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Pike/Pine entrepreneur tells Big Mario’s goodbye as he gears up for stadium Gridiron project

Meinert, center, on patrol on E Pike

Capitol Hill-born Big Mario’s has new ownership. But don’t be sad. Your favorite chain of faux dive pizza bars is in familiar, local hands.

Dave Meinert, a Seattle nightlife entrepreneur with his fingers in many of the most popular venues in the core of Pike/Pine entertainment district, announced he has been bought out of the three-location pizza chain by his longtime partners and frequent collaborators.

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Caffe Vita’s Mike McConnell, and Jason Lajeunesse of Neumos and the Capitol Hill Block Party teamed up with Meinert to open the first Big Mario’s on E Pike in July of 2010.

Meinert didn’t reveal details of the deal but tells CHS the move comes as he prepares to open his new stadium project early next year which “will include an excellent New York Style pizza place.” In 2016, CHS reported on Meinert’s investment in the ground-floor commercial component of the Gridiron condo project across from CenturyLink. That project remains under construction. The building had been expected to open last year.

Despite the sale, Meinert says he will remain a big part of the nightlife scene around 10th and Pike where a company he owns with Lajeunesse owns and operates Lost Lake, and the Comet, and remains part of the ownership of Grim’s and The Woods, and Queer/Bar, the LGBTQ+ focused venue that opened on 11th Ave in late 2017.

And, Meinert says, he still has a piece of the Capitol Hill pizza economy action. “I still am an investor in the Capitol Hill Via Tribunali, as well,” he writes, “which is now the best pizza on the Hill.

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