City Council passes secure scheduling law, rezone at 23rd and Union

Service industry workers and the unions representing them scored victory at City Hall Monday as the City Council unanimously approved a new secure scheduling ordinance in Seattle.

Workers at some of Seattle’s largest restaurants and retailers will be paid extra for short notice schedule changes and on-call shifts once the law goes into effect in July 2017. Supporters say it will offer a much-needed level of predictability for hourly workers, especially those with children or those attending school.

The law will apply to restaurants and retailers with 500 or more employees in Seattle or nationally. Full service restaurants would also need to have 40 or more locations worldwide.

Employers will be restricted from scheduling “clopenings,” where employees work closing and opening shifts back-to-back, unless an employer requests it. Workers will be required to have at least ten hours between shifts. Employers would also be required to offer existing employees additional hours before new employees are hired. Continue reading

Should restaurants have to pay workers extra for schedule changes and on-call shifts?


Kshama Sawant visited a Starbucks last year to explain her first major workers rights victory — the $15 minimum wage . (image: CHS)

One restaurant worker on Capitol Hill said fluctuating work hours each month were a “constant stress” as making rent perpetually hangs in the balance. A Hillman City fast-food manager said scheduling is an enormous task and when employees cannot pick up shifts, it is usually management that forgoes personal and family time to fill the gap.

The anecdotes, included in an extensive 119-page report on hardships faced by Seattle workers due to shifting work schedules, offers a glimpse into the contentious waters city officials are wading into as they consider a new secure scheduling ordinance.

A city-contracted researcher found that a third of workers surveyed faced serious hardships because of their work schedule, with African American and Latino workers reporting “significantly higher” than average rates of hardship. Nearly half of the workers surveyed said they would forego a 20% pay increase to secure substantive advanced notice for work.

“The data reveals that a significant number of Seattle employees’ schedules produce hardship including difficulty planning a budget, a second job, and childcare needs,” said Council member Lisa Herbold in a statement. Continue reading

New ownership for Tavern Law after founder filed for bankruptcy

In the latest chapter from the fallout of a crumbled family of food and drink businesses, two Eastside real estate professionals have taken over Tavern Law, one of the pillars of Pike/Pine’s craft cocktail scene.

Mark O’Shea, a Bellevue property manager, recently bought the business along with Derek Straight, a former executive with a large West Coast housing developer. O’Shea confirmed the ownership change with CHS but we are still waiting to hear details on the duo’s plans for the 12th and E Madison bar.

The buyout comes in the wake of financial troubles faced by Tavern Law co-founder Brian McCracken, one of Capitol Hill’s craft cocktail pioneers. In June, CHS reported on the $2.4 million bankruptcy behind the sudden closure of 12th Ave’s The Old Sage. According to documents filed in Western District of Washington United States Bankruptcy Court, McCracken and his wife filed May 20th for chapter 7 protection over some $2.4 million in debts. The big number is owed to Key Bank — $1,248,498.16. Continue reading

Authentic Belgian waffle shop Sweet Iron is coming to Pike/Pine


Born downtown, Sweet Iron is expanding to Capitol Hill. (Images: Sweet Iron)

Deciding what to eat on the backside of Pike/Pine is about to get even tougher this summer. Downtown’s authentic Belgian waffle shop Sweet Iron is expanding to 10th and E Union.

Unlike the syrup-drenched American version, real-deal Liege waffles are quite the versatile food, appropriate for breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner, or dessert. And especially appropriate when paired with beer. “It just depends on what time of day it is and what kind of toppings you have,” said owner Adrienne Jeffrey.

The waffle shop is set to open in the massive Broadstone Infinity development on a block of E Union between 10th and 11th sometime this summer, Jeffrey said. The shop will be squeezed between Renee Erickson’s impressive triumvirate of Melusine, Bateau, and General Porpoise and Soi, which opened as the 19th and easily the most ambitious Thai restaurant in Central Seattle.

