Development at MLK and Union has created new housing, a new restaurant, and space for a longtime Central District boxing gym

A new home for Cappy’s

With renewed community support and now space for a proper fighting ring, Cappy’s Boxing Gym is welcoming clients new and old to use their facility. They provide one-on-one fitness classes as well as a youth boxing program for children between 8 and 17 years and a competitive team that goes up against other local teams and clubs.

“Cappy’s is a welcoming community,” said coach and office manager Ara Jane Olufson. “It’s welcoming. It’s open. It’s encouraging.”

Olufson, who became the gym’s office manager in November, also coaches boxers at the gym. Before that, she was a customer at Cappy’s for more than 11 years.

“I remember my first class,” Olufson said.

Cappy’s Boxing Gym opened the doors in July to its new location beneath The Valley building, new development at MLK and Union. Earlier this summer, the gym was on the brink of closing shop but, thanks to an outpouring of community support, it survived and was able to relocate to a new space in the Central District.

Olufson recalled her very first visit to the gym as a scary experience, but soon enough that impression changed. On her first trip to the Cappy’s, one coach learned her name. By the second visit, every coach in the gym had remembered it.

Developed by the Madrona Company, The Valley has also made a home for a new Central District venture along with the boxing gym and some 40 or so apartment units above.

A tapas bar on one end and a butchery and bakery on the other, Cheese Platters and More has also opened in the building with a multitude of hand-cut meats and artisanal cheeses as well as empanadas, egg rolls and potstickers.

“We try to do a variety of different cuisines,” said owner Joyce Hosea.

At Cheese Platters and More, Hosea and her staff feature a selection of butcher-cut meats–mostly pork, beef and lamb–along with a selection of craft cheeses, cheese platters, fresh pastries, homemade pastas, sandwiches and salads.

Hosea, a Seattle native who now lives in Mount Baker, was nine years old when her dream of becoming an expert in the culinary arts began. She went to culinary school and began working in the food industry. She was inspired by her grandmother who owned a “mom and pop” grocery store in Seattle on the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Way and McClellan for more than half a century. The store unfortunately burned down and forced her grandmother to retire earlier than intended at the age of 94. Hosea’s grandmother is now 98.

“My grandmother had her own business here for over 50 years,” Hosea said. “I got my inspiration from her.”

Hosea’s grandmother used to tell her that good things don’t just happen, they must be earned through hard work and perseverance.

“I’ve always lived by that motto,” Hosea said. “I’ve taken my work ethic from her.”

Below at Cappy’s
To find the new Cappy’s gym also takes a bit of work. You’ll have to follow signs around the corner of the building and enter a doorway to a stairway  that leads down to the gym.

Cappy’s celebrated the opening of its new location with a “Sizzler”, which involves sparring, fitness demonstration and door prizes, among other things. At their old location, and the one they used temporarily, Cappy’s didn’t have enough space for a proper fighting ring. They do now at the new location, Olufson explained, which is why they plan on hosting three to four “Sizzlers” a year to show the community what they’re all about.

Owner Cappy Kotz said his 22nd and E Union gym had joined a long line of businesses which have found the raised rents and changing social dynamics of Capitol Hill and the Central District difficult to weather.

So, in order to expand the business and prepare for the future, Cappy’s Boxing Gym began an Indiegogo fundraising project on June 1. The campaign asked for $15,000 to help “continue to produce Olympic caliber athletes and transform lives,” with much of the money going towards marketing. Donors answered the call, raising just over $15,000 well before the July 1st deadline.

Olufson said that Cappy’s provides a wealth of options for people trying to elevate their boxing as well as people simply looking for regular exercise.

“We have a competitive team but everybody can come here to box,” Olufson said. “And get a good work out. I don’t want to take that for granted.”

Cappy’s Gym is now located at 2719 E Union. You can learn more at cappysgym.com.

Cheese Platters and More is located on the corner above. It’s open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 AM to 8 PM and on Sunday from 10 AM to 4 PM. You can find out more at cheeseandmoreonunion.com.


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10 thoughts on “Development at MLK and Union has created new housing, a new restaurant, and space for a longtime Central District boxing gym

  1. From seeing the name as I went by on the bus, I assumed Cheese Platters was some sort of catering or mail-order business. Now that I know it’s actually more like a deli I’ll pop in!

    (Note to owners: there may be others like me — if so, some advertising or expanded signage may help).

    • I concur completely. I saw the sign and thought, “geez, how many times a year does anybody need a cheese platter? That won’t last”. Yeah, I’d change the signage for sure. Knowing this changes everything. But a lot of people will never see this.

  2. I really want to like the cheese platters place.

    But….

    The food sounds like letting off an atomic explosion inside one’s bowels.

    And the sign is so irritating 90s that it’s like clip art from some ancient version of Word came to life in 3D.

    And that, alone, makes me hope the business dies.

    • If I hung a sign on you I am pretty sure I know how it would read. Visited the store today, despite what is apparently a violently offensive sign. They had a nice selection of frozen specialty items, a decent (and hopefully soon larger) meat counter, cheeses, and a pretty nice lunch menu. Wine and beer too. A nice addition.

  3. I sure don’t see what about their sign would cause such a vitriolic reaction – it’s not that bad, come on! I do agree that the actual name doesn’t provide much of an incentive to venture inside. Homemade pastas for takeout? sandwiches? salads? definitely worth investigating!

    Great story about this building, and glad to hear about Cappy’s – you didn’t include anything about the dental office. Any particular reason?

  4. Joining the chorus that the name Cheese Platters is non-descriptive and vague.

    The food, however, is really good! Spent ~$30 for two people, and had the meatballs and a couple other dishes. Everything was great! It offers a nice deviation from the standard Seattle fare that’s trendy right now.

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