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Chuan on Capitol Hill — and its spicy pots — now open on E Pike

With a spicy pot menu full of flavors from Chengdu, first-time restaurateur Yao Huang is debuting his Chuan on Capitol Hill this week on E Pike.

CHS stopped by Thursday night as the staff and the kitchen at the busy new addition to The Cove building at Pike and Belmont did their best to keep up with the orders of meaty chili pots and spicy soups.

Huang was too busy to talk. Fortunately, CHS spoke with him in November as his plans for a first restaurant came together. Huang, we learned, knows the neighborhood well, beginning his education in the United States 20 years ago as in immigrant at Seattle Central.

After a career in hospital administration at a community clinic, Chuan marks a new path for the entrepreneur. “I’ve lived in Seattle for a long time and I tried every Chinese restaurant,” Huang told us last year. “I want people to feel like when they come to my restaurant, it’s not traditional food. This is a modern Chinese food restaurant.”

Chuan joins Plenty of Clouds which settled into the former Anchovies and Olives spot at 15th and Pine last summer, as recent Chinese restaurant additions to the scene, both showcasing the flavors of Sichuan Province.

To claim his space in Capitol Hill food and drink, Huang had to beat out stiff competition. An outlet of Portland-based sustainable sushi concern Bamboo had been lined up for the corner before the chain apparently pulled out. The company’s plans for a new location for its Quickfish poke concept in the nearby Pike Motorworks building appears to also be off.

The modern and sleek restaurant space is a large venue that include upper level mezzanine seating and is a major investment for Huang where he can view neighbor R&M Desserts through the building’s lobby’s aquarium wall. The dessert bar opened in late 2012 to give the neighborhood’s restaurant crowds something else to think about after their meals, while across the street, Amazon is coming.

Chuan on Capitol Hill is located at 601 E Pike. Hours are 11 AM to 9 PM Monday through Thursday, 11 AM to 11 PM Friday through Sunday.

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