Sweet Iron’s freshly made plain waffles can be adorned with any number of toppings, like fresh berry compote with whipped cream, or brie, bacon, and basil. Sweet Iron Capitol Hill will have a waffle menu similar to its downtown location, with the addition of beer, wine, and even a mimosa bar.

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Bill’s Off Broadway is reopening after a two year construction hiatus

The long wait is finally over for Capitol Hill pizza lovers, Seahawks fans, and morning beer drinkers alike. Bill’s Off Broadway is ready to reopen at Harvard Ave and E Pine after taking a nearly two year timeout from its 35-year run.

Doors are expected to open at 4 PM on Monday, according to Bill’s owner Don Stevens (and the countdown clock that just went live on the new Bill’s website). There are no special celebrations planned for the reopening — Stevens said he’s just eager to getting back to doing what Bill’s does best.

“It’s nice to declare it’s time for people to come back in and have a good time,” Stevens told CHS. “I’m looking forward to sitting down and having a beer with some of my old Capitol Hill friends.”

UPDATE: Beers, baseball, and pizza. All was right again inside Bill’s Monday afternoon as customers streamed in for the bar’s grand reopening. CHS was there for a first look at the new space.


Longtime owner Don Stevens surveys the first pizzas from Bill’s Off Broadway 2.0 (Image: Alex Garland for CHS)

The revamped Bill’s will include an expanded food menu and a beer list kicked up to 18 taps, as well as a couple dozen more chairs and a bigger kitchen. However, Stevens said much of the wood paneling and fixtures from the original restaurant were saved to preserve the old Bill’s charm.

“Anybody that has a history with Bill’s Off Broadway is going to walk in there and know they’re in Bill’s Off Broadway,” Stevens said.

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12th Ave communal development residents plan Rooftop Farm to showcase urban agriculture

original_ground-breakingThe neighbors of 12th Ave’s Capitol Hill Urban Cohousing where each resident is an equal member of the company that owns the project are watching their building rise on the street where ground was broken on their communal development last fall.

As construction reaches the fourth floor, the group is launching a crowdfunding campaign to create a rooftop garden for the project as a community exhibition of hyperlocal farming involving Seattle Central Community College’s Sustainable Agriculture program:

Through outreach and partnership, it is our goal to use this farm to benefit our surrounding community as much as possible. We expect the programs we set up to evolve and expand as the farm becomes more established. In our first year the farm will be managed by volunteers and interns from Seattle Central Community College’s Sustainable Agriculture program. We plan to lead free monthly tours for the public, and education workshops for children. We also plan to have an outreach stand at the Capitol Hill Farmers Market in order to share our project with the larger community. We will sell a portion of our organic produce to neighboring restaurant, Lark, in order to cover the cost of operating year-round. We will also donate produce to neighboring food banks or meal programs. We will establish and nourish partnerships with other interested restaurants and organization in our community.

The Rooftop Farm will serve the building’s residents but they are hoping with community support to make the project into a larger vision. “As one of Seattle’s fastest-growing and most densely populated neighborhoods, Capitol Hill provides a unique opportunity for us to grow together through urban farming expansion, awareness and education,” they write. “The intent of our farm in the city is to educate local children, and the general public, about the benefits of hyper-local food production, to demonstrate what a successful year-round organic rooftop farm looks like, and to act as a catalyst for the creation of a Capitol Hill food network—one which will connect neighbors, local restaurants, and local organizations around local food production.”

The goal is $10,000. As of Friday morning, nearly $4,000 has been raised.

You can learn more and give on The Rooftop Farm Barnraiser page.

All day and all of the night, Lost Lake turns 2 as prolific Pike/Pine owners plan new ventures


Jason Lajeunesse, Dave Meinert, and Joey Burgess (Image: Alex Garland for CHS)

If you have to crack a few eggs to make an omelet, cracking roughly half a million will apparently help a 24-hour diner hit its stride.

