Visette Boutique new home like a luxury closet hidden in the middle of Pike/Pine’s growing fashion retail scene

(Image: Visette)

Four years after its opening, Capitol Hill dress design shop Visette Boutique will be moving up the Hill.

Capitalizing on an expiring lease, owner Visal Sam took the opportunity to move locations and, in turn, expand her store.

“It was a perfect storm for us,” she said. “The situation provided us with an option to go with it and benefit from it.”

Sam, whose boutique primarily focuses on special occasion dresses, aims to push women out of their “fashion box.” She feels that everyone has their own style and it is very difficult for industrialized and mass-produced clothes to truly fit someone’s look.

“If you want something really beautiful you don’t know where to go because everywhere else is generic” she said. Continue reading

Bai Tong owners plead guilty in $1M ‘cash suppression’ scheme

(Image: Bai Tong)

12th and Pike’s Bai Tong Street Cafe remained open and busy Thursday as the Department of Justice announced two of the restaurant chain’s owners had pleaded guilty to using point of sales software in “a multi-year scheme to hide cash sales” totaling more than $1 million in income.

Kent residents Pornchai Chaiseeha, 41, and Chadillada Lapangkura, 40, pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiracy to defraud the government.

Bai Tong opened at 12th and Pike in spring of 2017 in the space left empty when Boom Noodle closed last summer after a decade of shifting concepts by its tech-powered investors behind the Blue C sushi restaurants. Noi Lapangkura told CHS at the time the business had come a long way since her family started on Pacific Highway S in 1989. “Bai Tong has always been a family place,” she told CHS. “We think, with the demographics on Capitol Hill, this one will be different.”

According to U.S. District Court documents in the whirlwind case opened and wrapped up in mere weeks this summer, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation and Homeland Security Investigations found that point of sales software used to hide the cash transactions was installed at Bai Tong restaurants off the Hill since at least 2010. The chain has operated restaurants in Washington, Oregon, and Hawaii, including four Bai Tong around Seattle and the Eastside. Continue reading

Downtown ribbon cutting includes good vibes for new bike projects including Pike protected lanes

Now on 8th Ave (Image: SDOT)

Mayor Jenny Durkan and SDOT director Sam Zimbabwe weren’t out for a ride but they did come out to celebrate Wednesday’s opening of a new 8th Ave protected bike lane with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

The redesigned 8th Ave includes a “one-way northbound protected bike lane between Pike St and Bell St, one travel lane, paid parking and load zones, and new bike signals at busy intersection,” SDOT reports. “This project completes a two-way couplet for people biking with the existing one-way southbound 7th Ave protected bike lane.” Continue reading

Remember the Capitol Hill deli+speakeasy financial mess? Sibling fashion boutique Estate now shuttered over unpaid rent

Estate, a Capitol Hill street fashion boutique started by people involved in the By the Pound financial implosion on E Olive Way, has suddenly shuttered and owes $10,000 in unpaid rent according to a county eviction notice posted at the 10th Ave retailer’s now emptied Pike/Pine location.

The shop opened in April with “mostly American street style brands in the $40 to $200 range” and managers who said they had put earlier financial issues behind them. “Burrowed in perhaps the coolest stretch of Capitol Hill on 10th Avenue just south of Pike, Estate radiates the ’80s and ’90s pop culture that owner David Lee grew up with,” Seattle Met gushed.

According to King County Superior Court records filed last October, the companies behind Estate owed around three months in in unpaid rent for the Pike/Pine shop before it even opened.

But later court records show a new agreement for the ground floor retail space in the Jack apartment building came with a short leash that required the business to pay off previously unpaid debts — and not fall behind on its lease again. Continue reading

Capitol Hill car chase involving suspected DWI driver ends with Cal Anderson crash — UPDATE

(Image: Gregory Fenno with permission to CHS)

A car chase involving multiple police vehicles, the Sheriff’s Guardian One helicopter, and a suspected DWI driver in a pick-up truck raced around Capitol Hill for nearly 30 minutes just after midnight Wednesday morning before coming to a crash ending and arrest in Cal Anderson Park.

According to police radio updates, the chase began around midnight near Westlake where police began pursuing the suspected under the influence driver in a 2015 Nissan Titan. With the driver refusing to yield, the truck headed east on Denny and onto Capitol Hill where a circular chase played out with police dropping spike strips at main intersections and the Guardian One helicopter doing what it could to follow the action and help herd the driver toward police. Continue reading

About that early Saturday morning gunfire you heard on Capitol Hill… — UPDATE

If there is truly a staffing issue at Seattle Police and in the East Precinct, it wasn’t evident early Saturday morning after a bout of nighttime gunfire drew a small army of officers and ended with at least four people cuffed and in custody.

