It all began about six months ago when Tramale Turner noticed a clandestine post advertising the sale of a mysterious wine bar. The post included pictures of the space and Tramale’s wife Jackie immediately recognized the oddly shaped room with the loft-like mezzanine level as E Pine’s Poco Wine + Spirits.
Jackie and Tramale made a few clandestine visits to Poco and liked what they found.
“We wanted to see if it was something we saw ourselves doing,” Jackie said. “The staff were wonderful, kind and friendly; they seemed like a little family.”
Family and love are the drivers behind the couple’s decision to take over the nine-year-old bar. The Turners began looking for businesses to invest in after experiencing a tragic loss when their daughter Hayley was stillborn in March. As the couple prepared to leave the hospital, reeling from their loss and in the throes of grief, the nurses presented them with a keepsake box. Tramale and Jackie were touched by the gesture and it really helped them grieve, so they started a company to help other grieving couples. “Our eventual goal is to make money to establish a foundation to support mothers with troubled pregnancies,” says Tramale.
Poco provides a new path — but with a familiar setting.
The Turners don’t plan to change much at Poco. The wine list will remain comprehensive but heavy on Pacific Northwest wines; the ambiance will remain intimate yet cosmopolitan; the truffled mac and cheese will remain on the menu.
“Poco is still going to be the best place to try new wine, the prices will stay same,” said Tramale. “It’s really an extended living room for a lot of people. It’s a place to meet, a place to close a deal, a place for a first date, a place for a proposal,” Jackie said. “The vibe will remain the same.”
The menu will change a bit, though. The favorites will remain, but some of the less popular offerings will be traded out for new small plates and comfort foods. The couple plans to test new items by offering them as specials and then adding the ones customers are excited about. This week a smoky tomato soup made the cut.
The Turners also plan to add additional wines and experiences. More wine tastings will be happening. And, also, craft cocktail tastings. The first will be a vodka tasting October 22, featuring a Ballard-made Vodka brand. It won’t be a vodka sipping event, because that’s a bit too hardcore for Poco. Instead, the event will feature vodka-focused craft cocktails.
The new owners will also bring something new to Pike/Pine food and drink — Poco now becomes one of the few black-owned bars and restaurants on the Hill joining owners like Patric Gabre-Kidan at the Rhino Room, Donna Moodie at Marjorie, and Plum’s Makini Howell.
With such a simple transition, Poco hasn’t closed — so there will be no grand re-opening. There will, however, be a celebratory wine tasting event at October 15 at 6 PM with founders, Peter Moore and Bart Reynolds, who opened Poco in 2006. The bar’s most recent owners, Jonathan Nelson, Aaron Tebrink and Rick Jones, will be there, too.
“We’ll hear stories about Poco and do a passing of the torch,” said Tramale. Before the Turners came on the scene Nelson had already received an offer from a Florida businessman. But when he met Tramale and heard his vision for Poco’s future, Nelson decided to keep it local.
Poco is located at 1408 E Pine St. You can learn more at pocowineandspirits.com.
Capitol Hill food+drink notes by jseattle
- Stumptown has been sold to Peet’s. But it is kind of old news. The investment firm that took a majority stake in the PNW coffee chain said way back in May it was looking for a buyer. Caffe Vita still stands indie strong — and we’re not aware of any investment stake lurking in the background. Meanwhile, appears we’re in an era of craft consolidation.
- “Really excited about these!” Renee Erickson writes about the offerings at her about-to-open General Porpoise Coffee and Doughnuts. You think, you’re excited, Renee?? The new doughnut shop is planned to open this month along with Erickson’s oyster-shucking Bar Melusine and farm-to-table Bateau restaurant in the giant Broadstone Infinity building that now rises above the block of E Union between 10th and 11th Ave. CHS first reported on Erickson’s first Capitol Hill project way back in January.
- Speaking of big names, prolific chef/owner Ethan Stowell is creating yet another Capitol Hill project in the under-construction Dunn Automotive building on E Pike.
- We don’t yet know what chef Julian Huntley Hagood is creating at Harry’s Fine Foods — but he’d like the old signs back.
- Hill restaurateur Ericka Burke on Uber delivery: “I love the idea that you look at your app and have food that’s just minutes away.”
- Say goodbye to TNT Espresso, set to close at the end of October.
- RIP, Yasuko’s Teriyaki. Seven-story development is next, natch.
- “Suika south, like the other big Vancouver brand, Meat & Bread, hasn’t had the same buzz as its brethren up north…“
- “Belltown’s Villa Escondida among city’s best Mexican” — formerly of the Broadway Alley.
- With Peloton, Metier, and a mystery rider, Pike/Pine and 12th Ave are about to be become home to not one, not two, but three bike cafes.
- Fat’s Chicken and Waffles upgrades to Catfish Corner also included a fresh coat of paint for the classic MLK, Jr. mural at the corner. By the way, here’s what’s next for Fat’s owner Marcus Lalario.
- Rhein Haus and Derschang Group bar managers teamed up to create a “Capitol Hill exclusive” Perfect Strangers beer.
- Monster Dogs will make you famous.
- Snoop Dogs will make you, well… get your act together, Snoop!
- Nuflours is celebrating the one year anniversary of its 15th Ave E store with free cake Saturday.
- Rumba turns three with a party on Monday:
Rumba recently turned three years old and we’re having a party to celebrate! We wouldn’t be here without our loyal guests, staff, friends & family, and we want to say a big THANK YOU for the best three years a rum bar could ever wish for. Stop by for the return of Jim’s Jerk Shack– Jim Romdall will be firing up the grill with Caribbean BBQ (available until it’s gone!). We’ll have some drinks specials, our rums will be 20% off, and you know we’ll be playing those smooth, melodic tunes for #yachtrockmonday. We hope you come by and join in the merriment and send us off into year 4 in style!
- Now open on E Olive Way: Monica Dimas’s Tortas Condesa:
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