Monsoon marks 20 years — and ‘a little bit’ of growth — on Capitol Hill

(Image: Monsoon)

Brother and sister restaurateurs Sophie and Eric Banh are marking 20 years of business on 19th Ave E. Their Vietnamese Seattle classic Monsoon will have a “20 Bucks for 20 Years” menu starting this weekend featuring “a handful of dishes that were very popular in the early years” and are still popular today.

We’re going to bet that the drunken chicken made the list.

Surviving two decades on the Hill’s quieter side, Monsoon has grown — literally — along with the neighborhood’s food and drink offerings. In 2014, it doubled its capacity, incorporating a bar, and adding a rooftop patio to the restaurant. “It’s amazing how the world turns around,” Eric Banh told CHS about Monsoon’s survival and expansion. “We almost became homeless in 2007. We survived. And now we’re growing. A little bit.” Continue reading

Zeeks Capitol Hill adds pizza to 19th Ave E’s growing food+drink menu

If you’re looking for your 19th Ave E dad, we might know where he’s been hanging out

Families on Capitol Hill’s quieter eastern slopes have already become accustomed to beating a path to 19th and Mercer for Whidbey Island-style tacos and Macklesmore-style cookies. The intersection will now have even more foot, scooter, and stroller traffic — the first Zeeks Pizza on Capitol Hill is now open.

Debuting Monday with an afternoon of free slices, the company said the new joint has been ready to go but held up from a planned opening in late 2018 due to a few paperwork issues with the new mixed-use building it calls home, The Shea.

The company said it has long coveted a presence on Capitol Hill. The 19th Ave E location is being opened by Sean Murray, a franchise owner who lives in the neighborhood only a few blocks away. With a new pizza restaurant only blocks away from two elementary schools, a Hebrew academy, a middle school, and Holy Names, he has probably made a wise investment.  Continue reading

CHS Pics | Early contender for saddest Capitol Hill story of the year

It’s only January 7th and we already have a contender for the saddest story in 2019 on Capitol Hill.

A new, heartbreaking flyer has joined the mix of lost dog and house cleaning service ads on utility poles around 19th Ave.

“First flight the plane took off and kept going!,” it reads. “We could see it high in the sky fly over Meany Middle School and it kept flying north.”

During the recent wind-whipped days, did you see a small, blue and white remote control airplane soaring tragically to the north?

You can make this possible saddest of 2019 into the happiest Capitol Hill story of the year. An image of the full flyer is here complete with contact info for the pilot’s crew.


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More food+drink changes on 19th Ave E as now-teenage Vios up for sale

(Image: Vios Cafe)

This has nothing to do with the new neighbors. Some 14 years after he opened the Greek cafe on 19th Ave E, Thomas Soukakos has decided to sell the restaurant.

But don’t shoot dirty looks across the street at the newly opened Macrina Cafe.

“Thomas has been around the block quite a few times,” wife and business partner Rebecca Soukakos tells CHS about the decision. When Thomas opened Vios, his son was two. Today, he’s a junior in high school.

Rebecca says that Thomas is now ready to focus on his “grown up” restaurant — Omega Ouzeri, which opened on 14th Ave in 2015.

“Until the new buyer is found, Vios Cafe & Marketplace will continue to celebrate life with our neighbors, and we hope neighbors will continue the celebration at Omega Ouzeri,” they write in the announcement of the planned sale. Continue reading

Channeling the spirit of E Aloha and the legendary Surrogate Hostess, Macrina now open on Capitol Hill

Macrina Bakery and Cafe is celebrating 25 years of business in Seattle with the opening of its fifth cafe Thursday morning.

The new Macrina at 19th and Aloha is hoped to channel the spirit of the Surrogate Hostess that used to be housed in the 1925-built building overhauled by contractors over the past five months. That Capitol Hill legend was known for its communal tables — and warm cinnamon rolls.

New legends are set to be made at the new bakery with exposed beams and a sleek white and grey palette. Continue reading

CHS Pics | ‘Honk for teachers’ — UPDATE: Tentative agreement

 District officials said Friday they are hopeful for a tentative agreement this weekend after the union representing teachers and educators at Seattle Public Schools said it is prepared to strike.

UPDATE 9/1/2018 6:45 AM: Both sides announced a tentative agreement in the negotiations Friday night. The full announcement from SPS is below.

Thursday afternoon on Capitol Hill, CHS found a group gathered on the corner of 19th and Galer outside Stevens Elementary to bring attention to their push for increased wages for teachers, librarians, and other school staff. Continue reading

Tallulah’s on its own as Linda bids farewell to Capitol Hill’s 19th Ave E

Brunch on Tallulah’s patio reportedly sealed the deal (Images: CHS)

Linda Derschang has put a member of her Capitol Hill food and drink family in new hands. The proprietor behind OddfellowsLinda’s and Smith has sold her 19th Ave E project Tallulah’s and has something new — but typically Linda — cooking in Belltown.

