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

Sumo Japanese Steak House and Sushi will replace Ha Na on Broadway

The Moses Lake location in pre-mask days (Image: Sumo)

A legacy of Capitol Hill sushi will continue in the Broadway Alley building as a new location for a Japanese restaurant concept with roots in the middle of the state prepares to open this week.

Sumo Japanese Steak House and Sushi is planning to debut its first Seattle location this week, owner Jackie Chi tells CHS. The food and drink entrepreneur said his menu of traditional sushi and hibachi will be a good fit for the neighborhood and, he hopes, will bring new options to Broadway.

With plans for performing chefs working to serve diners as soon as restrictions allow, the restaurants born in Wenatchee and Moses Lake will echo with old school Benihana energy. The Seattle location of that fabled chain, by the way, shuttered in the summer of 2019. 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

Seattle Central will make new home for Intiman Theater on Capitol Hill — and new opportunities for diverse crews to work behind the scenes

(Image: Broadway Performance Hall)

Someday, actors will again put Seattle Central’s Capitol Hill theater spaces back to work. When the lights come up, the spotlight will fall on a new partnership for the Broadway school that will shine light on social justice — and equity in the vital theater roles behind the scenes.

Last week, the college announced it is making a new home for longtime Seattle arts group the Intiman Theater that will create a new associate degree program emphasis in Technical Theatre for Social Justice at the school — and help to provide training and roles for diverse designers, lighting techs, and theater crews.

“We look forward to working with Intiman to provide students with a pathway into the world of technical theater. This partnership is a vivid model of how to better serve our students and how to close the opportunity gaps in our community,” college president Dr. Sheila Edwards Lange said in a statement. Continue reading

Sunday, you can add to the rapidly filling ballot drop box on Broadway and Drag Out The Vote

A Vote With Pride event earlier this month on Broadway (Image: Nate Gowdy)

Ballots for the big November 2020 General Election were sent out to King County voters this week and already there have been reports of people lining up and a full ballot drop box on Broadway outside Seattle Central College.

Don’t worry — the line moves quickly and King County Elections workers have been on the case quickly to get the box emptied and the ballots secured for tabulation.

And, if you’re not yet registered, it’s not too late to be part of the celebration of democracy. 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

Move over Dreamboyz, the hot dog era has arrived on Broadway as Soul Shack opens in longtime Capitol Hill coffee kiosk

Shamont Andrews at the Soul Shack (Image: CHS)

The 80-square-foot kiosk at the southeast corner of Broadway and Harrison has had its fair share of paint jobs and business turnover in recent years.

In a change from the many coffee shop iterations that have laid claim to the space, hearty soul food and hot dog stand Soul Shack on da Hill is now open as of October 1st.

“Our mission with Soul Shack on da hill was to bring a Southern, diverse cultural-based food to Capitol Hill,” co-owner Kyshaun Wilson tells CHS. “We feel like there’s not a lot of Southern, soul food within this area.”

Wilson runs the business alongside fellow food industry entrepreneurs Shamont Andrews, Qiuandre Austin, and Otis Timpleton.

Soul Shack’s current menu includes barbecue smoked ribs, lollipop chicken wings and “RoyalDogz,” their handmade line of smoked beef, pork and chicken hot dogs. Continue reading

Back to school, remotely, on Capitol Hill — Seattle Central College ready to start new year amid COVID-19 challenges

By Ben Adlin

Seattle Central College will remain on lockdown as the fall quarter kicks off on Tuesday, with limited access to the school’s Capitol Hill campus and nearly all coursework conducted remotely. Stations will be set up outside building entrances to screen visitors for COVID symptoms, and an updated ventilation system is designed to swap out indoor air every three minutes.

With no end in sight to the pandemic, college administrators expect the precautions to stretch at least into early next year. The school’s operations are limited by the Gov. Jay Inslee’s phased reopening plan.

“Until we get there in terms of public health, the number of cases, testing, everything, we’re not going to be able to bring back more people onto campus,” said SCC President Sheila Edwards Lange. “Initially we thought that we’d be in Phase 3 right now, to be honest, but we’re still in Phase 2.”

The concerns about the virus go beyond health. Last week a small group of demonstrators gathered in a parking garage on campus to demand that Seattle Colleges, which includes Seattle Central, establish a worker-led decision-making process, make cuts to the administrative budget to pay for programs and staff, provide free tuition for students and enact progressive taxes to fully fund colleges as the pandemic seems likely to bring budget cuts to the system.

Already the back-to-school season has brought fears—and growing evidence—of new coronavirus outbreaks. One recent study, which has yet to be peer-reviewed, estimated that an extra 3,200 cases a day may have been caused in recent weeks by face-to-face instruction at U.S. colleges and universities.

To combat that spread, only a handful of Seattle Central’s course offerings this quarter will include in-person instruction. Most of those programs, such as nursing, carpentry and culinary arts, require in-class evaluation for accreditation or practical reasons.

And students in those programs, administrators said, will still see a number of pandemic-related changes, including an increased emphasis on remote learning. Nursing students, for example, will rely more on computer simulations instead of hands-on practice.

Most other programs, meanwhile, will be entirely remote, relying on video presentations, the online learning management tool Canvas and even, on occasion, good old-fashioned snail mail. Continue reading