First Look: With a line up E Madison, Westman’s Bagels and Coffee opens

A long line at Westman’s. The good news? Lines for “Seattle-style” doughnuts were shorter than usual Friday.

Molly Westman

Just down the Hill from Temple De Hirsch Sinai and 2,800 miles from Brooklyn, Westman’s Bagels and Coffee opened for business Friday to a long line on a dark and drizzly morning in Seattle.

CHS wrote here about the project and quest to create a Capitol Hill “morning culture” from small-space food and drink entrepreneur Monica Dimas and baker Molly Westman. The duo spent the past year researching and perfecting recipes. “We now can tell a good bagel by just looking at the crumb,” Dimas said. The bagel arts, apparently, are closely guarded. “There are lots of secrets in the bagel industry,” Dimas told CHS in December, “and lots of disinformation from other bakers.” Continue reading

Price of pop from Capitol Hill’s Mystery Soda Machine hits $1.00

A can of sugary, delicious Coca Cola, or Mr. Pibb, or Orange Crush from Capitol Hill’s Mystery Soda Machine(tm) now costs $1.00.

The latest bump in price for the E John vending machine comes along with Seattle’s new soda tax — 1.75 pennies for every ounce of sugary drinks purchased. Gatorade shoppers are appalled — though there is no reason the excise tax has to be passed along to consumers. The soda industry is now worried the tax might spread to the entire state and mystery soda machines in cities from here to Pullman.

The secret organization that stocks and operates the Capitol Hill machine could not be reached for comment.

After ‘nightmare’ arson fire, Med Mix returns to the Central District

Tuesday, we found out just how many people love tacos and broke some news about the future of food and drink at 23rd and Union. Today, CHS has good news on a sad part of 23rd and Union’s restaurant past. Five years after an arson fire destroyed its 23rd and Union shop, Med Mix is open again in the Central District.

Owner Otmane Bezzaz dropped CHS a note earlier this week to announce that, “after years of trying to come back,” his new location just off 23rd and Jackson is now open. Continue reading

Powered by Capitol Hill Station enthusiasm, investor plans transformation of Broadway retail building

Rendering of the planned renovation

The plans reverberating from a big Broadway real estate deal last fall will mean new life for a building just a block from Capitol Hill Station. Those plans are powered by some of the same energy and enthusiasm Capitol Hill residents might feel when they get to walk or ride light rail off the Hill as the rest of the city grinds through traffic and a crawling I-5.

“It’s an incredible part of the city with the new light rail station opening,” Dhruv Agarwal tells CHS. “As the light rail network expands and traffic gets worse in Seattle, the Capitol Hill Station is going to be a hub for entertainment and neighborhood shopping.” Continue reading

Broadway-born Tacos Chukis set to join the community at 23rd and Union

A taco joint with one of the humblest starts on Capitol Hill is ready for yet another Seattle expansion. The good news for fans of Tacos Chukis: This one is within walking distance.

“It’s a community we’d love to be part of,” Chukis owner Beto Salmeron tells CHS about the early plans for a late summer opening of a new Central District Tacos Chukis at 23rd and Union.

Tacos Chukis, born on Broadway in 2011 and known for its affordable and near perfect street-style tacos, will be taking on a relatively massive restaurant space in The Central, the first of a wave of development around 23rd and Union from Lake Union Partners. The apartment building is also home to e-bike dealership Electric Lady and coffee shop + hair salon Squirrel Chops. The project opened in 2016 but the quest to fill its large, anchor tenant-style restaurant space has been a long one with more than a few big players bowing out along the way. Continue reading

Baking for both sides of Capitol Hill’s Gluten Divide: Q&A with Toby Matasar

Toby Matasar is rapidly diversifying her mini-empire of baked goods on Capitol Hill.

A second-generation pastry chef trained in New York and Paris who moved here in 2000, Matasar gained a loyal following running Eats Market Café in West Seattle for a decade. Following the cafe’s 2015 closure, Matasar started a new venture, the Niche Gluten Free Café and Bakery on 12th Ave across from Seattle U, which coincided with her own transition to a paleo diet. In 2017, she bought Crumble & Flake on E Olive Way from acclaimed baker Neil Robertson.

