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Next for Tully’s at 19th and Aloha — Not Pagliacci… Macrina Capitol Hill

UPDATE 2:30 PM: Well, this is interesting. We’re checking with the company and Galvin to clarify:

Original Report: A story that somehow combines the slow financial implosion of a Seattle coffee chain with worldwide ambitions, a presidential sex scandal, and Capitol Hill’s relatively quiet corner of 19th and Aloha now includes pizza baked goods.

CHS has learned that the neighborhood school kids around 19th Ave E will soon have a new hangout in the space left empty when the Tully’s Coffee chain abruptly shuttered on the corner after 20 years. Seattle favorite Pagliacci Pizza has begun planning of a new restaurant to take over the former cafe. UPDATE: But it won’t be a pizza joint.

19th and Aloha will soon be home to an after school hangout joint, again (Image: CHS)

Pagliacci 19th — if it can be opened faster than any of the other locations the Seattle-area chain might be sizing up — would be Pagliacci’s 27th restaurant around the city and third on Capitol Hill joining the 10th Ave E location up near Roanoke and the company’s 35-year-old Broadway location. The Pagliacci central commissary kitchen and call center — home to some of the best, most efficient pizza order takers in the business — is also located on Capitol Hill. CHS reported a few years back on plans the parent company behind Pagliacci and Macrina were toying with for a combined Italian bakery concept using the E Pike property.

Owner Matt Galvin tells CHS that Pagliacci is “working on a new project” but said it is “a bit premature to announce anything” at 19th and Aloha. UPDATE: Galvin and partners acquired Pagliacci in 2000 from founder Dorene Centioli-McTigue. UPDATE x2: We’re checking in with Galvin and Pagliacci on the company’s social media message in response to our report. “Sorry to diappoint (sic),” the company’s Twitter account read, “There will not be a Pagliacci Pizza on 19th and Aloha.” UPDATE x3: People with knowledge of the plans say the new project will be a Macrina cafe, the company’s fifth location in the region.

Current plans call for the former Tully’s cafe to be improved as a restaurant, a use the 1925 building is already approved for. Tully’s founder Tom O’Keefe told CHS the 19th Ave E and Aloha cafe opened October 23, 1997. Previously, it has been home to the storied Surrogate Hostess and, old timers say, was once a Red Mill Burger.

Students left without a hangout joint since the Tully’s closure in November will no doubt be looking forward to having a slice while they complete their homework and wait for the bus, or mom, dad, grandma, grandpas, the nanny, or the manny to pick them up.

CHS reported on the early signs of financial struggles for the Tully’s chain as word spread in early November that the location would be closing.  We documented more than $300,000 owed in taxes to the state of Washington and decisions including a $102,000 judgment for unpaid rent on the company’s Western Ave offices. It turns out, the company owes much more. By the end of the month, the Tully’s across the street from St. Joe’s and a few blocks from the Holy Names Academy, Meany Middle School, and Stevens Elementary was closed for good.

Along the way, Global Baristas, the company that took over the struggling chain, never responded to our requests for more information on the closure and chair Michael Avenatti blocked us on Twitter. He is now busy representing porn star Stormy Daniels as the Donald Trump sex scandal plays out.

At 19th and Aloha, Tully’s simply stopped paying its bills. According to a lawsuit filed on behalf of the property’s owner against Global Baristas, Tully’s stopped paying its $5,400 per month rent on the building last summer. Marie Collison — whose family has owned the property for decades — was also forced to divide the parcel to protect other small businesses located at the corner as the financial troubles around the Tully’s building mounted.

In December, Collison was awarded a default judgement in the case:

Tully’s might have a hard time paying even the relatively modest judgement. First, it lost use of the Tully’s name after failing to pay licensing fees to the company behind Keurig that owns rights to the brand. Then, early this month, reports began to spread that the chain was out of coffee beans as more cafe locations were abruptly shuttered. At least in one situation, it turns out rent had more to do with the closure than coffee beans.

Pagliacci and Macrina will represent a fresh start at 19th and Aloha and a much more solid financial situation. The chain began in the University District nearly 40 years ago and has grown into a staple of Seattle’s casual restaurant culture. It merged operations with Macrina a decade ago. Pagliacci and Macrina maintain locations in neighborhoods throughout the city and in a variety of Seattle environments and building types. The coming project will be an overhaul not a rebuild of the building and county records show that, at least for now, the  property remains with its longtime family owners. For clues on how Pagliacci 19th’s overhaul might come together, check out the slice bar added to 10th Ave E and the LEED-certified E Madison location — Seattle’s first stand-alone LEED certified pizzeria. The property includes one of the few commercial surface parking lots in the area — surely a draw to the family oriented Macrina as it looks to attract parents and families on the go from across Capitol Hill’s northeastern slopes.

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17 thoughts on “Next for Tully’s at 19th and Aloha — Not Pagliacci… Macrina Capitol Hill

  1. Matt Galvin is not the founder of Pagliacci. He bought it from Dorene Centioli-McTigue in 2000 with money he made from selling Torrefazione Italia to Seattle’s Best Coffee.

  2. Bummer… i was hoping for Pagliacci’s on 19th — as i’m assuming were other locals, families and students near by… it’s nice to have less expensive, yet local and fresh options, on this side of the hill… and more pricey venues have taken over in the last 5 years.

    Hopefully this means Macrina Bakery will go there instead? We can only hope for that too!

  3. Please, please, please RED MILL BURGERS come back to this spot! We NEED you on the east side of the city! Please!

  4. The updates are getting better… Update x3 sounds like great news. We’ve already got plenty of pizza (though Pagliacci’s pizza is pretty good). A nearby Macrina would be awesome.

  5. Vios Cafe opened with Illy coffees and Macrina baked goods a week after Tully’s closed. Supporting our homework kiddos ever since.

  6. The Pulitzer slips out of our hands again. Given the Pagliacci down on 10th and the other on Broadway, just how many would we need for peak pizza ? Bakery and cafe makes more sense

  7. Red Mill Burgers at that location? I’ve lived in the neighborhood since the late 70’s and I don’t remember Red Mill at that location.

  8. I’m mystified why everyone is so pleased that we’re getting a Macrina Bakery. Their breads are (in my opinion) at the very bottom rank of the local artisan bread companies. Now if it was a Columbia City Bakery or even another Bakery Nouveau (the one on 15th is one of the worst designed retail spaces I’ve ever seen) I could understand the excitement.

    Have folks even tasted the competition? Perhaps my non-American palate isn’t calibrated to Macrina’s style, or the incredible breads I’ve eaten in Europe have spoiled me. Seriously, take a drive to Columbia City Bakery and get some bread there, then get some Kerrygold butter and sit down to have your mind blown.