Redevelopment lined up to replace Capitol Hill ‘drive thru’ All Seasons Cleaners

It’s no Wash Land laundromat but there will be plenty of people across Capitol Hill sad to see a neighborhood dry cleaner make way for a planned E Olive Way development.

All Seasons Cleaners has held a special place in Capitol Hill culture over the years as home to a regular streetside flea market just off Broadway. It’s also a well regarded dry cleaner. According to new plans, the property is being readied for demolition to make way for a planned seven-story mixed-use project. Continue reading

With plans for pot in background, Amante Pizza exits E Olive Way and Denny

CHS comes to bury Amante’s, not to praise them (Image: sparklingallison)

There is a casualty in the great E Olive Way pot land rush. Amante Pizza will no longer be operating its infamous, pulsating display sign at the corner of E Olive Way and Denny.

Calls to the Hill pizza joint reveal that it has shut down operations at its longtime home and is referring customers to delivery from its 10th Ave E location. We’re still trying to connect with ownership to find out more about the closure. Continue reading

The three-way race to open first E Olive Way pot shops has two winners

Uncle Ike’s E Olive Way project

The state still has licenses to issue but the three-way race to open for two available retail spot spaces on E Olive Way appears to be over. Judging by the latest updates from the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board and City of Seattle construction permits, CHS can declare two winners.

Congratulations to the pot purveyors at The Reef and to another familiar face in Capitol Hill pot — Uncle Ike’s. Continue reading

Work wraps up on Capitol Hill’s Summit Slope Park enhancements and ‘pedestrianized’ street

Summit Slope Park — and its P-Patch — will get a little larger next month but some of the biggest changes from its most recent round of construction are already in place and in use.

The $260,000 project renovated the park at Summit and E John which first opened in 2011. Construction wrapping up to begin 2018 including preparing space for trees and turf patches to be installed along an extended sidewalk cut into half of the block. Vehicle traffic on E John will remain open, but parking in front of the park has been removed. Continue reading

Baking for both sides of Capitol Hill’s Gluten Divide: Q&A with Toby Matasar

Toby Matasar is rapidly diversifying her mini-empire of baked goods on Capitol Hill.

A second-generation pastry chef trained in New York and Paris who moved here in 2000, Matasar gained a loyal following running Eats Market Café in West Seattle for a decade. Following the cafe’s 2015 closure, Matasar started a new venture, the Niche Gluten Free Café and Bakery on 12th Ave across from Seattle U, which coincided with her own transition to a paleo diet. In 2017, she bought Crumble & Flake on E Olive Way from acclaimed baker Neil Robertson.

The two daytime eateries are now doing brisk business serving both sides of the gluten divide. Matasar continues to expand and adapt their menus, and she speaks with enthusiasm about her evolving craft and growing clientele. I asked Matasar a few questions about her upcoming plans (French ice cream! Candy!) and the challenges she faces balancing decadence with dietary restrictions.

Is baking a science, an art, or some sort of alchemy? It’s both a science and an art. Those are good words to describe it. There’s definitely a science side to it—you have to be willing to be very technical and the procedures have to be the same every time. There’s definitely an art to it, too, because it’s very visual—you have to know what the bubbles are supposed to look like on your caramel, what the batter should look like. You can’t just look at the picture in a book and expect to get it right if you’re not aware of the ripeness of the fruit or the humidity for certain cakes and cookies and whatnot. Also, a lot of art goes into the techniques for plating, which is the beautiful part because I’m the worst artist. This is my only medium—I can’t draw at all! Continue reading

Making way for E Olive Way academy, Artful Dodger finds new E Pike home

When CHS broke the news about the next big project on E Olive Way being the kind of surprising, kind of not International Montessori Academy, an important element of the story didn’t get much attention. We’re happy to break some more news — displaced by the new future for its longtime E Olive Way home, Capitol Hill tattoo shop the Artful Dodger is making a few block move to E Pike.

“All of our artists will still be with us, so it will be the same talented team of tattooers that people know and love!” manager Erick Lingbloom tells CHS. Continue reading

The Saint is back and very pink as no-restaurant, all-bar club

Thanks to Seattle’s incrementally climbing minimum wage law, Capitol Hill’s The Saint is now pink. Very pink.

