$15 now? Nah. Chef Matt Dillon says try ‘triple net’ when sorting out why he’s closing Capitol Hill’s Sitka and Spruce

(Image: Sitka and Spruce)

“There’s gonna be a reckoning, big-time,” chef and owner Matt Dillon told the Seattle Times about his decision to close the still respected, James Beard-worthy Capitol Hill restaurant, Sitka and Spruce at the end of the year.

When a tastemaker and leader says something like that about his industry, people tend to notice. Fans mourn. Fellow restaurateurs take a deeper look at their bottom lines. And the political crowd gets something new to chew on.

CHS reported here on the plan to close Sitka and Spruce at the end of the year after its birth in Eastlake 14 years ago and its move to Melrose Market in 2009.

“Was this about $15 minimum wage? That plays a part in it but it’s such a complicated situation,” Dillon told CHS last week after his words had their chance to circulate and started popping up in arguments over Seattle’s small business and restaurant economy where pundits can’t seem to quit the fight over issues like the $15 minimum wage and the incumbents they blame for ushering it in. Continue reading

How $150K ‘Public Life Study’ could be start of creating a Capitol Hill pedestrian and bike-only superblock

It took two decades of community planning to guide the affordable housing and community space-rich “transit oriented development” set to open above Capitol Hill Station in 2020. Proponents hope a new community-driven plan will play out faster to grow the neighborhood’s Capitol Hill EcoDistrict and — ultimately — create a pedestrian-and cyclist-first “superblock” in the middle of the neighborhood.

The start of this new “Public Life” plan began this summer in Copenhagen and will, officials hope, take a small, $150,000 step forward this fall as the Seattle City Council puts its touches on the city’s next fiscal budget. The discussion will begin Friday in council chambers.

“It’s about focusing on the EcoDistrict to make it more pedestrian friendly and a model for sustainability,” citywide representative Lorena González tells CHS about her proposal to add funding for a “Public Life Study” of Capitol Hill and the longterm hopes for the plan to shape the neighborhood: Continue reading

Death of a Capitol Hill waffle shop

(Image: @ktomcreative)

The Capitol Hill food and drink midway is down a sideshow and now lacks in the bright yellow neon and waffle department.

The Hill expansion of Sweet Iron has shuttered leaving a small retail hole in the commercial space of one of the largest preservation incentive-boosted developments in Pike/Pine.

We haven’t heard back from ownership about the shutdown but the original downtown Sweet Iron from the Jeffrey family remains open. Continue reading

Who shot who? Police aren’t sure but one charged in Baltic Room shootout

Police weren’t sure who shot who but one person who was hit in the last call Saturday shooting outside Capitol Hill nightclub The Baltic Room has been charged with illegal gun possession.

Amrico Flight, 30, was charged last week with first degree unlawful possession of a firearm. Police say the convicted felon was stopped by arriving officers at the Saturday, October 5th shooting as he tried to limp from the scene after suffering multiple gunshot wounds to his left torso, left arm, left leg, and “hip area.” Continue reading

With craft old fashioneds, fancy fritters, and holes of the highest standard, Half and Half Doughnut Co. now open on Capitol Hill

(Image: Half and Half Doughnut Co.)

Here is the bad news. You live in a neighborhood where a craft old-fashioned doughnut costs $2.75. The good news? It might be the best old fashioned you’ve ever had.

Also, you should eat fewer doughnuts anyhow.

Half and Half Doughnut Co. — from the man who helped grow Top Pot from Summit Ave to the largest scale doughnut operation in the city — is now open on E Pike with a case full of filled old-fashioneds, fritters, and a craft take on the overlooked but now risen to new heights doughnut holes — here called bomba or bombs.

After a quiet weekend start, expect a busy Tuesday morning in the new shop. Continue reading

Capitol Hill shop suffers $51K jewelry heist

Security image provided by Fresh Tangerine

Capitol Hill retailer and designer Fresh Tangerine suffered a devastating hit to the young business after an early morning burglary last week that emptied the E Pine store of thousands of dollars — and months of work — in handmade jewelry.

“We lost 2,085 pieces of inventory which is a retail value of $51,887 along with a couple of other of jewelry items from our cash drawer,” owner Kim Kogane said of the Thursday, October 10th, 5 AM break-in. “It took us a couple of months to create that much inventory and plus all of the labor from Operations to Quality Control everything, package it, and transport it to the store. It is a devastating loss for the business especially as we move into our busiest time of year.” Continue reading

The Baltic Room’s new owners say taking shooting response ‘very seriously’

(Image: The Baltic Room)

Charges haven’t yet been filed against the shooter but the club’s new owners say they are taking action after last weekend’s early morning shooting outside Capitol Hill nightclub The Baltic Room.

“We are taking this matter very seriously and strive to provide an enjoyable experience while maintaining safety of all patrons, employees, and neighbors,” Rachel Keith told CHS in a statement about last Saturday’s 2 AM shooting that sent two to the hospital. Keith said the club has hired “a few more security guards,” and implemented an earlier last call time.

Keith tells CHS the Baltic was clearing out for the night “when a fight between a few people began in the middle of the street up past Woody’s.” Continue reading

The government says (Capitol Hill’s) rainbow crosswalks (spreading to Iowa) could be unsafe. Are they really? (No. No they are not.)

The New York Times got the media buzzing about something that has been making the rounds since last month when the federal government told the good people of Ames, Iowa to remove the city’s “inclusive” multi-colored crosswalks citing safety concerns.

The Ames City Council voted unanimously to ignore the request, the NYT reports. Continue reading

‘Shots fired at the Baltic Room’ — Two hit in Capitol Hill shootout

Two people were shot including one who was taken into custody and Seattle Police had to hold back a hostile crowd in closing time gunfire at Pike/Pine club The Baltic Room early Saturday.

SPD confirmed the shootings and said one person was in custody following the 2 AM melee outside the lower Pine club.

According to East Precinct radio reports, two victims suffered gunshot injuries to their legs and one of the victims at the hospital was to be arrested. It was not clear if there were other victims not found at the scene or if police were looking for additional shooters. Continue reading

Firings, an employee walkout, and a row over homelessness at Capitol Hill’s Caffe Vita — UPDATE

(Image: Caffe Vita)

Two employees were fired — and another five reportedly quit in solidarity — after a disagreement over how homeless people should be treated at Caffe Vita’s flagship E Pike shop.

Liz McConnell confirmed the firings and walkout with CHS as social media efforts have spread calling out the Capitol Hill-headquartered coffee chain for firing a trans employee and criticizing a Vita manager’s message about homeless people receiving free coffee or food at its cafes.

McConnell, citing legal concerns, said she could not confirm details of the firings other than they were “with cause” and involved both a manager and en employee. She also confirmed that a Vita manager had sent the message about the free handouts being shared on social media. Continue reading