Coming to 15th Ave E: Kobuta and Ookami Katsu and Sake House

Design renderings for the new restaurant (Image: Kobuta & Ookami Katsu and Sake House)

(Image: Kobuta and Ookami Katsu and Sake House)

A slice of Japan — in the form of traditional Japanese katsu — is on its way to Capitol Hill.

Kobuta and Ookami Katsu and Sake House is set to open this February in new construction on 15th Ave E and will feature chicken katsu, tonkatsu, cheese katsu, curry katsu and rice burger katsu along with premium sake and other liquors.

“Katsu is [a] very common meal in Japan,” owner Sue Phuksopha said. “We would love to create our place to be a casual street dining style and casual hang out spot with Japanese vibes like those restaurants in the small alley in Japan.”

Phuksopha, who has over 20 years of experience working in the food industry and owns Thai 65 Cafe in Redmond, will run the business alongside fellow food industry vet Don Tandavanitj and his family. Continue reading

Broadway’s Blade and Timber comes out swinging in fight over serving beer at Capitol Hill axe throwing venue

A battle from the ancient days before 2020 and the global pandemic has flared again on Capitol Hill. At the center of the fight is a question that goes to the very heart of humanity and what it means to be alive — Why shouldn’t a Seattle axe-tossing venue be allowed to serve alcohol?

Broadway’s location of the nationwide Blade and Timber chain has renewed its fight after the company says the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board indicated it will not approve the venue’s most recent application to begin serving beer and wine at the venue.

“We have a lot of research and historical data to back why beers and axe throwing does not risk the safety of our guests,” Blade and Timber managing director Jessie Poole tells CHS. “The city of Seattle expressed no concerns with our intentions, the issue is at the state level, despite the expansion of axe throwing bars across the nation.” Continue reading

Hawaiian and Filipino BBQ, cocktails, and a probable goodbye to Cal Anderson — Cure expands with Remedium Island Grill at 15th and Pine

(Image: Remedium Island Grill)

An opportunity for expansion in a big, new space only blocks away on Capitol Hill will be a welcome change for Nagle Place cocktail and charcuterie bar Cure after a year of tear gas around Cal Anderson Park and business survival amid ongoing COVID-19 restrictions on bars.

Now at 15th and Pine, the brothers behind Cure have opened Remedium Island Grill, a Hawaiian and Filipino BBQ taking over the space formerly home to upscale Japanese joint Naka Adana. Cure will put the upper bar space into motion as a new home as it likely says goodbye to Nagle and Cal Anderson Park.

“Since March 15th and Inslee’s bar closure mandate – to the scattered phases, tear gas at Cal Anderson, the creation of CHOP and more, we’ve been pulling through as a family and small business as best we can,” owners Sean and Joe Sheffer say in their announcement.

Adana, from chef/owner Shota Nakajima, closed in March as the early waves of the pandemic slowdown hit the food and drink industry. Continue reading

Capitol Hill’s Food is Love hoping for support to continue meal delivery program beyond 2020

(Image: Food is Love)

Food is Love. It’s the name of a meal delivery project that started when pandemic restrictions set-in but not a new concept for Linda Di Lello Morton and chef Tamara Murphy, co-owners of “Earth to Plate” restaurant Terra Plata.

“The mantra that we’ve had since I met Tamara 20 plus years ago is we feed people and food is love,” Di Lello Morton said.

Di Lello Morton and Murphy started the Food is Love Project in March alongside Broadway Business Improvement Area director Egan Orion and community advocate Marina Gray. Their mission is to provide meals for food insecure families and in turn bring business to local restaurants.

“It really is this immense win-win for our local small businesses — our restaurants — and for families that need a little extra support when it comes to food,” Orion said.

The program currently feeds over 300 individuals from Seattle Public Schools families and around 100 people living in homeless encampments. Over 21,000 meals have been delivered so far, from restaurants including Din Tai Fung, Pagliacci Pizza and Rancho Bravo Tacos.

Over the past seven months, Orion says food delivery has shifted between providing families with around one to three weekly meals.

So far Food is Love has largely depended on fundraising and donations to compensate restaurants and cover expenses but, thanks to a $40,000 grant from United Way of King County, the project is set to continue as a biweekly delivery service through the end of the year. Continue reading

City has a street, tent, and heater permit plan that could help your favorite Capitol Hill restaurants and bars survive rain season in Seattle

The Unicorn’s street setup (Image: The Unicorn)

Mayor Jenny Durkan and the City of Seattle are rolling out changes that might be the biggest boost struggling Capitol Hill food and drink venues can get as we head into the wet and cold Seattle winter and what seems likely to be many more months of COVID-19 restrictions.

The mayor announced Wednesday afternoon that the city will extend temporary street permits that allow outdoor seating though Halloween of 2021 and that the Seattle Fire Department is stepping up its process to allow free tent and heating permits to venues that comply with fire codes and strict inspection requirements. Continue reading

Checking in: Glo’s Cafe is adjusting to COVID-19 restrictions while giving back to Capitol Hill

(Image: Gabrielle Locke)

Checking in is a new occasional series on CHS as we talk with people from longtime neighborhood businesses, organizations, and more about their experiences during the COVID-19 crisis.

By Gabrielle Locke

“We just had to pivot, just like everyone else,” Julie Reisman, the owner of Glo’s Café, says.

