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The great Capitol Hill pizza boom of 2016: Southpaw makes it five

The margins are good — “We can make this into something that is a little more entry level that can still have my stamp when it comes to quality level,” longtime Capitol Hill chef John Sundstrom told CHS earlier this year about the plans for his new Lark sibling Southpaw.

The new restaurant is opening this weekend as the fifth new pizza joint to debut on Capitol Hill in 2016 — sixth if you count Italian Family Pizza’s move to Boren and Madison.

download-2Sundstrom’s Southpaw and its “somewhere in-between Neapolitan and New York style” slices and “familiar toppings as well as some out of left field” joins the pizza class of 2016 including Broadway’s Magnolia-rooted Pizzeria Ottantotto, Minor and Pine’s stripped-down Meltdown Pizza, the headbanging PDXers at Sizzle Pie and its Dark Bar, and the crusty, cheesy goodness of check cashing shop turned faux-90s dive pizza bar Dino’s Tomato Pie at E Olive Way and Denny.

screen-shot-2016-12-09-at-3-41-56-pmUPDATE: Uh oh. There’s been a death in the pizza family. Tipster Gregg tells us that Meltdown quietly closed last week and said goodbye with this cryptic Instagram message: “It’s been a pleasure.”

Sundstrom and business partners Kelly Ronan and JM Enos built Southpaw out of the space where Lark was born before its December, 2014 move to the Central Agency Building. After using time running 926 12th Ave as events space to sort out where to take the business next, the Lark folks decided on a streamlined type of restaurant designed to appeal to a more youthful Pike/Pine and Seattle U demographic.

Sundstrom said the pizza is a “knife and fork” kind of endeavor but that Southpaw might also add a slice window for on the go nightlife crowds.

With the quiet opening, we haven’t heard details on hours and prices. Keep an eye on for more information.

UPDATE 12/12/2016: After a busy quiet weekend, Southpaw opens officially today:

John Sundstrom and his partners at Lark, Kelly Ronan, and JM Enos, are excited to announce that their pizza place, Southpaw, officially opens today. It is located in the original Lark space at 926 12th Avenue in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood.

The name is a nod to doing things a little differently—in this case, rather than boxing left-handed, it’s making pizzas that fall in a happy spot somewhere between Neapolitan and New York style, completed with familiar toppings as well as some more novel additions like padrón peppers and red wine-braised oxtail.


The space has been updated with bright hits of orange on the chairs and lacquered plywood tables, plus punchy graphic art on the walls. Guests will order at what used to be the bar, from menus pasted up on a signboard. There is seating for 49 at a mix of tables, booths, and seats at the window bar. Robert Cipollone of Cipollone Creative came up with the design concept for the space—he also designed the beautiful new Lark space on Seneca Street, and Sundstrom was happy to work with him again.

The pizzas are made with a special wheat blend custom milled by Smalls Family Farms in Walla Walla. The 16” pizzas will be tender but chewy, cooked quickly in a wood fired oven. Pies are $22, or $6 for a quarter (their version of a slice, when available.) Toppings are mostly vegetarian, with a list of optional meat add-ons. Here are a few of the pies planned for the initial lineup:

Uppercut: Bianco DiNapoli organic tomato sauce, mozzarella, basil, Grana Padano

On the Ropes: padrone peppers, cotija, chorizo, Alvarez guajillo pepper, tomato

Title Fight: wild mushrooms, lardo, roasted garlic, thyme, arugula

Contender: green chickpea pesto, feta cheese, za’atar, roasted garlic, cumin

Add-ons include guanciale, anchovy, crispy chicken skin, burrata, fennel sausage, and a fried egg, among other treats.

In addition to pizza, there is a garden section of the menu with dishes like romanesco bagna cauda with pine nuts, roasted potatoes with chile butter and ‘nduja, sugar pie pumpkin salad with pecans, blue cheese, dates and sherry vinegar, and a local greens salad with candy striped beets, arugula, mint, and smoked pine nut tahini. Much of the produce comes from Lark’s rooftop garden, less than half a mile north on 12th Avenue. There is also a rotating selection of cheese and charcuterie.

Desserts are simple: there are JM’s famous salted chocolate chip cookies, zeppole with blackberry jam, and soft serve in two flavors—one adventurous and one a little more standard, but they’ll always go together, for those that prefer the swirl. Look out for salted caramel toffee and Mexican chocolate (plus walnut wedding cookie crumbles for a topping) and Meyer lemon and alpine huckleberry (with vanilla bean candied cranberry compote as a topping.)

As for drinks, everything is on tap—no bottles at all. To start, there’s one red wine, one white wine, two beers, three cocktails, and one shrub and soda available—more offerings, including cold brew coffee, will follow.

Southpaw is open from 11am to 11pm daily. Delivery will be available soon. For more information, visit or call 206.323.5278.

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2 thoughts on “The great Capitol Hill pizza boom of 2016: Southpaw makes it five

  1. I wish all small biz in seattle well – folks don’t realize how hard it is – with rent, labor, thin margins. We whine and yelp, but never walk in their shoes. Good luck entrepreneurs.

  2. I have walked in their shoes and am currently doing so. It’s tough being an entrepreneur but I will never understand why a new restaurant or other business would open without fanfare, a menu, a website, signage and all other ducks in a row. Pizza slices are what people also want. We want REALLY GOOD pizza and other types of eateries that are not complex or “innovative.” Keep it simple.