Refining ramen, Ooink celebrates five years on Capitol Hill

Chong Boon Ooi (where the extra “o” in “Ooink” comes from) is passionate about ramen. It’s clear in how he prepares it but also how he talks about it. “You can’t just add a couple ingredients and get umami, this is a process.”

The ramen joint is celebrating five years this month at their location above QFC on Broadway and Pike, which he calls an “interesting place” and why they decided to move here.

“I just love this location, the people, the nightlife. It’s a unique place.”  Although the challenges of owning a restaurant are ever present, the pandemic has forced Chong to “move forward and find a solution.”

The menu hasn’t changed much since he opened Ooink with his wife Jiaxin Wang five years ago. Chong has chosen to focus on refinement, not change.

“We still try to refine what we do and achieve better. I don’t like to create new dishes, I like to do what I do and make it better.” Continue reading

‘Seattle’s first microbrewery’ wasn’t born on Capitol Hill — but it will celebrate 40 years of beer here

The original Ballard brewery (Image: Redhook)

The Redhook Brewlab is the last physical vestige of Seattle’s “first microbrewery” (Image: Redhook)

Marking 40 years will be a bittersweet journey for a beer maker that helped usher in the microbrewery era but now finds itself seemingly without a home after decades of change in the industry and being swallowed up by “the world’s largest beer company.” But the Redhook Brewery does have a home, surviving right here on Capitol Hill and still part of the Pacific Northwest beer scene thanks to one of the most uniquely densely-packed brewing facilities you’ll find.

This weekend, the Redhook Brewlab — the last brewery and pub in the Redhook line — is setting out to celebrate those 40 years with a party showcasing the beer it brews here on E Pike, favorites from the past, and “Seattle’s first microbrewery” role in the history of Washington and Oregon beer. There will also be baby goats. Continue reading

One-year anniversary of start of Seattle Black Lives Matter protests: Black Wall Street rally in Central District, arrests downtown, Converge Media returns to Capitol Hill

One year after the police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota and the start of months of protests in the city, Seattle is taking stock of what has changed and marking the days of unrest.

CHS looked back here at the first days of Black Lives Matter protests that began in Seattle in the days after Floyd’s murder, leading to weeks of clashes on Capitol Hill between protesters and police, the abandonment of the East Precinct, and the formation of CHOP.

This week starting Memorial Day, another small but important chronicler of the Capitol Hill protests will be back in the neighborhood as Omari Salisbury and TraeAnna Holiday of Converge Media will return for a week of broadcasts from near 11th and Pine where the Seattle media service captured crucial scenes from unrest including the fateful “pink umbrella incident” still echoing through the ranks of Seattle Police leadership today.

Salisbury tells CHS the live Converge Returns to The Hill shows will focus on honoring the important efforts at change. Continue reading

CHOP: One year later — Seattle rises up in protest to the killing of George Floyd

Below are images from CHS photographer from the first week of Black Lives Matter protests in Seattle following the police killing of George Floyd (Image: Alex Garland)

Tuesday marks one year since the May 25th, 2020 police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota and the start of Black Lives Matter protests across the country and around the world.

Four days later with broken glass at an Amazon grocery and the neighborhood’s Ferrari dealership, unrest spread across downtown and Seattle as thousands of protesters took to the streets of the city in the midst of pandemic lockdowns.

Here is a look at those early days of Seattle’s Black Lives Matter uprising — days that have been overshadowed by the Capitol Hill occupied protest camp that formed, the abandonment of the East Precinct and its barrier walls, ongoing anti-police protests, and the attempts of Seattle City Hall to adequately respond to the movement with changes to its police department and an election that will bring new leadership to the City Council and the mayor’s office.

Friday, May 29thProtests begin in Seattle after the Floyd killing as thousands march and demonstrate. Windows are smashed at Capitol Hill’s Amazon grocery and Ferrari dealership, and seven arrests are reported.

Saturday, May 30thProtests continue as clashes with police grow downtown bringing flames, tear gas, and gunfire. Mayor Jenny Durkan begins a nightly curfew to try to quiet the unrest.

A protestor enters an intersection blocked by police during Saturday’s demonstrations

A burned SPD SUV was part of the weekend wreckage

Continue reading

Elysian Brewing marks 25 years on Capitol Hill

Elysian Brewing, a grandfather of the Seattle brewery scene, is beginning the celebration of the 25th anniversary of its Capitol Hill birth with a pack of beer including some of its signature creations over the last quarter century.

“Elysian was built from a love of subversive music, artistic rebellion, and great beer,” Elysian’s co-founder Joe Bisacca said. “By staying true to our DNA, being unafraid to experiment, and keeping consumers at the forefront of everything we do, we’ve been able to stand the test of time and deliver the beers our fans want for 25 remarkable years.”