Reisman and her business partner, Steve Frias, bought Glo’s in 2007. Reisman describes owning a small restaurant as having its ups and downs, like any job. “We largely wanted to be in control of our own destiny in the restaurant industry (which is funny given the current world we live in where everything seems a bit out of control),” she says.

Glo’s operations changed from dine-in to take-out only and amidst the pandemic, “We had to make tough calls in order to look out for the best interest of our staff, guests and neighborhood.” However, the circumstances have made the staff stronger. “Recently, we haven’t been flinching, as much at each hit that comes our way,” she said.

Since COVID-19 hit, Glo’s has seen a serious decline in business during the weekdays. However, despite the adjustments Reisman and Frias made to stay afloat there have been some noteworthy positive outcomes. Continue reading

Inside the Eisenberg-Neighbor Lady lawsuit: urinal cakes and $200K in bar furnishings

The battle at 23rd and Union between landlord and pot shop owner Ian Eisenberg and former tenant the Neighbor Lady bar turns out to be more than a war of words. Behind the scenes, CHS has learned Eisenberg is suing the bar owners for more than $300,000 over removed furniture and what the retail marijuana entrepreneur claims is a campaign of disparagement against him including the ultimate insult — urinal cakes bearing his likeness in use at Neighbor Lady’s sister bar, The Twilight Exit.

Lawyers for Stephan Mollman and Thomas Vivian have denied the allegation.

The lawsuit, filed in April and amended to include allegations including the urinal cake episode this summer, continues with the latest filing earlier this month moving the case forward. In it, lawyers for Eisenberg say they are seeking $200,000 over the removal of “light fixtures, neon signs, bar sinks, hooks, speakers, table tops, a bar, and a foot bar” from the bar adjacent the 23rd and Union Uncle Ike’s, as well as $50,000 each in damages from Mollman and Vivian over the disparagement allegations, as well as an additional $50,000 from the Neighbor Lady business, plus “indirect and consequential damages,” and legal costs. Continue reading

At Vito’s, celebrating ten years of a restored First Hill classic

When Lundgren and Scott took over Vito’s in 2010, they found a treasure trove of old menus and photographs in the basement. Here’s a scene from a night at Vito’s. (Photo courtesy of Jeff Scott)

On September 18, First Hill’s iconic nightclub and Italian restaurant Vito’s quietly passed its 10 year anniversary under owners Greg Lundgren and Jeff Scott. A celebratory event wasn’t possible due to COVID-19 restrictions, and Lundgren and Scott were admittedly busy preparing to reopen for reduced dine-in seating on September 30.

“The world’s been so crazy that we never even made an announcement about [the anniversary], which we probably should have. We’ve been so busy trying to keep the lights on,” Lundgren said.

As Lundgren prepares to officially open his latest creation on First Hill with new arts venue the Museum of Museums, it’s time to celebrate a decade of Vito’s.

The last six months of pandemic restrictions have been challenging for the lounge on 9th and Madison, a destination steeped in history and notoriety whose mirrored walls, red leather booths, and (pre-COVID) live music are meant to be experienced in-person. When Lundgren and Scott took on the ambitious task of restoring Vito’s ten years ago, the vision was to resurrect what Vito and Jimmie Santoro started in 1953: a neighborhood lounge where people enjoyed Italian food, cocktails, and live entertainment. Lundgren remembers his father would stop at the lounge when he was working downtown. In the grunge years Scott would hang out with friends at Vito’s after shows, ordering their stiff drinks. Spurred by the success of The Hideout, a speakeasy-style bar a few blocks away they established five years prior, Lundgren and Scott felt inspired to tackle the project of restoring Vito’s in 2010. Continue reading

Ready to move beyond ‘new Capitol Hill,’ Lost Lake and Comet veterans teaming up on Post Pike Bar and Cafe on Broadway

Done with Pike/Pine? Post Pike, a new neighborhood bar and cafe coming to the Broadway core, might be the hangout for you.

“We worked on Pike/Pine for so long… this is after,” co-owner Onjoli Dela Torre tells CHS, echoing the thoughts of many Hill long-timers about the Pike/Pine nightlife economy — “That was new Capitol Hill to me,” Dela Torre said.

Currently the general manager at Lost Lake, Dela Torre is teaming up with Comet bartender Max Lovelace on the new project to create a daytime cafe with coffee and sandwiches that will also serve as a hangout bar neighboring the Broadway post office near a collection of other nightlife venues including Blade and Timber, the Highline, and Nacho Borracho.

Continue reading

On a Capitol Hill corner once home to Fran’s, Flight Wine + Chocolate set to join super green Solis building at 13th and Pike

(Image: Flight)

There is a ripple of history for one of the new businesses slated to open soon in the super green Solis apartment development at 13th and Pike. In the years before construction began in 2018 on the Passive House-certified building, the corner was home to Fran’s Chocolates where workers boxed up the sweet treats for two decades on Capitol Hill.

Flight Wine + Chocolate will bring the sweetness back when it opens in the Solis in coming weeks as a wine tasting room and fine chocolate shop from husband and husband team David Wildman and Kevin Morton.

Wildman is the wine guy, Morton, the chocolate guy. The plan is to offer flights of wine from Washington wineries paired with Morton’s chocolates. Continue reading