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20+ Capitol Hill bars and restaurants to look forward to in 2016

In 2016, a sibling to Magnolia's Mondello is coming to Broadway (Image: Mondello Ristorante Italiano)

In 2016, a sibling to Magnolia’s Mondello is coming to Broadway (Image: Mondello Ristorante Italiano)

2015 saw nearly 40 new bars and restaurants open around Capitol Hill. Last January, we had an inkling most of those were coming as large construction projects and significant investments were already underway. In 2016, the view is less certain but there are is still a lot of energy and planning in motion around the Hill’s food and drink economy. Below, we count down the projects we’re looking forward to covering in 2016. Let us know what we missed.

  1. Pizzeria 88: We’ll start our 2016 list with one you haven’t heard about. Magnolia restaurateur Karim Bonjrada is bringing wood-fired pizza to Broadway, taking over the space home to Corretto. Bonjrada isn’t concerned about joining a neighborhood already stuffed with restaurant choices. “Every place has its own energy,” Bonjrada says. “I’ll try to create my own energy there.” Expect a February opening.
  2. Iki: Pike/Pine Japanese hot dog king Shinsuke Nikaido is getting into the sushi business with a bar neighboring the Comet Tavern.
  3. Buddha’s Kitchen: After being acquired by Rancho Bravo owner Freddy Rivas, Ballet is being lined up for an overhaul and rebranding in 2016.
  4. Big Uncle: After years in the tight quarters of the Little Uncle counter, Wiley Frank and Poncharee Kounpungchart will open the sit-down Big Uncle in new construction on the same block of E Madison.
  5. Ethan Stowell E Pike: Construction schedules will dictate whether this new unannounced project from the prolific restaurateur in a preservation-friendly development at E Pike and Summit will open before the end of 2016.
  6. Harry’s Fine Foods: First time chef/owner Julian Huntley Hagood is behind the transformation of the old Bellevue and Mercer bodega into a new restaurant. Not much is known — yet — about the project but hopefully he got his signs back.
  7. Benson’s: Maybe not at the same scale as the Harry’s project, this grocery at Bellevue and Pike also has permits in place for adding a restaurant to its offerings.
  8. Sizzle Pie: Where once stood Po Dog and Auto Battery, Portland hipster pizza will now reign. Burnside-born Sizzle Pie will open soon on E Union.
  9. Dino’s Tomato Pie: Ballard pizza conqueror Brandon Pettit will open his “walkable pizza bar” featuring thick “square pie” style slices and offering takeout and delivery to the tightly packed neighborhood around Denny and E Olive way.
  10. Still pizza project: The good people at Still Liquor are turning a former foot health and shoe business at Minor and Pine into a pizza joint.
  11. Spirit Animal: The new, “slightly mystical” bar is slated to open soon in the former Broadway home of Byzantion.
  12. Full Tilt Capitol Hill: Construction is finally underway at 15th and Republican where FT’s Hill base is planned as part of local marijuana entrepreneur Ian Eisenberg’s project at the corner. Because nothing on this planet is perfect, Full Tilt Capitol Hill isn’t planned as a cone shop. Instead, last we heard, the plan is to feature Full Tilt’s ice cream pops.
  13. CommuniTea Kombucha Cafe: The kombucha producer’s move to 21st and Union includes plans for a new cafe.
  14. Neko Cat Cafe: Its crowdfunding campaign is coming up a little light and no location has been locked down, but the entrepreneurs behind what would be Capitol Hill’s first cat cafe swear they will open in the neighborhood this spring.
  15. Honor Coffee: The young coffee entrepreneur behind Honor has high hopes — eventually, she’d like to be bring a chain of cafes to China. But first she must manage the successful expansion of the small chain at 15th and Pine.
  16. The Escondite: In 2015, Chop Suey got new owners and an overhaul. In 2016, the live music venue will add an upgraded food and drink offering thanks to The Escondite.
  17. Black Bottle project: We don’t know the name yet. Or the concept (we’re betting gastropub!). Work is underway updating the old 22 Doors on 15th Ave E into a new project from the Black Bottle folks.
  18. Revolution Wine: OK. It’s a wine shop not a “food+drink” joint but we’re adding to the list.
  19. Oasis Tea Zone: The space last lined up for an Oasis bubble tea joint finally picked up the pace on construction to end 2015. When it opens in 2016, will it bring the Hill’s first dedicated bubble tea cafe to E Pine? Stay tuned.
  20. Good Citizen: We said it would open — a few times — in 2015. Honestly, we have no idea.
  21. Ms. Helen’s Soul Food Bistro: We haven’t heard an update on the return of the soul food legend at 23rd and Union since last spring.
  22. Squirrel Chops: We’ll tell you more… soon.
  23. Vivace roasting facility: Unfortunately, this 5,000 square-foot project isn’t being planned as a public showcase. Instead, below Broadway’s Garage, Vivace is creating a new roasting plant for its precious beans and a training area for its precious barista crew.
  24. Harvard Exit: The marquee tenant either hasn’t been lined up or hasn’t been publicly announced but the transformation of the former Capitol Hill movie theater into a new food+drink+office development is expected to be complete later this year. Expect a second restaurant and a basement tavern to be part of the fun.
  25. Open spaces: No rumors or plans announced for these, yet, but the former home of Manhattan is open for a new tenant, as is the giant E Olive Way space left behind by Zhu Dang’s unusual shuttering. Also, Pike Street Fish Fry is looking for a new concept.
  26. Betsutenjin: We don’t know much about this Japanese noodle joint planned for 10th and Union… yet.
  27. Redhook Brewpub: The Seattle-born craft beer brewery gone big time is slated to open a giant “small batch” brewery and pub in the Pike Motorworks building on E Pike.

Plus, this being Capitol Hill — Land of Change(TM) — you can begin the mourning process for the planned demises of The Redwood (details here, though it also made the list in 2015??!?) and 95 Slide (development, naturally).

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Jamie Randall
Jamie Randall
5 years ago

Please consider doing a gluten free pizza place! Especially if you are going to do chicago style. All GF pizzas I’ve had are flat.

Yay 2016
Yay 2016
5 years ago

I’m most looking forward to Big Uncle, Ms. Helen’s, and the hill’s first bubble tea spot. Continuing to mourn the loss of Harvard Exit, especially if they’re putting in a restaurant in an already food saturated spot. Also worried about pizza oversaturation. Sizzle Pie looks good, but SP and the others will have to compete with the cheapness of Mama’s and Mario’s and the deliciousness of Via Trib and Serious Pie.