Captain of Capitol Hill rum bar set to commandeer Seattle ‘paddle club’ favorite Agua Verde

(Image: Agua Verde)

As the October Portage Bay kayak season stretches out with a sunnier than ever conclusion, a Capitol Hill restaurateur who brought the rum-y tropics to lower Pike/Pine is making plans for an investment in a longtime vacation-like Seattle food and drink favorite that calls the bay’s shore its home.

Travis Rosenthal who created Pike’s date-night classic Tango and neighboring rum bar Rumba is set to acquire Agua Verde, the “paddle club” Mexican restaurant just across Portage Bay from the backside of Capitol Hill. Continue reading

From toothpaste to pizza, Little Lago Italian grocery now open in Portage Bay

The northern neighborhoods around Capitol Hill take their local markets seriously. There’s a celebration in Portage Bay, Roanoke, and Montlake this week as Little Lago has finally opened its doors.

“We are there to serve the neighborhood’s needs,” owner Carla Leonardi told CHS this summer as the restaurant owner worked through the arduous city permitting process to get the new project open. “There will be cooking classes, wine maker events, community services, air for bike tires, dog friendly outdoor parking, dry pasta comparison tastings, and toothpaste.” Continue reading

Portage Bay crow-feeding family settles lawsuit with neighbors

img_0522-1An out of court settlement has been reached in the 2015 civil lawsuit neighbors filed against the Portage Bay parents of a girl who made their block a veritable crow haunt.

According to the attorney for the neighbors who filed the lawsuit, the girl’s parents agreed to pay “a sum of money” and to “severely restrict their bird feeding activities for the following eight years” in exchange for having the civil suit against them dropped in this wealthy neighborhood just off the north slope of Capitol Hill.

“My clients are very happy to have peace restored to the neighborhood,” said Seattle attorney Anna Johnsen. Continue reading

Volunteer Park Cafe and Chop Shop sibling Canal Market shutters in Portage Bay

Part of a ripple of Seattle boutique grocery markets — and a member of a small but ambitious family of food+drink venture — has shuttered in Portage Bay after less than a year of business.

Canal Market, on Fuhrman Ave E squeezed between the north tip of Capitol Hill and the water, closed without fanfare this week due to “business reasons,” a former employee tells CHS. Neighbors wondering about the suddenly darkened stretch of retail asked CHS to check in on the market. A representative for the business has not responded to our inquiry about the closure.

The project from Capitol Hill food and drink entrepreneur and chef Ericka Burke took over the space of a former neighborhood bodega with a vision for a marketplace and cafe as other ventures like 19th Ave E-born Cone and Steiner also were forming to give the small-scale grocer business a try.

(Image: Canal Market)

(Image: Canal Market)

“I want this to be the quintessential neighborhood market, a vibrant hub,” Burke’s press release read at the time. “Canal Market will be a meeting place for neighbors to catch up over a cup of coffee, quickly grab a bottle of wine, and shop for dinner. We’re even going totally old school, offering house accounts to make getting in-and-out easy and convenient.”

Designed by Graham Baba and beset with construction delays, Burke finally opened Canal Market last May as her Volunteer Park Cafe settled in after a dispute with neighbors at 19th and Galer and as she geared up for her largest, most ambitious and expensive project — the centerpiece of Pike/Pine’s preservation-friendly Chophouse Row development, Chop Shop.

State corporation documents indicate the company behind the Canal Market has ceased operations. The companies behind Chop Shop and Volunteer Park Cafe, meanwhile, remain active.

UPDATE 2/8/2016: A spokesperson for Burke has responded to our inquiries with a short, simple reply. “It was a business decision.  Ericka wants to focus on VPC and Chop, and spend time with her young son.” There you go.

CHS Pics | A crow in Portage Bay

The crows in Lake View Cemetery may very well be hungry. If so, they picked a densely populated place to wait for a meal. Or maybe it’s just the shakeout from the lawsuit swirling between neighbors in Portage Bay over an alleged “large-scale systematic crow and pigeon feeding operation” in the neighborhood to the north of Capitol Hill.

CHS visited the neighborhood recently in search of a massive murder of crows, a flock of seagulls, or a disgusting pile of pigeons. We only found a few noble individuals — and some signs of larger gatherings.

Way back in February, “the girl who gets gifts from birds” was a worldwide sensation. But it turned out that, locally, neighbors weren’t as excited about the Portage Bay family who had befriended all those crows.

In a King County civil case filed in August, Matt Ashbach and Christine Yokan sued E Shelby neighbors Lisa and Gary Mann over a litany of avian transgressions:

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Apparently, birds are pretty messy. We blame the pigeons.

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We also blame the rats.

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Apparently, birds are also noisy:

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According to the lawsuit, neighbors took action. But nothing — not even an air gun — stopped the feeding frenzy.

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According to the plaintiffs, in the wake of the petition, the Manns “escalated” the situation by moving the “feeding operation” to the backyard. “Defendants constructed additional elevated feeding stations also by attaching large trays or troughs to trees and poles on their property,” the lawsuit reads. The neighbors claim the Manns “constructed additional elevated feeding stations also by attaching large trays or troughs to trees and poles on their property” and filled the troughs as many as six times a day, even hiring employees “to allow more voluminous feedings to take place.”

The suit further alleges that crows and birds are disease-ridden vermin.

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And they also have nasty bathroom habits:

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The plaintiffs were seeking an injunction limiting the family to “no more than a quarter pound of food per day to local wildlife,” $200,000 in damages, attorney’s fees, and “further relief as may be just and warranted.”

There has been no update in the case since it was filed August 10th and we don’t know what if any Portage Bay feedings continue.

As for those crows in Lake View, maybe they are just on the move before winter comes.

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Smaller pieces of HALA puzzle, with or without upzone, in motion across Capitol Hill

The mayor may have backed away from the most NIMBY-bashingly radical recommendations from his Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda committee but that doesn’t mean the HALA plan isn’t in motion in Seattle.

North of Capitol Hill, Pete Faraday enjoys living in his house on Portage Bay, but he wanted to find a way to make it more multi-generational. His solution: Build a backyard cottage so that other members of the family — or even renters — have a place to live. Meanwhile in Miller Park, the City of Seattle is making plans to sell a surplus property and put the proceeds toward developing low-income rental housing, a key recommendation from the HALA process.

DADU in Portage Bay
Easing the way for backyard cottages, formally known as Detached Affordable Dwelling Units or DADUs, has been one of the less controversial recommendations made by the mayor’s affordable housing task force. Although the mayor backed away from a proposed change that would have allowed any single-family house in the city to become a duplex, ideas to encourage more backyard cottages remain in play.

The units can be up to 800 square feet (or 1,000 square feet if attached to the house), and typically have a kitchen, bathroom and one or two bedrooms — basically a standalone apartment sitting in someone’s yard. The affordable housing task force pointed to the cottages as a way to increase the housing supply in a relatively cost-effective manner. Continue reading