Bisacca, along with David Buhler, and Dick Cantwell started Elysian in May, 1996 where its E Pike brewery and brewpub still make their home in the overhauled 1919-era Packard storage building. Continue reading

Happy birthday, Morning Update Show

Omari Salisbury of Converge Media reports from E Pine during the summer’s Black Lives Matter protests

CHS grew to be friends with Omari Salisbury and the good folks at Converge Media the way we tend to meet others in the business — getting in the way of each others shots, talking over one another at press conferences, and tripping over each other trying to get out of the way of a cloud of pepper spray. The strongest voice you hear above in the “Capitol Hill Clash” video report from CHS’s Alex Garland? That’s Salisbury.

Over the summer, Converge and its Morning Update Show became the CNN of CHOP. We were happy to have the help — CHS still had the rest of Capitol Hill to cover. Between the two, nobody else was at the scene day in and day out through it all from beginning to end. Continue reading

Happy 80th birthday to Bruce Lee, Capitol Hill’s most legendary eternal resident

(Image: CHS)

Martial arts legend Bruce Lee rests today atop Capitol HIll in Lake View Cemetery. Friday would have been his 80th birthday.

CHS visited the site earlier this week. Resting next to the grave of his son Brandon Lee, Bruce’s headstone was covered as usual with its mix of flowers and coins. The grave sites atop a hill with an eastern view are a popular place to visit to pay respect to the masters.

Hours at Lake View are currently limited due to the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions. The non-profit managed facility is also undertaking a small construction project around the graves. We checked in with the management about the project multiple times but Lake View’s office never got back to us. The organization has faced a challenging year with the ongoing pandemic and controversy surrounding the removal of a Confederate monument from the cemetery.

The construction fencing, meanwhile, will serve as an unfortunate background on what will likely be a busy weekend for visitors. Continue reading

Celebrating 10 years in the Capitol Hill circus, The Unicorn readies its big top-sized second location

Kaileigh Wilson and Adam Heimstadt

Capitol Hill’s The Unicorn bar celebrated its 10th anniversary in January by signing another 10-year lease at its E Pike location. With a much-anticipated Unicorn White Center slated to open this December, its trademark whimsical gag is only expanding.

“I feel like bars and restaurants these days, to really be successful, you need to do something different and go against the grain a little bit, and really take chances,” founder Adam Heimstadt said. “You need to be a bit of a gambler, so to speak. I put 110% into everything we do. All the stupid details matter, all the small fine details.”

The carnival-themed Unicorn and downstairs brother bar Narwhal are known for decor as sugary sweet as the signature drink Unicorn Jizz, a mango vodka, triple sec, orange juice and sprite creation. The striped walls, salvaged and repainted antique paneling, bedazzled atm, taxidermied wildlife, and video arcade have established the bar as an Anything Goes spectacle for a younger crowd, a concept that Heimstadt and his wife Kaileigh Wilson want to turn into a destination bar in White Center. Continue reading

Day and night: How Oddfellows overcame rough start to mark 10 years in Pike/Pine

Linda Derschang

Born in the wake of Obama’s victory when patriotism was fashionable and in a Pike/Pine neighborhood where the idea of a daytime-focused business was still a major gamble, Linda Derschang’s “cafe and bar” Oddfellows celebrates a decade on Capitol Hill this week with a Tuesday party.

Inappropriately enough, it starts at 8 PM.

“Oddfellows was the first business I owned equally focused on day and night,” Derschang tells CHS. “It needed to look good at nine in the morning, one in the afternoon, and six at night.”

Oddfellows debuted this week in 2008 in the historic Odd Fellows building at 10th and E Pine and has endured in a changing neighborhood while, yes, looking good around the clock with its big hall-style windows, brick walls, and fellowship lodge neon out front.

Its survival and thriving position as the venerable Capitol Hill High School and Pike/Pine 98122 cafeteria is a testament to Derschang’s style, the neighborhood’s population boom, and community support, Derschang says, through the cafe’s rocky and roll-y start. Continue reading

Created by a chef at the top of his game, Poppy marks 10 years on Capitol Hill

(Image: Poppy)

Capitol Hill was a very different place when Jerry Traunfeld opened his restaurant, Poppy, a decade ago on Broadway. As he and his staff prepare to celebrate the restaurant’s 10-year anniversary on Sunday, Traunfeld said it was a quest for independence that led to his choice to open a business on Capitol Hill.

“I wanted to do something on my own. And I wanted to do it in the city and I wanted to do something that was more accessible,” Traunfeld said. “Something that was more of my own personality.”

Before Poppy, Traunfeld worked as the chef at the Herbfarm for 17 years where he says he reached the top of his game. He had built a reputation for himself, won the James Beard Award and published a few cookbooks. Despite his success, he still felt that he wanted to create something he could call his own.

But independence has its price. Traunfeld opened the restaurant on September 18th, 2008 — just as the global economy fell to pieces. Continue reading