Capitol Hill restaurants reach new neighborhoods with expansions including Aviv Hummus Bar’s meaty counterpart and Due’ Cucina’s second opening

(Image: Aviv)

After months of operating under COVID-19 restrictions and uncertainty, some Capitol Hill-born restaurants aren’t just digging in to survive but expanding with new locations and what they hope will be recipes for long-term food and drink success.

15th Ave E’s Aviv Hummus Bar is opening its sister restaurant Aviv Shawarma Bar in South Lake Union and Broadway’s Due’ Cucina pasta shop has expanded on the Eastside. Both business expansions began as pre-pandemic endeavours, but offer cuisine well-suited for the coronavirus age of relying primarily on takeout.

Meanwhile, a 15th Ave E original has expanded to Ballard and a sibling of Broadway’s Lionhead has risen near Climate Pledge Arena.

Aviv Shawarma Bar
This shawarma-centered street food spot has opened South Lake Union from the creators of Capitol Hill’s vegetarian friendly Aviv Hummus Bar.

David and Jodi Nussbaum opened their hummus and falafel eatery back in 2017 on 15th Ave E and have been waiting for the right location to bring their shawarma vision to life.

Situated in the up and coming South Lake Union tech area and not far from Capitol Hill, Nussbaum believes the new spot will have adequate foot traffic for the authentic shawarma street food experience of “seeing a glorious, large stack of meat slow rotating in front of a vertical flame that slowly cooks the meat with each rotation, dripping the succulent juices down.” Continue reading

Quieted by pandemic and trashed by break-ins and squatters, Capitol Hill gay dance club Neighbours says it needs your help to survive

(Image: Neighbours)

Break-ins and squatters have decimated the space home to Capitol Hill dance club and iconic Seattle LGBTQ venue Neighbours, shuttered for months under COVID-19 restrictions.

“After 9 years in Vancouver and 38 years in Seattle, Neighbours may have to close their doors,” performer Roxy Doll writes in a fundraiser plea launched to help the nightclub. “COVID-19 is one thing, but to have to replace and rebuild everything on top of being shut down for who knows how much longer. I don’t know if they are going to make it.”

The goal, Doll tells CHS, is to raise enough so that Neighbours can reopen again when restrictions are relaxed and to give any extra to a charity to help others.  You can give here.

But that day is currently a long way away — made even more distant by a mix of brazen and desperate actions. People breaking in cut through the fire door and even a walk-in freezer door at one point. The sound systems, all alcohol, lighting equipment, and all the cameras have been stolen, Doll said. The club has ended up filled with human waste, needles, and trash dragged in from outside. The floor and walls have been spray painted and tagged. Someone cut holes in the walls looking for copper pipes. Continue reading

Kitanda to bring Brazilian lattes — and Brazilian cheese bread — to Broadway to start 2021

(Image: Kitanda)

2021 will bring a massive burst of activity to the area around Capitol Hill Station. The newest location of Eastside-born Brazilian coffee chain Kitanda will put a corner space across from it into motion just in time to be part of the changes.

While your favorite Brazilian might be excited about a coffee shop dedicated to a South American focus on darker, stronger flavors and Kitanda’s acai selections, let’s be real. What they’re really going to be excited about, general manager Laura Alves Ferreira  admits, is the cheese bread, a staple of the culture’s breakfast and morning snacks.

Though the Brazilian lattes with sweet condensed milk will also hold their own, Alves Ferreira says. Continue reading

Helmed by Pike/Pine nightlife vets, Post Pike Bar and Cafe now open for days and nights on Broadway

Day drink or night drink or don’t drink at Post Pike (Image: Post Pike Bar and Cafe)

The Post Pike Bar and Cafe, helmed by two veterans of the Pike/Pine party scene ready for a more chill neighborhood existence on Broadway, is now open.

CHS reported this fall on the project from former Lost Lake manager Onjoli Dela Torre and Comet bartender Max Lovelace to create a daytime/nighttime spot on the Broadway strip replacing the short-lived tamale and cider joint A&A Cafe.

