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

A frequent target during Capitol Hill protests, E Olive Way Starbucks reopening

Downtown and Capitol Hill locations of the Starbucks chain are reopening after weeks of closures amid bouts of regular property damage from protest groups targeting the Seattle-based coffee giant.

A call to the E Olive Way location confirmed that the store is open again on a limited schedule after what the manager said was a five-week closure. For now, it is open only on weekdays but weekend hours are planned to be restored after November 30th. For now, the shop is also takeout and delivery only.

Most questions about the closures needed to be answered by Starbucks media relations, the manager told CHS. The company has not replied to multiple inquiries from CHS in recent weeks.

The company has said it is also making changes to its locations to add better spaces for mobile ordering and pickup “due to a retail environment that has shifted because of COVID-19 and to meet the already evolving customer needs of convenience.” The E Olive shop was closed for weeks late this summer for an overhaul following that announcement.

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Union Coffee, under new ownership and out to curb the narrative in the Central District

Sky Iraheta (left), Geetu Vailoor (center) and Felix Kim Trần (right) (Image: Union Coffee)

At the height of spring COVID-19 uncertainty, one thing was certain for coffee connoisseur Geetu Vailoor: she was about to become the owner of a specialty coffee shop.

“I know the narrative around the Central District is that it has been quite gentrified, and when I think about speciality coffee and coffee shops in general they tend to be a sign of gentrification,” Vailoor said. “I’d like to curb that narrative and rewrite that because I think that coffee is for everyone.”

Four-year-old Union Coffee, located just a block east of 23rd and Union, has a new owner — and also a new outdoor patio to add to its takeout offerings along with wine bottleservice added to the coffee and pastry menu. You can add the new mission to the list.

Vailoor took over the business just a few days after state coronavirus restrictions barred in-store seating at the end of March. She initially got in touch with Union Coffee’s founder Zack Reinig, spouse of Molly Moon Neitzel of Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream, during her days as a wholesale manager at Boon Boona Coffee in Renton. After learning he was looking to sell Union Coffee, Vailoor decided to take her years of coffee experience to the next level as the business’s new owner. Continue reading

AT&T pulls the plug on its Capitol Hill ‘Lounge’ retail experiment and Ada’s Discovery Cafe

The AT&T Lounge and Ada’s Discovery Cafe (Image: CHS)

Telecommunications giant AT&T has ended its Capitol Hill experiment. The Lounge by AT&T and Ada’s Discovery Cafe will not reopen as COVID-19 restrictions are slowly lifted.

“With more customers shopping online, we are closing a small percentage of our retail stores to reflect our customers’ shopping practices,” Jim Kimberly, director of corporate communications for AT&T, tells CHS. “While these plans are not new, they have been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Ada’s owner Danielle Hulton confirmed the closure, telling CHS that AT&T’s decision to shutter the store meant the end of the cafe. Continue reading

Fuel to join Ada’s family, adding books to blend of coffee, community

(Image: Fuel Coffee)

(Image: Fuel Coffee)

It’s a blend that should work out, mixing the 15-year-old creation of a Seattle coffee veteran  with the energy of two Capitol Hill entrepreneurs who have a vision for growing cafe communities and independent book retail.

Fuel Coffee and its three locations in the 19th Ave E Stevens neighborhood, Montlake, and Wallingford is becoming part of the Ada’s family of bookshops and cafes. The merger is the outgrowth of conversations that started well before the outbreak and is ready to move forward now that reopening plans are taking shape, both sides say. It’s now a vision that seems even more clear after weeks of COVID-19 restrictions with neighbors sticking mostly to their nearby streets.

“Community is even more important,” Danielle Hulton says.

