An authentic Italian cafe moves out, an authentic Italian pizza restaurant moves in. After a promising start in 2014, Corretto shut its doors for good this week to make room for Magnolia restaurateur Karim Bonjrada to open Pizzeria 88. Bonjrada tells CHS he intends to make some minor interior changes to the 416 Broadway E space and open what will be the first of many new Capitol Hill pizza spots by the end of February.
Pizzeria 88 will primarily focus on classic, wood-fired Neapolitan pizza — not the greasy American variety. “You see a 12-inch pizza and think you can’t eat it all, but you can and more because it’s so light,” Bonjrada said.
The full menu isn’t quite finalized, but Bonjrada plans to offer a handful of small plates, serve-yourself appetizers, and square pizza slices during happy hour. Pizzeria 88 will also have a full bar featuring Italian cocktails.
Born and raised in Palermo, Italy, Bonjrada came to Seattle and Capitol Hill in the early ’90s. He’s been making pizzas and other Italian classics ever since, punching his neighborhood business passport along the way. He opened Belltown’s La Vita E Bella in 1999, the now-closed DiVino in Ballard, and Queen Margherita and Mondello in Magnolia.
If it wasn’t clear already, pizza is in Bonjrada’s blood. His grandfather ran a pizza restaurant in Sicily, where his mother also ran a bar called Pub 88 (hence his new venture’s name). If you want to impress Bonjrada, you could call the new pizzeria by its Italian name, Pizzeria Ottantotto, but the owner insists either is acceptable.
Pizzeria 88 will enter a crowded pizza field on Capitol Hill, with Ian’s Pizza on the Hill, Ernest Loves Agnes and Windy City Pie among last year’s arrivals not to mention longtime Broadway’s longtimer Pagliacci nearby. The competition is ramping up in 2016. Portland’s Sizzle Pie will be taking over the former Po Dog and Auto Battery space, Dino’s Tomato Pie of Ballard will open a “walkable pizza bar” around Denny and E Olive way, and the owners at Still Liquor are turning a former foot health and shoe shop at Minor and Pine into a pizza joint. Still, Bonjrada said he can’t wait to come back to his roots.
“When I went to Palermo in May, it was nice to see people going around late at night,” he said. “Capitol Hill has that vibe.”
After opening in 2014, Corretto slowly shaved away at its original concept, shedding daytime hours and its plans to be a true cafe-bar. Travis Rosenthal, owner of longtime Pike date spot Tango and next door sibling rum bar Rumba, sold the business in May. That teed up one of the stranger episodes in CHS restaurant coverage, when new owner Jason Orr changed the name to Workhorse for a week, before going back to Corretto. Bonjrada reached a deal to take over the space at the end of 2015 and got the keys to the space this week.
Capitol Hill food+drink notes
- Speaking of E Union’s new Sizzle Pie, it’s opening is nigh — the mural with a slogan we can all get behind is already up:
- 2013-born Resto remains the tiny “not a bistro” that could on E Thomas. The little restaurant checked in with CHS recently to let us know about a new “meat and potatoes” takeout concept their trying out. Dinner?
- Sam’s Tavern, the E Pike branch of the Red Robin family tree, debuted on Capitol Hill in 2013. In 2016, the burger joint is expanding to South Lake Union.
- The Broadway Chipotle appears to be playing an unfortunately large role in the E. coli travails of the Mexican grill chain.
- 2015 “restaurant of the year” Stateside is also expanding in 2016. CHS reported here on the secret new spinoff project next door.
- Taylor Shellfish Melrose is also making boozy plans with an application to add spirits to its offerings.
- r/seattle asks: “Out of all our restaurants, which single dish (main, side, desert) do you think is the best and that the rest of us need to try?”
— The Tacos Chukis at Tacos Chukis, the spicy pork tacos at Marination Station, and the downtown duck sandwich at Pear Delicatessen are a few of my favorites.
— Spam sliders at Marination
— The wild boar sloppy joe at Quinn’s Pub
— The butter and sage pasta from Spinasse
— Chicken tikka masala at Annapurna
— Croque-monsieur from Cafe Presse is probably the best breakfast sandwich I have ever had
— Dessert: El Diablo at Tango
Everything is for sale. Some of it is listed on Craigslist. Current “Capitol Hill” listings include a $395,000 price tag for a “Coveted Capitol Hill Restaurant/Bar” described as a “unique urban bistro” with a “rustic chic decor.” Or, for $110,000 you can acquire the business described as a “prime Restaurant Opportunity next to the most concentrated redevelopment on Capitol Hill.” $149,000 will get you a “fantastic turn-key opportunity” “in the heart of the “Pike/Pine Corridor”, at the base of a 108-unit luxury apartment building.” For $220,000, you can be the proud owner of “a thriving restaurant in the most vibrant part of the city.” How about this “recently renovated, family friendly pub and grill located along a high traffic arterial in a North Capitol Hill micro neighborhood” for $149,000. Or, yeah, you could get into the pizza game with this nearby “High Traffic Corner” “business with a reputation for quality and service” for $295,000. Remember when you’re speculating, you’re talking about people’s hard work and dreams. And, yes, there might be a couple more listings in the mix this week but, like we said, something on the Hill is pretty much always for sale.
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