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From toothpaste to pizza, Little Lago Italian grocery now open in Portage Bay

The northern neighborhoods around Capitol Hill take their local markets seriously. There’s a celebration in Portage Bay, Roanoke, and Montlake this week as Little Lago has finally opened its doors.

“We are there to serve the neighborhood’s needs,” owner Carla Leonardi told CHS this summer as the restaurant owner worked through the arduous city permitting process to get the new project open. “There will be cooking classes, wine maker events, community services, air for bike tires, dog friendly outdoor parking, dry pasta comparison tastings, and toothpaste.”

Complete with the essentials, Little Lago debuted Monday and ran out of pizza dough before dinnertime ended. Leonardi said she grew up in her family’s corner grocery and hopes to bring that spirit into Little Lago with modern additions to the traditional Italian grocery like beer taps and growlers and the deli and pizza offerings inspired by the big Cafe Lago on 24th Ave E.

Little Lago was born after an initial investment by the Volunteer Park Cafe family of restaurants to create a cafe and market Furhman Ave E cratered suddenly in February. Another VPC-related closure has made way for the Marmite project in Chophouse Row. Meanwhile, the original Volunteer Park Cafe has snuggled in at 17th and Galer.

The Little Lago opening joins a small wave of new, independent grocery and market businesses around the city including Cone and Steiner which opened its first location on Capitol Hill on 19th Ave E in 2013.

Little Lago is located at 2919 Fuhrman Ave E. It is open daily from 7 AM to 9 PM. You can learn more at

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