“I love Capitol Hill and working on this side — the fun part,” Dela Torre told CHS earlier about opening on Broadway. “When I lived on Capitol Hill 15 years ago, this is where I hung out.”

Next to the Broadway post office, Post Pike is also opening just in time for your last-minute holiday shipping needs. Continue reading

Remembering Daniel Streissguth and looking back on the growth of Capitol Hill’s family-run hillside gardens

Daniel and Ben worked together to build the Woodland Path in Streissguth Gardens in 1974. (Image: Streissguth Gardens)

By Lily Hansen, UW News Lab/Special to CHS

On a steep hillside just off Broadway sits just over an acre of cultivated woodlands. Home to Seattle’s third-longest stairway, the Blaine Street Steps, with views overlooking Lake Union and the Olympic Mountains, the idyllic gardens are the 48-year product of one dedicated family: the Streissguths.

Its patriarch, Daniel Streissguth, created the garden in 1962 after purchasing a plot of land and constructed a four-story house just north of the staircase. In 1965, Ann Roth Pytkowicz moved into the house next door and began cultivating her own hillside garden.

Bonding over their shared appreciation for gardening, Daniel and Ann fell in love. They married in 1968, and welcomed a son, Ben Streissguth, in 1970. Together, the family of three built, expanded, and maintained the Capitol Hill oasis known as Streissguth Gardens.

On November 21, Daniel died peacefully at his home of natural causes. He was 96.

In honor of his father’s memory, Ben is remembering Daniel for the loving husband, skilled architect, avid gardener, and community socialite he was. With the help of his fiancee and Streissguth Gardens assistant director Jade Takashima, the two are working to ensure that the green space is maintained for generations to come.

In 1972, Daniel and Ann purchased two hillside lots across the Blaine stairs, looking to beautify the land and expand their garden. Although Ben was only two at the time, he has vivid memories of working with his parents in the newly acquired land.

“Some of my earliest memories are of playing in what’s now called the public garden,” he said. “And realizing, even back then, that the soil that we were working with was really horrible. I don’t know how my parents managed to make [gardening] fun for me, but they did. And I’m so grateful to them for that.” Continue reading

For pop-up pizza — and a recipe zine — get Blotto on Broadway

One of Blotto’s pies: Briny Greens, with market greens, taleggio, olives and capers (Image: Blotto)

came from the design world before transitioning to start pizza pop-up Blotto, a word that’s old-fashioned slang for “really drunk” (Image: Blotto)

You’d probably never know it, but hidden at the back of Broadway Alley is a small bakery that hosts Blotto, a pizza pop-up, every Thursday. The “200ish”-square-foot space is a commercial kitchen for Paximadi Co., a local, wholesale Greek bakery, but once a week Jordan Koplowitz rents out the space to make and sell pizzas made with local grains, naturally leavened dough and seasonal ingredients.

The pop-up’s beginning came slightly after the release of a zine in July that featured recipes from Koplowitz’s friends throughout the food and beverage industry. Now sold out, sales from the zine raised $1,030 for the Seattle BIPOC Organic Food Bank

Koplowitz works with partner Christy Wyble, and friend Caleb Hoffmann to debut about four pizza choices every week, along with a salad and dessert option. The weekly menu drops online every Monday at noon for pre-order. Orders are available for pick up at the Broadway Alley bakery Thursday from 5:30 PM to 8 PM. So far, Blotto has been selling out every week. Continue reading

Four arrests after broken glass and graffiti as black bloc marchers mark ‘May 30th’ protest

Dozens of “direct action” protesters marched across Capitol Hill Monday night marking six months since the May 30th clash between demonstrators and police that brought fire, tear gas, and gunfire to Seattle’s core and sparked continuing unrest following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Police reported four people were arrested Monday night out of the group of around 100 for “property damage” and “obstructing a law enforcement officer.”

The “black bloc” marchers spray painted buildings, damaged banks, and reportedly used a baton to smash windows at a business. Images posted by SPD showed a damaged and tagged ATM, and shattered glass at the Broadway Starbucks. Later in the night following the arrests, police reported more attempts to break glass using bricks and an illegal fire at 11th and Denny. Continue reading

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

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