Why the infamous Amante’s flashing sign went dark on E Olive Way

Before, circa 2008... (Image: sparklingallison)

Before, circa 2008… (Image: sparklingallison)

There are three sides to every story: your side, my side, and the truth. And no one is lying. When it comes to how E Olive Way’s infamous flashing Amante’s pizza sign got turned off, there are a few sides to tell about the sudden darkening of the unfortunate “welcome to Capitol Hill” landmark.

Earlier this week, a neighbor tipped CHS and The Stranger to the sign finally going dark after seven years of flashing promotions at the intersection of Denny and E Olive Way. After a complaint was made this summer, a city inspector confirmed something you may have suspected — “Inspection confirmed violation of changing image frequency on sign for Amante Pizza.”

That was July. After another inspection in late August revealed the sign was still flashing away, suddenly Amante’s billboard went dark months later.

What happened?

“Amante Pizza is now under new ownership,” a spokesperson for the City of Seattle tells CHS. “We recently advised the new owner of the neighbor’s complaints and the history of our enforcement case on the flashing ‘video’ signage.”

If you’re keeping track of the latest Amante’s ownership changes, CHS reported that a man named George Kozhuharov took over the business from previous owner Vladimir Dimitrov in early 2015.

“The owner seemed very interested in being a good neighbor and voluntarily turned off the sign,” the city spokesperson tells CHS.

UPDATE: We get a lot of questions about “how do businesses like Amante’s stay open?” and “is it a front?” From the CHS comments below, you can see, yourself, there are plenty of customers. As for how the business is run, Amante’s is a franchise:

If you want a taste of success, only one business can satisfy it. Your own Amante Gourmet Pizza franchise. Join our team and you’ll be part of a $25 billion dollar a year business with no end in sight. The fact is, Americans love pizza. And this love affair is fueling an explosive growth in pizza consumption. While many people enjoy traditional toppings and old-time favorites, a fast –growing segment of pizza lovers want gourmet pizza. They like different selections, unique ingredients, uncompromisingly fresh toppings, and an endless array of choices.

Any more questions? :)

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32 thoughts on “Why the infamous Amante’s flashing sign went dark on E Olive Way

  1. This is one of those things that “you don’t notice is gone” until someone points it out. I saw that sign several times a week and just now learn of this.

  2. Flashing sign or no, their pizza remains inedible. How this dump remains in business is a mystery. And no, I’m not some insufferable pizza snob who laments that Seattle isn’t NYC. I love Hot Mama’s and Marios, and I’m fine with a slice of Zeek’s. I wish this place would just die already and get replaced with like…a pizzeria.

    • I loved the Red Line, way back when, and stopped by every other day or thereabouts. I tried to like Amante after the changeover, but never really could.

      I wonder how much a used LED billboard costs?

    • Pizza slices are terrible, but they do a pretty good job when you order a whole pie delivered. Not any worse than Zeek’s, and much better than Romio’s.

    • Not to worry, Robert. Soon there will be a real pizzeria across E Olive Way….owned by Brandon (forget his last name) who owns Delancey in Ballard…..real quality stuff!

    • I got slices there twice. To me their pizza was about like Dick’s hamburgers– generally garbage but tasted good if you’re drunk enough. Maybe the new owner will make better pizza.

      • I wouldn’t worry too much about that. Dick’s seems to do well enough without me. (Plus, I’ve thought they suck for many many years longer than people have been bemoaning the downfall of Capitol Hill).

    • Me and a friend decided last night that the only way this place stays open is that there is a secret tunnel that runs from under The Crescent to Amante’s basement where a highly secret sex club runs.

      • Well, if that’s the case, I take back everything I said. I’ll have two slices of pepperoni and anchovies, please. Through this door, yah?

      • My friend and I couldn’t figure out how way stayed open as we were usually the only diners. Then he pointed to the register area and there were three people frantically answering phones so we surmised that they must do a gang busters delivery business.

  3. Does anyone remember the place that was there before Amante took over? I think it was called the Highline, and we ate there several times a week. The food was great, the people were mellow, and there was a corner where folks would play checkers, cribbage, and chess. I still miss that place!

  4. > a man named George Kozhuharov took over the business from previous owner Vladimir Dimitrov

    Heh, I always joked that the only way a place with food that bad could stay open was if they were a mob front . . . these names are only reënforcing that suspicion.

  5. I was hoping it was because someone physically sabotaged it, which is something I considered when I used to hang out on the block facing it a lot (Arabica, Bus Stop).

  6. The Calzone at Amantes is good, and their salad is good and plentiful.

    Either some people have impossible standards, or want shit I consider foo-foo. Amante’s has been pretty good go-to grub for a while now.

    The sign .. was an eyesore when it went up, but honestly I don’t notice it now.

    I hope the new place across the street is not a typical Seattle pizza, with $40 worth of pesto and avocado and spinach and kale, on a bed of artesan sourdough from a culture began in 1920 in San Francisco itself.

    In other words if we lose Amante to some upscale place I am going to be … not surprised. So many of the modern-day Hill residents are only willing to eat at upscale, it seems.

    So for those of you interested, Burger Marys -> The Flame -> Red Line -> Amantes. Best Cobb Salad of the bunch was probably when it was The Flame. Best vodka tonic as well.

    • After the Flame, and before Red Line, it was a bar run by a Chinese couple for a few years. The bar was just named “Bar”. Sylvia O’Stayformore used to do a regular show there.

  7. I dunno, it’s good to have a few places around that aren’t intentionally ironic or consist of hand hewn timbers and lanky man-bunned waitstaff taken from a Dwell cover. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate Capitol Hill’s modernity in the culinary realm, but it’s nice to have non-fussy options as well.

  8. Thier pizza isn’t bad. I especially like the House Special pie and the delivery guys were always hot russian dudes. I think the majority of their business is delivery not dine in.