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Busy times for Central District food+drink: Communion announces opening date, Cortona to give way to Melo Cafe, plus Temple Pastries and Alexandra’s Macarons now open

Communion’s buildout in progress from this summer at 24th and Union (Image: Communion)

For all the changes in Capitol HIll’s higher profile venues through the COVID-19 crisis, the food and drink community of the Central District has also been busy with a mix of new additions and a couple sad goodbyes. And there is more to come including one of Seattle’s most highly anticipated new restaurant openings.

  • Communion: Plans for a summer opening are long gone thanks to the challenges of the pandemic and opening your own small business but Kristi Brown’s highly anticipated restaurant Communion is ready to debut at 24th and Union. Service will begin under the state’s stepped-up restrictions but the bar and restaurant in the equitably developed, affordable housing project The Liberty Bank Building will be ready when the prohibition on indoor dining is lifted. In the meantime, Communion’s menu honed from Brown’s decades of “Seattle soul” cooking will be available fpr delivery and takeout. “I would say that it really describes my journey being from Kansas City and living in Seattle and all the different neighborhoods that I’ve lived in,” Brown told CHS about her creations earlier this year. “I just take a little bit of all of those things and merge them together.” A bar from Brown’s son Damon Bomar is also part of the appeal. Opening details are coming soon with a first day of official business planned for Saturday, November 28th. You can check out @CommunionSeattle to learn more.

    (Image: Cortona)

  • Cortona and Melo Juice: More than a decade of coffee and community at the corner of 25th and Union is lined up for a major change. Cortona will mark its final day of business on November 29th before giving way to a new community-minded venture, owner Ice Dean has announced. “I didn’t want to sell it off to whomever,” Dean told the South Seattle Emerald. “The Central District is already gentrified. I was very adamant that I wanted to keep it woman-owned also. I just wanted to leave it in a good space … Hanan is the thinker and the creator and Ambrosia is the one that really pushes things along. She provides the space and Hanan fills the space and it’s really a beautiful combo.” Hanan and Ambrosia? They are Hanan Hassan Diriye and Ambrosia Austin. Their Melo Juice venture will expand into the space as the new Melo Cafe. Keep track of progress with @themelojuice on Instagram.

    (Image: @Temple_Pastries)

  • Temple Pastries: S Jackson is enjoying some newly fresh baked smells. Temple Pastries has opened its new cafe in the space freed up by Broadcast Coffee moving its roasting operations across the street in the 2500 block of S Jackson. CHS talked here with Christina Wood about growing Temple from pop-ups to its first brick and mortar home. “We will have all sorts of pastries, croissants, savory stuff too and we would also have doughnuts on the weekends, sandwiches, side salad, and macaroons, pretty much the whole deal,” Wood said. “I am planning on hosting events before or during our grand opening because I believe the first impression is what matters the most. We try to focus on customers rather than the brand itself.” The “Cult of the Croissant” bakery is currently open every day from 7 AM to 3 PM. Learn more at @temple_pastries.
  • (Image: Alexandra’s)

    Alexandra’s Macarons and Cafe: Back just off Union, there are also treats up on 18th Ave. Alexandra’s has opened in the former Tougo space with trays of the fussy cookies. CHS talked with baker Alexandra Greenwald about her business grown from its time in a VW van and her dedication to the macaron. “I started making them when I was 12,” Greenwald told CHS. “They looked terrible. But I loved how technical they were.” Greenwald’s new cafe filled the space left empty by the closure of Tougo Coffee and gave coffee shop owner Brian Wells a successful exit as he sold the business to Greenwald to focus on his other ventures including his Yesler cafe. In addition to sweets, Alexandra’s also sells wine and beer and is also taking orders on Thanksgiving sides. Learn more at

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4 months ago

Alternate headline: some condo owners in city don’t like living in a city they can’t control with money

4 months ago

I’m sad to see Cortona leave. It’s been my coffeeshop since they opened and I don’t even drink coffee! Best of luck Ice. :)

4 months ago

Ice has been an amazing source of positive energy and community for so many years — best of luck to you with whatever is next! And Hanan and Ambrosia — good luck with the transition and set-up, and see you soon!