The two daytime eateries are now doing brisk business serving both sides of the gluten divide. Matasar continues to expand and adapt their menus, and she speaks with enthusiasm about her evolving craft and growing clientele. I asked Matasar a few questions about her upcoming plans (French ice cream! Candy!) and the challenges she faces balancing decadence with dietary restrictions.

Is baking a science, an art, or some sort of alchemy? It’s both a science and an art. Those are good words to describe it. There’s definitely a science side to it—you have to be willing to be very technical and the procedures have to be the same every time. There’s definitely an art to it, too, because it’s very visual—you have to know what the bubbles are supposed to look like on your caramel, what the batter should look like. You can’t just look at the picture in a book and expect to get it right if you’re not aware of the ripeness of the fruit or the humidity for certain cakes and cookies and whatnot. Also, a lot of art goes into the techniques for plating, which is the beautiful part because I’m the worst artist. This is my only medium—I can’t draw at all! Continue reading

Machine House taproom will be E Jefferson neighborhood pub with cask ales and football on the telly

(Image: Machine House)

If you want to do it right — create your own cask ales, “served through beer engines and at cellar temperature” — you’re going to have to do it yourself. Georgetown-born Machine House Brewery is building a cozy tap room and soccer pub to showcase its English-style beers amid the growing food and drink scene along E Jefferson because it’s a bloody shame to waste great beer.

“Very few pubs can serve it properly,” Machine House co-founder Bill Arnott tells CHS. “We’ve found we need to control the experience. We need bartenders who can explain and present it.”

“It’s this kind of thing that doesn’t have the best reputation if you get it wrong. When it’s done right it’s completely exceptional.” Continue reading

A Jewish deli on Capitol Hill: Pastrami, kosher hot dogs, and knishes the plan at Dingfelder’s Delicatessen

People have been pretty excited about the pending debut of a new walk-up craft bagel shop on Capitol Hill. Just wait until the summer opening of Dingfelder’s Delicatessen, an “Old World” deli with plans for stacked-high corned beef and pastrami sandwiches, kosher hot dogs, knishes, smoked fish, and, yes, bagels.

“My husband is from Brooklyn. He’s an amazing natural cook and he has all these family recipes,” Stephanie Hemsworth tells CHS. “He’ll make you the best pastrami sandwich you’ve ever had.”

Add another to our roster of bars and restaurants to look forward to in 2018. The new project from Vance Dingfelder and Hemsworth is planned to open this summer — hopefully by July — in the building neighboring Aria Salon on the northwest corner of 14th and Pine. Continue reading

Bluebird Ice Cream looking for new Capitol Hill home

Counting down the growth of ice cream joints operating on Capitol Hill with last week’s opening of Full Tilt on 15th Ave E, we found out about a big change for one of the early players in this generation of frozen treat businesses around the neighborhood.

Bluebird Homemade Ice Cream shuttered its original E Pike shop late last year after unsuccessfully trying to negotiate a new lease for the location. Owner Josh Reynolds tells CHS there’s nothing yet to announce but Bluebird is looking for a new location on the Hill:

Now expanded with two shops north of the Cut, Bluebird debuted on E Pike in the summer of 2009 — in a space that was previously being used by a local church — with a smaller, more microcreamery take on the ice cream business. Along the way, Reynolds also experimented with craft soda and beer and collaborated with Capitol Hill Block Party bands on a few rock and roll flavors.

Hopefully we’ll see a new Capitol Hill Bluebird by the time the next CHBP rolls around.

Thanks to reader Matt for the tip.

What does a 31% rent hike mean? EuroPub loses lease on Broadway

EuroPub owner Witold Szczepaniak knows the answer.

“31? That means fuck off,” the European beer importer and operator of one of Capitol Hill’s more under the radar drink spots tells CHS.

Szczepaniak says his Broadway beer pub will be closing later this month after the management company for the Dick’s-adjacent former quick mart building his joint overhauled in 2015 responded to his attempts to negotiate a lease renewal with the huge proposed jump in rent. Continue reading