Spinasse’s egg pasta with butter and sage (Image: Spinasse)
August marks a decade of perfect pasta and carefully curated wine inspired by northwest Italy on Capitol Hill’s 14th Ave.
Cascina Spinasse turned ten this month and it celebrated with a party full of longtime customers. “Most of our regulars came over and showered us in love and support,” Spinasse’s general manager Angela Lopez said. “We’ve been on cloud nine for a few days now. It feels great.”
Piedmont is a region in northwestern Italy bordered by France to the west and Switzerland to the northeast. Not only is it an extremely mountainous place — it’s surrounded on three sides by the Alps — much of it is covered by rolling hills and vast plains. The menu at Spinasse, along with its list of wines, is derived largely from the history, traditions and culinary arts of the Piedmontese region.
“We’re lumped into a general Italian category, but really we drill down into the style of a specific place,” Lopez said.
Spinasse was born small but with a passion for amazing pasta. It was half the size at its start but received outsized praise — and produced plenty of food and drink drama. Continue reading →
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.”
14th Ave’s Progressive Missionary Baptist Church is a goner but some of the 109-year-old house of worship’s bits and pieces will live on. CHS stopped by the demolition site earlier this month as a crew from Earthwise Architectural Salvage carefully went about preserving some of the old building’s features including its amazing stained glass.
“The age of it is really the crazy thing,” Earthwise’s Aaron Blanchard said. “We’ve done a couple churches but this is the oldest one.” Continue reading →
The City of Seattle has signed off on a permit to demolish a 109-year-old church on 14th Ave.
The Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections issued the permit last week but when the house of worship owned by the Seattle Word of God Church will be demolished isn’t yet clear.
Word of God Church Pastor Curtis Taylor wouldn’t speak to details about the demolition, and a representative with the demolition contractor Ryatt Construction said the company didn’t have information about when the church would be torn down.
According to city documents, 22 townhouses were being planned to fill the lot, but the project has been canceled, a city permit technician supervisor confirmed. Continue reading →
Stratton on a construction tour of the Spinasse expansion and its new little sister, Artusi
A fashionable Capitol Hill chef at the top of his culinary game is leaving the 14th Ave food and drink scene he helped create and a downtown venture that will partly cloud his exit.
“After leading Spinasse to great popular and critical acclaim over the course of six years, Jason Stratton has decided to move on to explore new opportunities,” an announcement sent by the public relations firm representing Spinasse, its sister bar Artusi, and downtown’s Vespolina read. “Jason will assist the staff in the transition for the next few weeks.”
The timing of the announcement has been a story unto itself in Seattle food and drink media outlets. “The announcement is particularly shocking considering Stratton was just announced as a James Beard Award semifinalist for Best Chef: Northwest for his work at Spinasse,” the Seattle outlet of the national Eater chain noted. Seattle Met reported Stratton is planning to travel in Spain before returning, presumably, to his longtime home turf on Capitol Hill.
But Stratton is also faced with a nearly $90,000 judgement from a lawsuit brought last year by Dolan Built as the construction company fought in court for thousands of dollars it said it was owed for the buildout of Stratton’s downtown restaurant project. Continue reading →
Here’s a business model for thriving in the rich but competitive Pike/Pine food and drink economy: Earn loads of friendships in your 20 years of experience in the Capitol Hill restaurant business and then build a place where all those friends will want to hang out.
Good luck to you!
But Thomas Soukakos has it down.
“I’m all about my friends,” Soukakos tells CHS summing up his two decades of Seattle food and drink experience as he prepared to open his new Omega Ouzeri Thursday on 14th Ave. “My friends will come here.”
Omega, Soukakos says, is the food and drink experience he has always wanted to create. Starting with El Greco on Broadway in 1994 and creating his two Vios restaurants took Soukakos on a path that in many ways mirrored his life with family and a cautious, humble approach to the restaurant business.
The ongoing Capitol Hill food+drink boom appears likely to continue well into 2015. We are only one week into January and already writing about our second new opening of the year.
Happy Nue Year.
This week, Nue, Chris Cvetkovich’s modernist take on global street food, is making its soft opening before gearing up to 100% by Saturday for its official opening. Tuesday night, CHS found that the fog around 14th Ave wasn’t one Cvetkovich’s culinary experiments gone wrong. Inside, his kitchen going right with dry ice clouds flying and unusual menu items like sprat, “bunny chow,” and jerked pig tails on the move.
“It’s the creativity of taking these tried and true flavors and making them even better,” the digital artist and foodie turned first-time restaurant owner told CHS in September. Continue reading →
A food and drink modernist with a global education learned from couchsurfing the world is bringing a “street food” focused gastropub to the dining and drinking scene growing on Capitol Hill’s 14th Ave.
“It’s the creativity of taking these tried and true flavors and making them even better,” Chris Cvetkovich says of the alchemy-like tweaks he is planning in brining the flavors of Vietnamese markets or the Lithuanian Halė to Capitol Hill.
With a mid-November opening target, construction of Nue began this week in the REO Flats building on 14th between Pike and Pine. Neighboring the coming-soon Omega Ouzeri from the Vios family of restaurants and veteran Italian great Spinasse and its little brother Artusi, Cvetkovich says he has a friendly agreement with his new neighbors. “Just don’t do bad Greek food,” Cvetkovich said was the only request from Omega owner Thomas Soukakos.
The architect’s rendering is being built out as you read this (Image: Best Practice Architecture)