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Capitol Hill food+drink | Goodbye Corretto, hello Workhorse Cafe — UPDATE: Buon pomeriggio, Corretto

IMG_3084UPDATE 3:30 PM: We have weird jobs here making CHS exist. Working with other human beings to learn their stories and share them on the blog means getting into all the quirks and peculiarities that make the world go ’round. So, we shouldn’t have been surprised when James Orr told us this story, below, was great — and, oh yeah, we’ve decided after a week to go back to just being Corretto. “Not sure how to spin it without making me look like an idiot,” Orr said. We won’t go that far, James. In fact, we have to thank you. This makes for one of the weirdest CHS episodes yet. The details about Orr and how he fits in with his uncle’s partnership and how he hopes to shape Corretto going forward remain the same, he said. It’s just the Workhorse part you can set aside. The new name is coming down. Corretto is sticking around.

Jason Orr of Workhorse Cafe (Image: )

Jason Orr of Workhorse Cafe (Image: Lael Henterly)

Original post: To passersby it may seem that the space at 416 Broadway E has been going through something of an identity crisis in recent years. First it went from the popular trattoria Panevino to the ambitious Italian restaurant / coffee shop / bar Corretto. Then last week Corretto’s new owner, Jason Orr, propped up a sandwich board in front of the business emblazoned with the name Workhorse Cafe.

“Twenty people texted me like, ‘what just happened?’,” says Orr, who took over Corretto this summer. “We considered shutting down for week or two and completely redoing everything, but we decided we didn’t want to do that because we’d lose a lot of the current clientele and so we wanted to do this piece by piece so people get used to the name and realize the food is still going to be on par.”

Orr is new to the Capitol Hill food and drink scene — and to Seattle. After seven years ascending the corporate ladder Orr realized he had been far happier working as a bartender. Then he got a call from his uncle, James Duvall, the proprietor of Café on the Ave in the University District.

“My uncle said he had found a place out here that had a lot of potential and he was like, ‘Do you want to go in and buy this place and run it?’ I was like, ‘Of course!’,” says Orr. “So I got rid of all my stuff and came out here.”

Duvall, Orr and his cousin went in on the business together. At first, they tried to keep things the same. “We tried to continue doing what they were doing before to see how their business was going and we realized it wasn’t working,” says Orr. He worried that the name Corretto — coffee “corrected” with a shot of the Italian liquor grappa — was too fancy, relegating the spot to date night status and limiting the offerings to Italian.

After taking the neighboring bars — Witness, Bait Shop and Herb & Bitter Public House — into account, Orr settled on his niche. “A lot of places, every single drink is going to run you at least $10, some are even $13 or $14,” says Orr. “We feel like there is definitely a market for people that just want to come and get a fun atmosphere and a cheap drink.”

What the area needed, Orr decided, was an evening hangout for the price-conscious craft cocktail connoisseur. Somewhere casual with awesome drinks and greasy late night fare like sliders and fries.

Love Corretto’s food? Not to worry. The Workhorse Cafe will retain the most popular Italian offerings from Corretto’s lineup. They’ll also be serving up breakfast from 8:30 AM. to 2 PM daily. The morning menu features all the usual suspects and a few specialty items like maple glazed pork belly and the delicious-sounding smoked-salmon and avocado Benedict.

The Workhorse Cafe won’t just offer high quality craft cocktails for less, either. “We’re going to have the best happy hour in the area,” Orr said.

The new happy hour will run from 4 to 6 PM then again from 9:30 PM to close. Deals will include any well liquor plus a mixer for $5, a Rainier tallboy and a shot for $7 and glasses of the house red or white wine for $5.

Feeling adventuresome? Orr is currently working on a menu of signature fall cocktails and plans to offer an $11 dealer’s choice option, too.

True to the name, Orr plans to keep the Workhouse Cafe open longer hours than its predecessor — until midnight on weeknights and until everyone leaves on the weekends. The cafe will stay open through the rebrand, finishing up with a grand opening celebration October 16.

The Workhorse Cafe and Bar is located at 416 Broadway E. You can learn more on the Workhorse Cafe Facebook page.

(Image: Ernest Loves Agnes)

(Image: Ernest Loves Agnes)

Capitol Hill food+drink notes by jseattle


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8 thoughts on “Capitol Hill food+drink | Goodbye Corretto, hello Workhorse Cafe — UPDATE: Buon pomeriggio, Corretto

  1. The concept sounds great! I hope it goes over well. Broadway needs a fun, non-pretentious hangout place that doesn’t soak you for just having a low-key drink or 2. It’s about time. I’ll definitely check it out.

  2. So now that they’re keeping the name, are there still plans to have the happy hour and other changes that you listed above? I have been meaning to try out Coretto, but I usually stick to dive/cheap bars.

  3. They were still selling Groupons under the “Coretto” name even after their name change. I’m guessing this has something to do with the hasty switch back…

  4. The breakfast/brunch is really good. There is an excellent complementary fruit bar with fresh whipped cream. Pitchers of mimosas for $20. Excellent maple glazed pork belly for $4.