When it comes to new food and drink ventures joining the neighborhood’s dining scene as part of the development above Capitol Hill Station, the smallest are leading the way.
Larger restaurant opportunities in the mixed-use development remain unclaimed but, for the small, nimble, and persistent, the smaller slots in the buildings that now rise above the increasingly busy transit station are bustling with activity and taking shape with new businesses.
On the edge of the development’s plaza where the Capitol Hill Farmers Market now takes place every Sunday, Nékter Juice Bar has been part of the plans since before the pandemic and, after restrictions and delays, will finally open for business in July.
“I want to offer healthy fast food to people in my community,” owner Christina Miller says about her hopes for a growing business.
Part of a quickly growing franchise — Miller says Nékter is set to expand from 180 locations to 250 — her hope is for the Capitol Hill Station juice bar to be part of three to five Seattle locations she will own and operate.
Miller said a franchise like Nékter didn’t necessarily fit the recipe from lead developer Gerding Edlen as it started planning to fill the commercial elements of the development but that differences like making its juices and nut milks in house with fresh ingredients made the juice bar a fit for the commercial space along the plaza’s west side and the E Denny/E Barbara Bailey Way festival street.
In addition to Nékter, commercial tenants planned for the project including grocer H-Mart, The Exploration Academy daycare, and a food and drink mix including a coffee shop and restaurants. A new dental office will also be part of the mix. Due to COVID-19 restrictions and construction delays, the planned dates for the first round of commercial openings came and went in February.
The massively important Capitol Hill Station development is adding 428 housing units, including 176 affordable housing units, an acre of plaza space, and close to 40,000 square feet of commercial and community space, including the AIDS Memorial Pathway, weekly Capitol Hill Farmers Market, and more to Broadway. New neighbors are already living above it all.
Meanwhile, with the state finally able to move more safely toward reopening, Capitol Hill Station is hoped to become busier and busier after ridership fell around 80% during the pandemic.
No opening date has been announced for the anchor grocer planned with more than 11,000 square feet of store space on the ground level plus a 5,000+ square foot mezzanine in the middle of the development project along Broadway.
The coming Nékter is around 1,160 square feet and can fit around 30 customers at full capacity, with window bar seating looking out on the plaza, as well as covered seating outside along the open space.
Meanwhile, larger restaurants from some major names in the city’s food and drink scene were lined up to join Capitol Hill Station but put plans on hold during the pandemic. Now, developers and smaller tenants like Miller hope, the rush will be on for some exciting names to also be part of the project.
“There is a bigger opportunity there to draw more businesses there,” Miller said. “I’m super proud to open there — especially in a tough environment. I want to be a part of building Capitol Hill back up.”
Nékter Juice Bar will open this summer at 118 Broadway E. You can learn more at locations.nekterjuicebar.com.
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