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Gnocchi Bar finds a Capitol Hill food+drink home, gently used

Nakamura (Image: Gnocchi Bar)

Nakamura (Image: Gnocchi Bar)

1780969_602676619854323_1137015374871159130_oA Capitol Hill space that has run the food and drink gamut starting with a quickly shuttered investor-backed barstaurant start-up will take on new life soon with a project that has been seeking a home since early last year.

Lisa Nakamura will open her Gnocchi Bar in the Packard Building at 12th and Pine, the chef announced Monday. Highly anticipated by the city’s foodie crowd, Nakamura has been searching for a berth for her project celebrating the hearty pasta. 

(Image: Gnocchi Bar)

(Image: Gnocchi Bar)

Gnocchi Bar will take over the space home to the Capitol Hill location of  D’Ambrosio Gelateria Artigianale since spring of 2012. We talked to Marco D’Ambrosio about his business coming to the neighborhood back in 2011. Last spring, CHS visited D’Ambrosio to check out the home the gelato shop made for the Biblioteca Italiana Seattle, a Seattle-Italian library.

In the Gnocchi Bar announcement, Nakamura said she plans to continue to sell D’Ambrosio gelato at the new restaurant as the business makes “some changes to the space” in preparation for a planned opening late this month.

Gnocchi Bar’s new home is an interesting example of both the challenges and the opportunity still seen in the Pike/Pine food and drink scene. After an expensive buildout in the newly constructed Packard Building, Italian lounge concept Varro flamed out owing thousands in rent after only a few months of business on 12th Ave. After a turnaround that leveraged the failed venture’s buildout, the gelato shop made its debut complete with tony lounge-quality booths. Now it’s Gnocchi Bar’s opportunity to leverage that initial Varro buildout, still only four years old. Meanwhile, Varro’s original neighbor Eltana continues to create its Montreal-inspired bagels next door.

12th Ave, meanwhile, will enjoy an influx of new food and drink options as the 12th Ave Arts venue debuts its food and drink tenants Rachel’s Ginger Beer, U:Don Fresh Noodle Station and Pel Meni Seattle Dumpling Tzar.

Following the 2013 closure of her much-loved Orcas Island restaurant Allium, Nakamura set out on a series of pop-ups as she refined her gnocchi creations in restaurants across Seattle. According to the announcement of the new home for Gnocchi Bar, the bar will start with dinner service before expanding to lunch and “eventually” brunch.

In the meantime, Nakamura and her team are behind the counter at the former gelateria starting Monday. “[K]eep coming in for gelato, say hi and introduce yourselves,” the announcement invites. “Lisa and her team are eager to meet their new neighbors.”

Gnocchi Bar’s new home is located at 1542 12th Ave. You can learn more at

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6 years ago

Those “tony booths” are pretty disgusting now, with gelato stains everywhere, so I hope they are planning on replacing them.


[…] wrote about Gnocchi Bar’s place in the short but busy history of the 12th and Pine space across from the East Precinct and on an increasingly food+drink-filled 12th Ave. The street will […]