The new Fuel will be a flip of how the original Ada’s was shaped on 15th Ave E. Ada’s is a community built around books — Fuel shops will be built around coffee. Continue reading

Signs of Capitol Hill normalcy: Vivace returns — Plus, Capitol Hill’s COVID-19 ‘Phase 1’ takeout cocktails

(Image: Espresso Vivace)

This week started with another step toward normalcy on Capitol Hill — Espresso Vivace is back open:

Vivace will open it’s Brix location at 532 Broadway Ave. E. tomorrow morning at 7 AM for coffee to go. In addition Alley24 will be open at 10 AM both of which close at 5 PM. 321 Broadway,our sidewalk bar, will open on Saturday.

Hope you can make an announcement for our devoted customers



The heart and soul of Capitol Hill craft coffee for more than 30 years, Vivace joins the hardworking core of neighborhood coffee joints that have been pulling shots and foaming oat milk throughout the outbreak. Feel free to add a thankful shoutout to your favorite in comments.

As Capitol Hill food and drink gears up for the challenges and opportunities coming in the transition to “Phase 2” restrictions for restaurants and bars, an in-between period could carry on for a long while as your favorite neighborhood joints try to recover with creative — and tasty — “to go” creations. Continue reading

18th Ave’s Tougo Coffee one of the first confirmed Capitol Hill and Central District business casualties of the COVID-19 crisis

(Image: Tougo Coffee)

When it comes to the life of Capitol Hill and Central District businesses, we might not know with certainty about any sad passings until the COVID-19 crisis subsides.

Two neighborhood cafes are closing this week — one is clearly saying goodbye while the other’s fate is obscured by the fog of the crisis.

The Central District’s Tougo Coffee will become one of the area’s first confirmed business casualties of the COVID-19 crisis. Owner Brian Wells announced his decision Wednesday: Continue reading

After a bitter 2019, Caffe Vita’s new owner wants to give employees voice

By Ragini Gupta, UW News Lab/Special to CHS

Caffe Vita began 2020 with a new start but its new owner wants to make sure the E Pike-headquartered company addresses the issues that arose in 2019.

A few months after protests against Caffe Vita for firing two employees who gave away food to homeless people, restaurateur Deming Maclise took ownership of the 25-year-old company from founder Mike McConnell on January 1st.

Maclise began his career in 1991 as a barista when the term wasn’t as popular — it was just called “making coffee,” he said.

Maclise opened Caffè Fiore after 10 years of working as a barista and managing coffeehouses and then progressed to opening several of the most popular restaurants in Seattle, including Bastille, Poquitos, and Rhein Haus, between 2009 and 2018. At some point he started missing the coffee world and wanted to incorporate more of it into his business.

“You show up in a neighborhood with a coffeehouse, you can really create a hub of the community and the neighborhood around that cafe pretty powerfully if you have the right environment, the right people, the right interaction going on,” Maclise said. Continue reading

Cafe to become Love + Flour as Essential Bakery exits Madison Valley

(Image: CHS)

The dreaded paper sign in the window has gone up at the Essential Bakery Cafe in Madison Valley but in this case, the message is not about a closure on E Madison.

Or, at least, it won’t be a long one.

The Seattle baking company has sold its cafe to a new owner who is ready to keep the comfortable hangout full of soups and sandwiches, baked treats, and fresh Essential bread.

“We’re just looking to keep our little family here,” Jenny Finau told CHS Wednesday afternoon. Continue reading

King of Capitol Hill’s coffee culture, Caffe Vita is in new hands

There were signs something new was coming. In the last days of 2019, a Seattle real estate investment company purchased the E Pike building home to the headquarters and roasting facility of Caffe Vita from Vita owner Mike McConnell for $5 million and also rolled out a new 10-year lease for a new Vita entity incorporated last August with ownership that only listed a lawyer and a law firm.

Seattle Met has the scoop. Caffe Vita has a new owner:

On January 1, Deming Maclise officially took over Vita’s 10 shops (spread across Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, and Brooklyn), three roasting facilities, and a network of hundreds of wholesale customers in all 50 states, not to mention a critical mass of Seattle bars and restaurants.
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