Local Bigger Burger: A new burger joint takes over in the Broadway mixed-use building with the most Broadway mix of mixed-use

The unwinding of one local Seattle burger chain during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis has led to the growth of a new one with a new location already open on Broadway.

Local Bigger Burger, a brand name that screams concept and aspirations for major growth, is anything but a bland franchise, food and drink veteran and entrepreneur Nate Rey tells CHS.

The Green Lake-born burger joint has expanded onto Capitol Hill with a quiet takeover of the former Blue Moon Burgers location on Broadway. The change happened quickly enough that Rey says you can still order from the Blue Moon menu for a little while. But, soon enough, the kitchen will be switched over to the flame broiled style of LBB. Continue reading

A ‘Capitol Hill Cooks’ classic recipe post with Thanksgiving inspiration from 12th and Madison to 15th Ave E

Thanks so much to Em for so many great ideas… and pie

Distanced from friends and loved ones, you might consider channeling your love directly into your belly this Thanksgiving. For those who decide to cook on their own, there are sure to be a few experiments and new skills developed as neighborhood chefs try to spread their turkey wings to achieve full feast menus including maybe taking on some of those classics usually left to mashed potato expert friends and cranberry dressing connoisseur family members.

The CHS archives might help broaden your offerings a little. Our Capitol Hill Cooks series from a few years back now qualifies as “classic” CHS content. Below, we’ve selected a few Thanksgiving 2020-appropriate highlights and a helping or two of nostalgia for the Capitol Hill and Central District kitchens of the early 2010s.

Have a favorite recipe to share? Let us know in the comments.

Capitol Hill Cooks Thanksgiving Cookbook

  • Sweet Potato Pie inspired by 12th and Madison: This pie makes sweet potato and marshmallow magic; you fold mini marshmallows into the sweet potato filling and they disappear, leaving a sweet and fluffy pie with little hint of the marshmallow secret.Sweet Potato Pie
    Adapted from Cutie Pies: 40 Sweet, Savory, and Adorable Recipes, by Dani Cone
    Pie crust, homemade or store bought (here’s my favorite), including extra dough for turnovers or muffin-pan minis
    4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1” chunks
    1 c. milk
    ¾ c. brown sugar
    3 eggs, lightly beaten, plus one more if you’re making turnovers
    1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
    2 Tbsp. melted butter
    1 Tbsp. cinnamon
    ½ tsp. ground allspice
    1 tsp. salt
    5 c. mini marshmallowsPreheat oven to 375. If you are making turnovers, lightly oil a baking sheet or line it with parchment paper. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

Checking in: Capitol Hill’s Raygun Lounge transforms into a gift shop to stay in the game

(Image: Gabrielle Locke)

(Image: Gabrielle Locke)

By Gabrielle Locke

“We have re-opened into a little shop with a semi-cranky old man,” owner Eric Logan tells CHS.

We talked with Logan before the latest round of COVID-19 restrictions added new limitations on in-person shopping. It’s possible Logan is a little crankier now.

Eric and Amy Logan opened a specialty retail shop on Capitol Hill 12 years ago called Gamma Ray Games.

“My wife and I share a passion for creating and building intersectional environments and the original store was a way for us to do that together,” Eric Logan said.

Logan and Amy began to see a need for an event oriented space and opened Raygun Lounge on E Pine, eventually consolidating the businesses.

Now the game play of life is completing a circuit of the board. The lounge is going back to being a game shop.

The First Annual Raygun Lounge POP Up Store is now open. Continue reading

What Capitol Hill small businesses, restaurants, and bars are saying about the latest round of COVID-19 restrictions — UPDATE

(Image: Victrola Coffee)

For some Capitol Hill small businesses, the coming weeks will be like the rest — making ends meet with reduced capacities and a reliance on new or rapidly scaled up revenue streams. For others, the new restrictions going into effect this week to try to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Seattle are the start of new shutdowns and “temporary closures.”

Restaurants and bars will be particularly hard hit. The prohibition on indoor service begins Wednesday and already some have said they cannot afford to stay open. Broadway’s Corvus and Co. announced it will close “until indoor dining can resume.” Until then, they’re clearing out with a 50% off sale on food. Other Capitol Hill bars will likely follow.

The food, drink, and shopping restrictions are necessary, health officials says, because people are getting sick at work and the virus is spreading rapidly in home settings with friends and loved ones. Monday, Mayor Jenny Durkan said the city has identified “a handful of employer outbreaks” and that bars and restaurants have been the most common source in those business-related situations.

UPDATE 11/18/2020: Industry advocates are pointing out that restaurants and bars are being unfairly singled out. According to the state’s latest sector report (PDF), Washington’s leading employment categories by total case count are Health Care and Social Assistance, Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting, Retail Trade, Manufacturing, and then Accommodation and Food Services.

The new lockdown is described as “temporary” with plans for the state to reassess the crisis by mid-December. In the meantime, restaurants and bars are closed for indoor service while outdoor dining and to-go service is permitted. Tables are limited to parties of five. For those venues with a good sidewalk and street setup, the city’s easing of permitting for outdoor dining, tents, and heating should help.

Others, like Mamnoon, for example, have announced they will step up their takeout efforts by adding things like expanded service hours for lunch deliveries.

