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Capitol Hill food+drink | Union Coffee, from Hill’s ice cream family, coming to Central District

Some will see the opening of new businesses in new developments around 23rd and Union as straight-up gentrification. For others, it will be nice to have a neighborhood coffee shop.

A Capitol Hill-flavored venture is coming to E Union in one of those new buildings with a pedigree that includes a first family of ice cream and some fairy godmother-like help from an icon of Seattle food and drink.

Union Coffee is being planned for the Stencil building on E Union just east of 23rd Ave. The man behind it? Zack Reinig, who has helped spouse Molly Moon Neitzel grow her Seattle ice cream empire:

I’m working on a coffee shop that will be the best coffee in the neighborhood and a favorite hang-out spot.  I’ve been your typical Seattle coffee connoisseur for 20 years, and I’ve learned a lot about high volume food business from being an investor in Molly’s company.  I also just really enjoy a good hang out spot.  The details are all still up in the air.  I’m really loving the organic process of creating a place and a product people will love.  My friend Jen Duhamel is the architect; Linda Derschang is helping on design.

Reinig and Moon Neitzel live on the eastern edge of Capitol Hill so the Central District venture will also be an easy commute for Reinig.

Linda Derschang, who opened her Tallulah’s in a building by Stencil developers Lake Union Partners, has been consulting on the retail mix the company is working to pull together in its projects which include a handful around 23rd and Union.

Earlier this month, CHS reported on another cafe concept coming to the area in a Lake Union Partners building as Squirrel Chops coffee shop+hair salon is set to open this summer.

Reinig’s Union Coffee probably faces a similar timeline before opening. But there’s no hurry. Ongoing 23rd Ave construction has made a rough go for small businesses including nearby 701 Coffee at 23rd and Cherry.

Capitol Hill food+drink notes

  • Little Uncle, big or small, we love you:
    This message is for the rude lady yesterday. Please know that I understand your frustration about our current situation with two location on one block. We are doing our best to get the take out window open soon. Khao Mun Gai will be served at the take out window soon enough. However since you spat at my window yesterday. You have forever denied yourself of a KMG.
  • Speaking of Linda, she’s been doing some TV:

  • Back in October, we reported on a mystery Ethan Stowell project lined up for preservation-friendly new construction on E Pike. According to the liquor license, we’re getting a Tavolata.
  • Lark and its upstairs Bitter/Raw are hosting a pretty amazing sounding Late Night Asian Speakeasy with Cochon555 pop-up in April:
    John Sundstrom will be hosting a Late Night Asian Speakeasy with Cochon555 on Friday, April 8. Held in Bitter/Raw at 9pm, the lively event features guest chefs whipping up their favorite Asian dishes for a nighttime feast inspired by late-night eats. The event, which is held every Friday of the Cochon555 tour in cities across the country, is one of the most anticipated in the tour’s lineup and promises to be a fun night full of great eats and killer drinks. Local chefs PK and Wiley Frank of Little Uncle will bring their beloved Thai flavors, Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi of Trove, Joule, and Revel will offer up a Korean noodle dish, Scott Emerick will bring some Vietnamese flair from Seven Beef, and Sundstrom will come up some great Japanese-inspired plates. Holly Smith and Junko Mine from Café Juanita will be making dessert. The event is $125/person, specialty cocktails and punches included. The evening begins with passed bites and cocktails before moving on to a seated, coursed family-style meal. Reservations are required and can be made online at:
  • Looks like Chop Suey’s Escondite upgrade in the kitchen is complete:


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19 thoughts on “Capitol Hill food+drink | Union Coffee, from Hill’s ice cream family, coming to Central District

  1. > For others, it will be nice to have a neighborhood coffee shop.

    There is one two blocks North…

    It has it’s own “parklet” too.

  2. New coffee on 23rd and union? It better be really excellent for me to choose that over Cortona. That being said, it might be nice for overflow when Cortona is full. I hope they have comfy chairs, couches, and/or long tables and communal seating areas. I’m sick of the uncomfortable “industrial” designed cafes that are only conducive to people who want to plug into their laptop alone. It would be great to have a neighborhood meeting space instead.

  3. Let’s see. Squirrel Chops will be coffee and haircuts at 22nd & Union. This new coffee shop from the ice cream dynasty will be at 24th & Union. Cortona Cafe, a coffee shop, and Swing, a salon, already exist at 25th and Union. It would be nice to see businesses other than coffee shops and hair cutting in the new developments.

  4. I love Cortona, but their current space along with the residence above is either for sale or has been sold. I hope they get to stay, but if they don’t, another coffee place would make me happy.

  5. As if name dropping Seattle small business owners is supposed to make you relevant and a success? Just focus on your product and service, sadly that is something that Seattle businesses fall short in- it seems to me that people think of the mirrors are the trendiest and the music is from a record player, and my barista has a lip piercing then I would forget that the shot of espresso died and was bitter

    Just make it good and smile when you serve it


  6. Good coffee and good hair… What more could a neighborhood ask for?! Bring it on!! Okay, I DO hope we also end up with some affordable food options, a kid-friendly space, a clinic, grocery, jazz club, roller coaster…

    Meanwhile, I’m incredibly blessed to work directly next door to Cortona, with their dedicated baristas and awesome product. They’ve done more for our community than they’ll ever know.

    And no matter what other businesses and residents end up in our rapidly-changing (yet long-neglected) neighborhood, I would ask that they please respect its character, history and elders, realizing that there is still a working class who don’t have Amazon incomes but still need basic services. Those of you who do have those tech incomes: you’re welcome too, but please occasionally look up from your phones long enough to say “Hello” to us when you pass us on the street. We’re quite friendly, most of us.

    Now, back to working on my petition for a roller coaster. How about in Midtown Center? (keeping Earl’s and the post office there, of course… ;)

  7. Are you an idiot? Best coffee in the neighborhood? A new hang out spot? You must not be from here. No. Cortona has been doing that for years without this place. Thank you. The first line in the article is partially correct “Some will see the opening of new businesses in new developments around 23rd and Union as straight-up gentrification.” Actually, MANY will see it as such. The CD doesn’t need a new hangout spot. There was no dirth in “community” before this new place (and others) suddenly popped up. Please stop promoting your neo-colonialism in our neighborhood. I will never patron this business. I encourage others to do the same.