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Here’s why this Capitol Hill restaurant is open for indoor dining — and why others will probably soon follow

(Image: Boca)

King County and the entire state may be still facing high levels of new cases and remain mired in Phase 1 of COVID-19 restrictions but, yes, those were real people you saw dining inside a restaurant on Capitol Hill.

New “open air” guidelines from the state are allowing certain venues to restore indoor service at limited capacity. One restaurant quick to move forward under the new rules is Broadway’s Boca Resto Bar and Grill.

The move has also made the 400-block Broadway E Argentine style eatery a popular subject of news tips to CHS from readers concerned about a possible violation of health departments restrictions.

But Boca is playing fair and square by the rules, its ownership says.

“We have been working with officials to ensure we are up to date on the ever changing dining restrictions,” Connor Casas Beaux tells CHS.

Under the new guidelines, Casas Beaux says Boca can serve indoor tables at 25% capacity thanks to its “large French Doors that open along the entire front of our restaurant.”

The guidelines also recognize the part CO2 monitoring can play in making sure there is adequate circulation — if carbon dioxide levels stay below 450ppm2, the setup qualifies.

“Currently with our dining set up we have the ability to install a carbon dioxide monitor which is used to measure air circulation,” Casas Beaux said.

Boca is planning to add that monitoring this week and Casa Beaux said the 2018-born restaurant also has met with state liquor board officials “to ensure we are following protocols until then.”

At this point, CHS is not aware of other Capitol Hill restaurants also putting the new guidelines into motion with indoor service. Blu Water Bistro in Leschi is reportedly also open under the new rules.

The new guidelines come as Washington has tried to prepare for ramping back up activities and the economy even as the winter has brought a surge in new cases and challenging news on the slow rollout of vaccines across the state and the country.

Under current COVID-19 conditions, King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties and the rest of the state’s regions remain under Phase 1 reopening restrictions that include a prohibition on indoor dining and limits on gatherings. The reopening phase conditions are assessed weekly on Fridays.

Restrictions on businesses and gatherings have been especially hard on small businesses and the city’s restaurants and bars. 2020 brought nearly 30 food and drink closures attributed to the economic fallout.

Capitol Hill and Central District COVID-19 Crisis Closures: CHS has tried to confirm all reported statuses. Please let us know if any information needs to be updated -- LAST UPDATED: 12/29/20

Food and drink

  • The Wandering Goose, reported 12/29/2020
  • Barca, announced 11/11/2020
  • Suika, lease issues, announced 9/27/2020
  • Juicebox Cafe, announced 9/28/20
  • Heritage Distilling Capitol Hill, announced 9/25/20
  • Amandine, closing 9/30/20 announced 9/25/20
  • Bar Sue, announced 9/25/20
  • Marination Station, announced 9/14/20
  • Ha Na, announced 8/27/20
  • Intrigue Coffeehouse, announced 8/21/20
  • Nates Wings & Waffles, Happy Grillmore and the Central District Ice Cream Company, announced 8/6/20
  • Americana, Broadway, announced 7/23/20
  • The Lounge by AT&T and Ada’s Discovery Cafe, E Thomas, announced 7/7/20
  • Bill's Off Broadway, E Pine, announced 6/24/20
  • Stumptown, 12th Ave, announced 5/26/20
  • Adana, 15th and Pine, announced 5/21/20
  • Tougo, 18th and Union, announced early April, Yesler location remains open
  • My Thai, 10th Ave E, closed but we're not sure when it shuttered

Retail and more

  • Everyday Music, 10th Ave, June 2021
  • QFC, 15th Ave E, 4/24/21
  • Sameday Testing, 15th Ave E, February
  • GameStop, Broadway, 2020
  • Velocity Dance Center, 12th Ave, will continue as organization but leaving Capitol Hill space, announced 12/4/20.
  • Stock and Pantry, E Pine, announced 10/14/20
  • Take 2, 15th Ave E, announced 9/30/20
  • No Parking, E Pike, announced 9/5/20
  • Ritual House, 19th Ave E, reported 7/15/20
  • Totokaelo, 10th Ave, reported 7/13/20
  • Mode of Fitness, E Pine
  • Urban Outfitters, Broadway, youth fashion chain's exit began last summer as Broadway Market began search for new tenant
  • Le Frock, E Pike, consignment shop announced permanent closure in April

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Mr B
Mr B
1 month ago

What is going on in the photograph? Is that some flashy juggling maneuver with the bottle?

1 month ago

Star Fusion at Broadway and mercer is also open for indoor dining.

All Power to the People
All Power to the People
1 month ago
Reply to  Erica

Reading this article I was just thinking that I saw diners in Star Fusion on Saturday, and was confused since I had seen that indoor dining was currently banned.

1 month ago

I’m happy to see that a portion of the neighborhood’s hardest working staff are able to get back to work. If these restaurant staff didn’t get another job after they stopped in March, it’s clear that they loved their work and waited out the hard times. Many Thanks to you folks!

1 month ago

Rondo has opened for the partial indoor dining as well and is constantly monitoring the CO2 levels. =)

Jaki P
Jaki P
1 month ago

Don’t forget to mention Star Fusion & Bar! They’re one of the nicer, warmer dining locations on the hill right now and opened just before the pandemic. They’re doing incredible.

Ian Crozier
Ian Crozier
1 month ago

Julia’s has a sign up saying they’re opening tomorrow I think.