Below is a selection of updates from Capitol Hill businesses about the coming lockdown: Continue reading

Born in the COVID takeout era, tiny Spice Box opens on Broadway

(Image: Alex Garland/CHS)

A new Indian restaurant is now open for takeout on the Broadway slope between Pine and Pike, bringing electric blue color and flavorful spices to Capitol Hill.

Spice Box has a full menu of traditional Indian cuisine as well as modern Indian-fusion options, including chicken tikka wraps, aloo tikki burgers and lamb korma.

“We are still in the process of building our menu and bringing new things in — we want to see what people like or don’t,” co-owner and chef Jatin Grewal said. “So we are in a constant change of the menu over the next couple months.”

He opened the restaurant mid-October alongside fellow chefs Jagminder Singh and Navjit Singh. The business partners hope to bring new flavors and a new feeling to the space formerly home to Moti Mahal Indian Cuisine and a past location of the Taco Del Mar chain.

“We all used to drive for Uber and Lyft and, since we used to work in Capitol Hill, we used to drive by this place all the time,” Grewal said. “We always loved this location but we had this idea in our mind that we can do so much with [it].”

Grewal says they leapt at the chance to take over the space in August after learning via mutual friends that it was up for sale, and they began remodels and repainting shortly thereafter in September. Continue reading

A frequent target during Capitol Hill protests, E Olive Way Starbucks reopening

Downtown and Capitol Hill locations of the Starbucks chain are reopening after weeks of closures amid bouts of regular property damage from protest groups targeting the Seattle-based coffee giant.

A call to the E Olive Way location confirmed that the store is open again on a limited schedule after what the manager said was a five-week closure. For now, it is open only on weekdays but weekend hours are planned to be restored after November 30th. For now, the shop is also takeout and delivery only.

Most questions about the closures needed to be answered by Starbucks media relations, the manager told CHS. The company has not replied to multiple inquiries from CHS in recent weeks.

The company has said it is also making changes to its locations to add better spaces for mobile ordering and pickup “due to a retail environment that has shifted because of COVID-19 and to meet the already evolving customer needs of convenience.” The E Olive shop was closed for weeks late this summer for an overhaul following that announcement.

Continue reading

‘We didn’t want to open in a pandemic’ — Barca plays it cool in exit from 20 years of Capitol Hill nightlife

(Image: Barca)

The COVID-19 crisi has claimed Capitol Hill’s Barca, a bar that managed to survive multiple editions of Pike/Pine’s rapid mutations. That stubborn sense of righteousness did the bar in, longtime manager Dan Carlisle tells CHS.

“We didn’t want to open in a pandemic,” Carlisle said.

With state and local officials warning that the spread of the virus has again reached levels that will soon overwhelm the area’s health systems,  and people being asked to mark the Thanksgiving holiday alone, does it make sense to keep Capitol Hill’s bars and restaurants open?

Carlisle said the management at the 11th Ave bar considered “50 different ways” to reopen but none made financial or moral sense. Continue reading

Capitol Hill’s Volunteer Park Cafe says goodbye… for now?

(Image: Volunteer Park Cafe)

Nearly 14 years of baking and cafe goodness has come to an end at 17th and Galer where there is also an uncertain future for the 117-year-old house that stands there.

The Volunteer Park Cafe served its final batch of muffins, scones, and breakfast sandwiches over the weekend under owner Ericka Burke who announced the restaurant’s closure with a post celebrating the Biden-Harris victory while bidding a bittersweet farewell to the home and business:

It is a HAPPY SAD day. We have new president in the house and tomorrow will be our last day in this #littleyellowhouse. It is with a heavy heart that we say goodbye- it’s been a wild ride. Our hearts are filled with optimism about the future. It’s been 15 years of #alwaysfreshgoodness. We are excited as we move forward to find goodness in everything that crosses our paths. On this little corner we have experienced so much- joy, challenges, life, death, but most of all LOVE and FRIENDSHIP. For that we are immensely GRATEFUL. Thank you. To my VPC ride or die crew-thank you from the bottom of my heart. You all made VPC happen. I could have never done it without your talents, huge hearts, your scrappy determination. You are my family and you always will be. I LOVE you. We will see you on the flip side. Peace out and thank you for so many years of support!

The closure comes following the 17th and Galer’s cafe’s reopening in May after a temporary shutdown under COVID-19 restrictions that also threw a planned sale of the house and business into limbo. Continue reading

Sumo Japanese Steak House and Sushi will replace Ha Na on Broadway

The Moses Lake location in pre-mask days (Image: Sumo)

A legacy of Capitol Hill sushi will continue in the Broadway Alley building as a new location for a Japanese restaurant concept with roots in the middle of the state prepares to open this week.

Sumo Japanese Steak House and Sushi is planning to debut its first Seattle location this week, owner Jackie Chi tells CHS. The food and drink entrepreneur said his menu of traditional sushi and hibachi will be a good fit for the neighborhood and, he hopes, will bring new options to Broadway.

With plans for performing chefs working to serve diners as soon as restrictions allow, the restaurants born in Wenatchee and Moses Lake will echo with old school Benihana energy. The Seattle location of that fabled chain, by the way, shuttered in the summer of 2019. Continue reading