The new owner at Tallulah’s is Brad Haggen, part of the family behind the Haggen grocery chain. The entrepreneur and investor tells CHS that the Linda Derschang creation represented a “no brainer” opportunity as was looking for businesses to start or buy following his family’s 2016 sale of their interest in the grocery chain.

A brunch visit with his wife to the busy restaurant at the corner of 19th and Mercer reportedly sealed the deal.

Continue reading

Chamber pulls back on plan to expand ‘Business Improvement Area’ and property assessments across Hill

The Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce is pulling back on a years-long plan to expand a Business Improvement Area (BIA) property assessment that would provide hundreds of thousands of dollars for providing street clean-up and merchant support across the neighborhood.

In the announcement from the chamber’s executive committee, the group said it is “re-assessing how the BIA is organized at a larger level based on the changing political situation right now in Seattle.”

“[I]t is apparent that while the intent of the proposed BIA is for a stronger and better Capitol Hill, a shifting political reality in Seattle has made communities less trustful of how money is being spent,” the chamber announcement reads. “Seattle and Capitol Hill are very different places from when this proposal was crafted.” Continue reading

Blotter | Early morning SWAT raid at Capitol Hill house, Louisa Boren greenbelt death — UPDATE

See something others should know about? Email CHS or call/txt (206) 399-5959. You can view recent CHS Crime coverage here.

  • SWAT raid: At least two people were taken into custody in an early Wednesday morning SWAT raid on a Capitol Hill house near 19th and E Howell. According to reports from people living in the area, booms from police explosive devices went off around 6 AM and an armored SWAT vehicle was parked in front of the house. Police were also attempting to communicate with someone inside the house using a loudspeaker. “Police are on bullhorn telling someone to come out and there were 2 big bangs,” one neighbor reported to CHS. The situation was reported as “secure” around 6:30 AM by a commander at the scene, per East Precinct radio dispatches. We’ll check with SPD to learn more about the raid. UPDATE: A spokesperson tells us SPD was not the lead agency on this morning’s raid and could provide no additional details about the arrests. UPDATE x2: No word on if it is related, but the Department of Justice announced it will hold an afternoon press conference with U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes and “other federal, state and local law enforcement leaders” for a briefing “on a major drug ring takedown involving more than 45 locations and 500 officers today in King, Pierce, Skagit, Thurston and Snohomish Counties.” “Today’s actions follow a series of drug trafficking investigations that have taken dozens of conspirators off the street, in an effort to address drug and attendant violent crime patterns in the Puget Sound Region,” the announcement reads. UPDATE x3: We’re still trying to confirm who was taken into custody this morning but the DOJ announced 35 people were arrested on drug and gun crimes in a series of FBI-led operations. “In the fourth major drug trafficking ring takedown in as many months, federal, state and local law enforcement officers fanned out across King, Pierce, Snohomish, Skagit and Thurston Counties to execute search warrants and arrest more than 35 members of a drug trafficking organization, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. Today’s arrests are the fourth takedown in a series of cases aimed at reducing drug and gang violence in Seattle, South King and North Pierce Counties.” UPDATE x4: We have confirmed that the raid was part of the federal drug and gun sweep.
  • Greenbelt rescue: Seattle Fire and Seattle Police made their way deep into the overgrown greenbelt below the Louisa Boren Lookout park early Wednesday after a 911 caller reported his friend was unconscious, and unresponsive at a campsite in the leafy ravine. According to East Precinct dispatches, officers located the site just after 6 AM about 1,000 yards down the steep trail below the overlook near a tree marked “Dead End.” Seattle Fire began life saving procedures on the unconscious male and he was taken back up the trail to Harborview. We do not have further information on his condition at this time. A chaplain was called to Harborview, according to Seattle Fire radio. Metro route 10 service was disrupted as police closed off E Garfield for Seattle Fire vehicles during the response. UPDATE: Seattle Fire tells us the victim, a male in his 20s, died at the scene.

UPDATE 2/17/2019: We have 700+ 767 subscribers. Help us get to 800! If you appreciate and value our coverage, please tell your friends and neighbors TODAY to become a subscriber at $1/$5/$10 a month to help CHS provide community news with NO PAYWALL. You can also sign up for a one-time annual payment. Why support CHS? More here.


Police take man in reported drug crisis into custody after struggle inside Capitol Hill elementary school gym

It took four officers to subdue a man high on drugs and suffering a crisis who fought with Seattle Police after making his way inside a Capitol Hill elementary school Tuesday morning, according to emergency dispatch reports.

SPD was first contacted about the man behaving erratically outside the 19th Ave E side of the campus around 8 AM as parents dropped off kids for the school day. Just before 9 AM, the arriving officer put out a call for “fast backup” assistance as he struggled to take the man into custody inside the school’s gymnasium, according to East Precinct radio reports. Continue reading