Quentin Ertel reopened his E Olive Way over the weekend in a “bougainvillea pink” overhaul designed to bring the Mexican-themed hangout more into the business framework of his other Hill ventures like the Havana nightclub. The restaurant is gone, the focus on tequila and mezcal, doubled. Ertel told CHS in September before closing The Saint for upgrades and the dramatic new paint job that it was too difficult to compete with larger restaurant groups to keep a top notch restaurant crew staffed. “We were paying on the level of big companies. And we’re basically a taco shack,” Ertel said.

The new Saint reopened with a private party Thursday night and enjoyed its first weekend back in the E Olive Way bar zone with more space for booze, cocktails, and partying inside:

Inspired by the vibrant colors of a matador’s jacket, black, gold, and bright pink play a prominent role in the design concept. Circles of gold leaf on the windows provide a peek into the lounge where plush black and gold banquettes are the perfect spot to enjoy a cocktail with friends.

“DJ nights are in the works,” the PR promises.

Now, with the bright pink paint, The Saint is a party on the outside, too.

The Saint is located at 1416 E Olive Way. You can learn more at

Next for E Olive Way restaurant space: International Montessori Academy

One of the more rapidly blighted empty spaces on Capitol Hill will spring back to life in 2018. The little ones who will put it to use every day will say more about Capitol Hill Station and the neighborhood’s proximity to downtown than this stretch of Capitol Hill’s nightlife growth or a new highly anticipated industry coming to the street.

The International Montessori Academy, a Bellevue-based provider of Mandarin Chinese, French, or Spanish language immersion and Montessori education for elementary school-age children, is set to begin construction to overhaul the former home of the giant Zhu Dang restaurant on E Olive Way, shuttered since late November 2015. Before its life as a restaurant, the short-lived The Social nightclub venture overhauled the building as a dance club and restaurant.

“It’s close to downtown with very easy access and there are lots of families on North Capitol Hill,” school founder Yimin Chen tells CHS about the next big project coming to E Olive Way. “People live there, people work there.”

In addition to overhauling the building to serve as a school, the academy is a major investment. A company owned by Chen purchased the 1928-built property for $4.8 million over the summer. The seller was the family behind Zhu Dang — they had paid more than $3.3 million for it in 2013. Continue reading

High aspirations at By the Pound, Capitol Hill’s first deli counter with a secret bar

What if CHS told you a group of people expert at putting together Seattle’s DJ dance nights and building a party scene also wanted to create a space for contemplation, inspiration, spiritual enlightenment, and conversation over a good old fashioned? What if we told you that space would be secreted away behind a Capitol Hill deli counter and you would walk through a meat locker door to get there?

“If you want a great social space, there’s no greater aspiration — feeling warm, feeling comfortable, and having it kind of push you into conversation,” Sean Majors tells CHS about the lofty ideas and ideals behind By the Pound, a new “New York meets Seattle” deli counter business that is now open on E Olive Way at Harvard that has more going on behind the scenes. Continue reading

E Olive Way the next land of Capitol Hill pot opportunity as three shops line up for two spots

(Image: nduffy45 via Instagram)

Three different businesses want to open a pot shop on E Olive Way between Melrose and Denny. City rules would permit two locations to open, but the third could be left out.

Northwest Cannabis applied for a shop in a building next to The Crescent on October 20th. That entity is backed by marijuana advocate John Davis, and somehow involves Ian Eisenberg, owner of Uncle Ike’s.

The Reef filed its application November 9th, and wants to open a shop in the Amante Pizza building.

Finally, The Bakeree filed an application November 14th, looking to open in the building the houses John John’s Game Room, though not necessarily in the John John’s space.

In another wrinkle, all three buildings changed hands in recent months. The Reef’s proposed home sold for $1.4 million in June. In September, Eisenberg paid more than $2 million for the former law offices next to the Crescent. The biggest deal of them all also went down in September. Real estate investment firm Teutsch Partners snapped up the building home to John John’s, Pie Bar, and the Speckled and Drake bar for a whopping $4.3 million. Continue reading