That’s what the partners behind 10th and E Pike’s Lost Lake Cafe have learned since the round-the-clock joint opened in May 2013, and theoy’re showing no signs of fatigue. Along with managing the Comet, Big Mario’s, and recent acquisitions Grim’s and The Woods, the Guild Seattle team are now opening a new Italian restaurant on 19th Ave E.


(Images: CHS)

So, more egg orders aside, where do Dave MeinertJason Lajeunesse, and new partner Joey Burgess go from here? Let the Queen Anne takeover begin. While they wouldn’t divulge the exact location, the trio told CHS they will expand E Pine’s Big Mario’s pizza to Queen Anne sometime this year as their first local chain.

Lost Lake and the Comet are CHS advertisers.

CHS was there when Lost Lake opened its doors two years ago. Aside from one late-night closure every few months for deep cleaning, the diner’s doors have been open ever since. In that time, manager Burgess has been executing what amounts to five services a day: breakfast, lunch, happy hour, dinner, and late night. “I think we can really pull it off now,” he said.

A good time to experience it all in one 24-hour bender will be Friday, May 8th, as Lost Lake celebrates its two year anniversary with $2 benedicts, $2 burgers, and $2 wells. You’re lucky it’s not their 20th birthday. Continue reading

Capitol Hill’s newest lunch spot Meat & Bread opens inside the Central Agency building

IMG_7106The name pretty much says it all when it comes to Capitol Hill’s latest lunch counter. Vancouver-based Meat & Bread opened for business Monday inside the Central Agency building on 10th Ave between E Union and E Seneca.

Owners Cord Jarvie and Frankie Harrington hopped the border to oversee the soft opening of their fourth popular sandwich shop on Friday, where CHS got a sneak peek of the operation. Harrington told CHS he frequently came to Capitol Hill as a teenager growing up outside Vancouver and was ecstatic to make his mark in the neighborhood.

In Seattle, Jarive and Harrington are replicating their working recipe that keeps things simple with a menu pared down to four daily offerings. Opting for roasts and slow-cooked meats over the deli sliced variety, daily sandwiches include porchetta (roast pork), meatball, and grilled cheese with one rotating option. Most sandwiches go for around $10.

The menu does include a few non meat and bread items, including a rotating side soup and salad, two desserts, and $1.50 Rainier tallboys.

Continue reading

Capitol Hill’s Kimchi Bistro *not* closing down

Kimchi Bistro is safe and sound

Kimchi Bistro is projected to open its doors in a week.

To those who worried Broadway Alley’s Kimchi Bistro was closing its doors forever, fear not—the bistro isn’t going away.

Due to a hardship in the family, the owners of the hole-in-the-wall restaurant have been home in Korea the last few weeks, putting the tiny eatery on temporary shutdown until their return. According to surrounding storeowners, Bonsuk Park and family intended to return sooner, but decided to extend their stay.

The restaurant should re-open next week when the family returns home, according to the bistro’s neighbors. If you’ve never stopped in to give it a try — and try some kimchi — this seems like a good time to try something new and celebrate a non-closure of a neighborhood favorite.

Kimchi Bistro is located at 219 Broadway E.

New home for Ada’s Technical Books — and cafe — takes shape on Capitol Hill

Inside the new Ada's (Image: Board and Vellum)

Inside the new Ada’s (Image: Board and Vellum)

With new businesses and new development coming to 15th Ave, there’s another mixed-use project underway in the midst of the bustle of this Capitol Hill urban village.

Hulton (Image: Ada's)

Hulton (Image: Ada’s)

Ada’s Technical Books, after growing up on Broadway, is creating a new bookstore and cafe space that will reclaim a longtime home for Hill bookworms while transforming the space into something altogether new.

“The main thing is renovating the house and wanting to keep that,” Danielle Hulton tells CHS about the project to rebuild the old house that was once home to Horizon Books, the oldest used bookstore in the city at the time of its closure in March 2011. “It was in quite the state. Mold, cracking ceilings. We’re cleaning that up. It really has the layout of a house — but the goal is to make it feel like a retail space.” Continue reading