hands will be delivering the above-mentioned wild game specialties, plus standard pub fare and a selection of 12 beers on draught — six in rotation.

McGill said he and his partners looked at seven different locations around King County for a new Traveler and selected Montlake based on demographics and McGill’s connections to friends in the neighborhood. “I’m really excited about the opportunities we have,” he said.

Opportunity brings change, however. Sorry, kids. The fabled Montlake Alehouse play pit — McGill called it “kiddie Thunderdome” — is a goner. After hearing McGill’s stories about how the pit was put to use in the 1970s, CHS suggested the carpet be handled by the CDC.

After a thorough scrubbing, Traveler Montlake is being lined up for an early February opening at 2307 24th Ave E. You can learn more on its Facebook page.

Capitol Hill food+drink notes

  • How to finance your dream to be a Vashon Island farmer? Sell your Broadway restaurant on contract.
  • What kind of neighborhood market would Skillet’s Josh Henderson and Fuel’s Dani Cone dream up? Here’s the first look at the new Cone & Steiner.
  • Homegrown co-founder Ben Friedman sent CHS a note about the new menu — and new lower prices at the local sandwich chain:

    It’s taken us over 4 years to get to the point where we have enough buying power in the local/organic farm supply to bring down our prices. Not until we got to 5 locations were we able to give something back to our customers for their incredible support and loyalty during our first few years. It feels great to see our effect on the demand curve and it’s allowing us to reduce prices by as much as 30% on some items. Ultimately, we would just love to see more people having access to this kind of food.

    Homegrown says the new prices are about 30% lower across the board thanks to the scale of the business.

  • Here’s hoping Dinette’s search for a new home in 2014 keeps the restaurant on the Hill.
  • New Bauhaus still “a couple weeks away” as of January 1.
  • Plan accordingly:Screen Shot 2014-01-07 at 10.43.34 AM
  • Plan accordingly:Screen Shot 2014-01-07 at 10.45.24 AM
  • Several Capitol Hill-based regrets in this — “I regret that record low voter turnout and a downpour of out-of-state money doomed I-522 to failure last November.” — “I regret that I didn’t make sure we signed up to grow a Liberty pot strain, now that we can legally grow pot.” — Plus, you’ll also find out which food+drink entrepreneur got his faced peed on.
  • Also a few Hill-based predictions for 2014 in this.
  • “Happy hour here, with its $6 cocktails amid twinkling votives and 100-year-old church pews, turns late afternoon into a religious experience…
  • No word, yet, on what comes next after 22 Doors.
  • Following its 2013 debut adjacent Cal Anderson, the Seattle Street Food Festival is planning a 2014 return (PDF).
  • Look what Nuflours found as it readies its new home on 15th Ave E — home to baking for more than 80 years.

    (Image: Nuflours)

    (Image: Nuflours)

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9 thoughts on “Capitol Hill food+drink | Replacing a neighborhood favorite, Traveler Montlake moves in (kid pit moves out)

  1. I’m psyched to hear about something replacing Montlake Ale House. Anything is going to be a major improvement but the new restaurant sounds like a great niche that will hopefully do well. Good luck with the build out.

  2. I am very sad at the loss of Montlake Ale House and the kid pit! With a 15-month old, it was one of the few places we could eat and keep an eye on the kid while she plays. We tried to go on Friday night and were surprised to find the Ale House gone! Is Travelers family friendly or more of a bar? Yelp says “Good for Kids No” about the Leary Traveler. :(

    • Madrona Alehouse also has a kid pit. It’s very kid/family friendly. Good beer selection, the food leaves everything to be desired, but it’s definitely kid-friendly.

    • We will be family accessible for sure. We are proud to be a part of the neighborhoods and communities that we have our businesses in. The Leary Traveler is limited to no children merely because of the size of the location but all are welcome at Montlake.

  3. Pingback: CHS breaks Traveler Montlake news, scoops ground buffalo and kangaroo sliders

  4. Leary traveler is very much a bar. 21+, mostly bar seating.

    I used to work around the corner and was a regular for a long time. They had a fantastically curated rotating beer list and a small but good food menu…then there was some change with the ownership group and stuff went down hill.

  5. Loss of Montlake Kids Area a tragedy!!

    Madrona Alehouse is great, but its very crowded and a far distance if you live in North Capitol Hill. I am disappointed that the new owners aren’t keeping the history alive of providing great food and beer + a place for one’s children. Now we won’t be trying your food for many years…

    • Do you really expect a business to have something like a kid’s pit just because the previous owners also had one? That’s like expecting a new restaurant to serve thai food because there was a thai restaurant there before. It’s a different business, with a different business model.

      You should try it on its own merits, when you find a babysitter.

    • Really? I do not personally know anyone in Montlake who liked this place. Food bad, overpriced, service bad. The kids pit does not make up for all of that. You only have a kid who needs a pit for a few months – you have a good restaurant that your family with growing children can go to for years.
      I am VERY excited to have something new move in!! Welcome!!