There was a symmetry to 2018 in food and drink on Capitol Hill. The year began with the chilly January morning opening of Westman’s Bagels and Coffee taking over a puny E Madison counter space home to a string of walk-up ventures along E Madison over the years. 2018 comes to a close with another chilly morning opening after a deal to take over a decade old E Olive Way tequila bar resulted in the Eastern European and Jewish daytime fare of Dacha Diner. The two projects share a bit of cultural heritage. And both were representative of many of the CHS stories in food and drink around Capitol Hill with sales and acquisitions, small spaces and counter walk-ups — not new mixed-use construction, and first-time buildouts.
The year was also highlighted by a new generation of first-time restaurant and bar owners. For Andre Sayre, above, the Capitol Hill neighbor bought his favorite neighborhood bar.
Maybe this is what the maturation of the area’s food and drink economy looks like as new development is pushed to areas like the Central District. Maybe it is just a lull before the next storm of activity. Below, here is CHS’s look at the year in Capitol Hill food+drink.
MERGERS, ACQUISITIONS, AND TAKEOVERS
- Could there be a better representative of new in 2018 Capitol Hill restaurants? Carved out of a space inside the Hillcrest Market, delicious and tiny Carmelo’s Tacos showed how to squeeze in and bring great food to the neighborhood.
- Capitol Hill-born Tacos Chukis built a new HQ restaurant at 23rd and Union.
- Zoe became an honest to goodness new Capitol Hill gay bar — Union.
- An Ethan Stowell sale made room for Plenty of Clouds.
- Bar Cotto got a new owner too — but kept the name and the concept.
- Eric Banh’s Central District steakhouse became Eric Banh’s Central Smoke.
- Ye olde The Canterbury got a new owner.
- So did the Baltic Room.
- Linda sold Tallulah’s.
- Rocket Taco landed in the former Kingfish space after a short run of expensive failures.
- Broadway’s old Dilettante became Añejo Restaurant and Tequila Bar.
- Suika sibling Tamari Bar rose where World of Beers cratered.
- Intrigue Chocolate and Coffeehouse warmed up in a space left empty by Healeo’s long ago exit.
- Meaty Johnson’s BBQ replaced a Melrose pizza joint.
- An E Pike wine lounge became The Belmont cocktail lounge.
- Realfine Coffee replaced Stumptown.
- By Tae sushi handrolls took over a walk-up space inside Chophouse Row.
- After a decade in Pike/Pine, Quinn’s and Sole Repair changed hands.
- Giant-sliced First Hill join Italian Family Pizza got new ownership.
- Heck, even 19th Ave E’s Vios was put up for sale.
- New things in old spaces included Junkichi’s robots, skewers, and Japanese food replacing a bagel chain on Broadway and a 12th Ave sushi joint became Chinese with Dao Tai House.
- A ramen joint replaced a ramen joint.
- A wine on tap joint replaced a beer on tap joint.
- Fresh off the Boat poke replaced poke on Broadway.
- Another pizza bar opened in Pike/Pine.
- Bites of Bangkok brought Thai — and comedy! — to 15th Ave E.
- After 70 years, the Crescent got (familiar) new owners.
- East Trading Co. opened in the former home of the E Pike Sun Distillery and lounge.
- Macrina replaced Tully’s at 19th and Aloha.
- And, yes, bikini drive-thru Ladybug Espresso really did open in Broadway’s only drive-thru coffee hut.
LAW AND ORDER
- Sexual misconduct and rape accusations forced David Meinert to sell his stake in Lost Lake and the Comet and move on from Pike/Pine.
- The By the Pound deli speakeasy concept imploded leaving evictions and lawsuits in its wake.
- The city tried — and failed — to take down Harry’s Fine Foods Chandelierium.
- Honeyhole lost a round in trademark battle over its name.
- Amante’s made way for (legal) pot.
- Gay bar Pony held its own in planning on changes coming to E Madison.
- The tiny Broadway taco shop and its Guaymas family of restaurants came up big after the state dropped a $5.6 million tax case against ownership.
- Police had to be called to help Broadway’s Nacho Borracho and Neon Taco kick out right wing douche bags.
- Monica Dimas opened Little Neon Taco on First Hill.
- Raised Doughnuts rose along 23rd Ave.
- Machine House Central District made a World Cup-worthy debut on E Jefferson.
- Mr. Saigon brought banh mi to Seattle U-adjacent 12th Ave.
- A Capitol Hill corner shop became Noren Restaurant and Lounge.
- Atulea brought cheese tea, also, to 12th.
- The Rhino Room expanded downward with its new Now or Never lounge.
- Portland’s Salt and Straw came to Capitol Hill as the Pike Motorworks retail spaces slowwwwly filled.
- Heritage Distilling Capitol Hill marked a grand opening on the backside of Pike/Pine.
- Kaladi Brothers returned to its first E Pike address with a bigger, bolder new home.
- Cinnaholic added to the midway of treats available on E Pike.
- AT&T dialed into Capitol Hill coffee culture with the help of Ada’s opening The Lounge just off Broadway.
- Whole Foods Madison Broadway changed grocery store lunches forever.
- Dingfelder’s dream of a Capitol Hill Jewish deli ready got off to a smaller start as it slowly began the transformation of the 14th at Pine commercial kitchen building it calls home.
MILESTONES AND GOODBYES
- Pike/Pine art bar Vermillion marked 10 years.
- Linda Derschang’s Oddfellows had a rough start way back in 2008 but celebrated 10 years in Pike/Pine in December.
- Jerry Traunfeld and Poppy reminisced on a decade on Broadway.
- Cascina Spinasse notched a decade, too, on 14th Ave.
- The Cuff celebrated its 25th birthday.
- Espresso Vivace marked 30 years of artisanal coffee.
- They tore the old Redwood down. Finally.
- Honor Coffee shuttered at 15th and Pine.
- Scratch Deli, after six years on 12th Ave, closed.
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