Five or so gunshots reportedly rang out across Pike/Pine just before 3 AM from the area near the Harvard Market parking lot. Police had already been responding to a large fight disturbance in the Broadway Mud Bay parking lot when East Precinct radio dispatches reported the firearm activity nearby. Continue reading

La Dive bar to bring natural wines and frozen wine cocktails to the ‘grown-up’ block of Pike/Pine

Watch out, kids, you newborn legends of Pike/Pine. While you are busy getting your drink and dance on around 10th and Pike, the grown ups are gathering to the west. And they’re bringing natural wines and frozen wine cocktails with them.

La Dive will be the latest edition to E Pike’s maturing nightlife scene when it opens in an art gallery, turned sandwich shop, soon to turn natural wine and frosé bar. But even on the most grown-up block of E Pike, the folks behind La Dive don’t want to be known as a wine bar.

“That term sounds a little too formal for me,” nightlife entrepreneur and La Dive co-owner Kate Opatz tells CHS.” It will be a little dive-y. But you can also get an interesting glass of wine there.”

The new bar’s ownership acquired the Other Coast sandwich shop which had been on the market. Continue reading

Suspect in Rayshauna Webber murder pleads not guilty

David Nichols faces a count of second degree murder and second degree assault (Image: CHS)

The man police and prosecutors say stabbed and killed 25-year-old Rayshauna Webber in a fight that broke out over his derogatory response to her turning down his offer of a light for her cigarette in the middle of Pike/Pine nightlife crowds in Cal Anderson pleaded not guilty Monday morning in King County Superior Court.

David Nichols, 50, faces charges of second-degree murder and assault in the second degree for the early morning July 14th stabbing that killed Webber and left another woman with a minor cut during a night of partying on Capitol Hill.

According to court documents, two women were with the victim when she was stabbed in the early morning melee in the middle of Pike/Pine’s late nightlife scene. They told police the incident began when the suspect approached the group on the edge of the park and offered to light one of the women’s cigarettes. “When they declined he replied with a derogatory comment,” police write. The women told police they talked with the suspect but a fight quickly broke out. Witnesses told police Nichols pushed Webber who pushed him back. When the suspect struck another of the women, she told police she fell to the ground and realized that Webber had been cut and was “bleeding profusely.” Continue reading

Serious crashes on major arterials in Capitol Hill, Central District and First Hill area up from 2018, long road to Vision Zero, SDOT data shows

In April, a car seriously injured a bicyclist at the intersection of 24th Ave E and E Madison. A few months later, a driver was severely hurt in a crash just a couple of hundred feet up the street, on the intersection of 23rd Ave E and E John St.

The locations of these two crashes don’t just point to the places where lives were wrecked. They also offer a first glimpse into the traffic pain points on Capitol Hill, which have clustered on and near Madison in the first six months of 2019, data from the Seattle Department of Transportation show. The Seattle Times first reported on the data.

The two crashes are among the 98 serious or fatal collisions that happened in the first half of 2019. Ten people were killed in traffic. 88 were seriously injured, of which six on Capitol Hill, four on First Hill and eight in the Central District (including a sliver south of I-90). The dataset showed no fatalities in these neighborhoods in the first half of this year.

One important caveat, per SDOT: The data the department provided are preliminary. Usually, there’s a “pretty rigorous auditing process” in which SDOT works with officials from the Seattle Police Department, Washington State Department of Transportation, Washington State Patrol and hospitals to review and filter out discrepancies for a report that comes out at year-end, SDOT said.

Still, the data provides a glimpse into Seattle’s long road to Vision Zero, its plan to end traffic deaths and serious injuries on city streets by 2030, and problem zones for Capitol Hill, the Central District and First Hill, particularly on or near arterials.

Continue reading

Roq La Rue — now Capitol Hill’s home to pop surrealism — celebrates 21 years of Seattle art

By Tim Kukes

One of the few remaining dedicated art galleries on Capitol Hill is celebrating its 21st birthday but its two decades of art and creation mostly took place far from Pike/Pine. It started with a question.

“Someone asked me, ‘If you could do anything for a living what would you do?’ Kirsten Anderson, owner of E Pike’s Roq La Rue, said.  “I just said, ‘open a gallery,’ which is not anything I’d ever thought of before. Just came out of my mouth.”

The gallery started in a little space on 2nd and Lenora in 1998, which was being lent out as business incubator until the building could be developed in six months.  After that Roq La Rue moved to a space between the Lava Lounge and Shorty’s, and then later to a larger location next to the Rendezvous, according to Larry Reid, manager at Fantagraphics Bookstore and Gallery in Georgetown, who happened to be an early mentor of Anderson’s.

“Kirsten quickly established herself as a pivotal figure in the emerging Lowbrow/Pop Surrealist movement based on the West Coast, but [it was] soon to become a global phenomenon,” Reid said.  “Locally, she filled a void that had been largely absent from the local art scene.”

Anderson is credited with coining the term “pop surrealism” in the book, “Pop Surrealism: The Rise of Underground Art”, which she wrote in 2004.  Kristen described pop surrealism as using pop culture iconography as archetypal imagery to tell classic stories or fetishizing subcultural nostalgia.

“You can call it the bastard stepchild of Andy Warhol, basically,” Anderson said. Continue reading