39+ new openings and 11 sad goodbyes in Capitol Hill food and drink in 2021

Caesar Martinez’s Antojitos Jalisco was just one of the small but still shiny glimmers of hope in 2021 food and drink on Capitol Hill

2020 happened — we know because CHS reported on that year in the neighborhood’s stories of restaurants, bars, and cafes here. Looking back and considering the challenges of that year, a surprisingly robust class of new venues joined the Hill two years ago even as the pandemic first took shape. 2021’s stories are equally full of hope. There are also more crystal clear sad goodbyes. The return to something closer to normalcy brought with it a solidification in the neighborhood’s food and drink economy that penciled out as the end for some much-loved veterans of the neighborhoods dining scene. But when you click through and read the stories, you’ll find that most of those sad goodbyes include the prologue for new projects — and new hopes — in 2022. First, here’s a look back at the year in Capitol Hill food and drink.

Don’t forget — we finally got the vaccines in 2021 and service workers at Capitol Hill’s restaurants and bars were near the front of the line. By the end of 2021, Capitol Hill food and drink culture had incorporated a new world of pandemic-era service. It’s no big deal, now, to show your vaccination card or test results at the door. Thanks to the early adopters like CC’s for showing the way. Tents and patio tables became ubiquitous and could be a permanent new part of the neighborhood’s street scene. And, yes, this actually happened on E Pike but given how many of the installations there are, that event proved to be a rarity. To-go cocktails and beer are also apparently here to stay. More financial relief arrived but, as has been typical through the pandemic, it couldn’t help everyone. 2021 was not a time to sit still. Even Capitol Hill restaurant veterans had to be prepared to change plans. An example? Nathan Lockwood abandoned Carrello’s signature carts of stuzzichini, antipasti, and salumi due to COVID-19 restrictions but continued to serve its other signature feature — hearty Italian fare. Neighborhood favorite Rondo showed how it was done early in the year when in-person service was still restricted. Eventually, we could sit down again and other neighborhood favorites returned. Meanwhile, some restaurants explored new short-term revenue opportunities to stay afloat while other venues found support and financial help from their communities. How we work and how we organize also changed through the year with growing union activity emerging in surprising places like a Broadway Starbucks. Then the year ended with yet another challenge: Omicron’s surge forced even more plans to be changed. 2021 ended and 2022 begins with some of the greatest staffing and safety challenges of the pandemic.


  • (Image: CHS)

    After years of growth, the first new Capitol Hill restaurant in a new Capitol Hill space to open in 2021 didn’t debut until September when Kobuta and Ookami Katsu and Sake House opened in new construction on 15th Ave.

  • Seasonal Pacific Northwest cafe Finch and Pine from chef Sara Moran arrived on Bellevue Ave, keeping the spirit of Sitka and Spruce — plus, “_____ and _____” restaurants — alive on Capitol Hill.
  • Cafe Racer created a new home, new music venue, and new bar in an old space on 11th Ave.
  • Counter favorite Carmelo’s Tacos expanded with a new 12th Ave location — and churros. Continue reading

CHS Year in Review 2021 | Capitol Hill’s most important stories


Happy holidays from CHS. We love providing community news at NO COST to thousands of readers. What sustains the effort are voluntary subscriptions from paying supporters. If you enjoy CHS, SUBSCRIBE HERE and help keep the site available to all. Become a subscriber today at $1/$5/$10 a month to help CHS provide community news with no paywall. You can also sign up for a one-time annual payment.

Heading into 2021, there was more at stake in the hopes for the new year than normal. We were coming out of the bleakness of 2020 and the arrival of COVID-19. As we begin our path into 2022, it turns out hope is even more important. 2021 showed us that none of this is going to be easy. Meanwhile, smaller 2021 stories also unfurled across Capitol Hill. After a 2020 with the neighborhood pulled into the global media eye amid the unrest and protests, many of the neighborhood stories from around Capitol Hill and the Central District over the past year feel even teenier and tinier. CHS is ok with that. There are plenty of big lessons to be learned, sad passings to be mourned, and new beginnings to be celebrated in this small part of the big planet.

Take survey | View latest results

CHS YIR: 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013
2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017
2018 | 2019 | 2020 | 2021

Here’s a look back at 2021 on CHS:

CHS Year in Review 2020 | The year in pictures

Happy New Year. As we do every year, CHS has assembled photographs that tell the story of the year behind us as we look ahead to the year to come. In 2020, CHS was helped like never before by our readers and community photographers as the incredible stories of the pandemic and Black Lives Matter protests converged on Capitol Hill. Thanks so much for the help and thanks, again, to CHS regular contributor Alex Garland. Drop Alex a line if you’d like to learn more about supporting his work or purchasing photographs.

Please also consider becoming a “pay what you can” CHS subscriber to help us pay reporters and photographers for their amazing work covering the neighborhood.

Meanwhile, explore CHS’s 2020 in photos, below. Each image links to its CHS post so take a minute to explore the stories from the year. We thank you for being part of CHS and look forward to bringing you more images and stories from around Capitol Hill in 2021.

Continue reading

CHS Year in Review 2020 | Capitol Hill’s most important stories

In past editions as CHS has attempted to tally the most important stories from the year, many of our biggest came and went with the relentless flow of news and other stories to tell. But in 2020, those stories never ended and will continue into 2021.

To break through the fog of COVID-19 and a year of unrest and protest on Capitol Hill, we need to consider the Year in Review through the prism of some of the individual stories that formed the larger narratives around the pandemic and the protests. This year, it might be more accurate to call them Capitol Hill’s most important news moments — pieces of the larger issues that dominated the year in Central Seattle.

Viewed at that level, there is also some room to see a few smaller but still important chapters in the year that was including closures of some loved small businesses and bits of the fabric that made up life here in 2020 like, yes, a tofu shortage.

Create your own user feedback survey
Take survey | View latest results

In 2019, by the way, readers said the race for the District 3 seat on the City Council was the story of the year. This year, we are also again asking you about your optimism for the year ahead. We get the feeling those measurements may have changed over the past year.

Given all that, here is a look at some of the most important news moments around Capitol Hill in 2020. Thanks for reading and being part of CHS. Continue reading

CHS Year in Review 2019 | The year in pictures

Dreamboyz Espresso

Happy New Year. Here is a look at the year that was through the lens of CHS and longtime contributor Alex Garland. Each image links to its CHS post so take a minute to explore the stories from the year. We thank you for being part of CHS and look forward to bringing you more images and stories from around Capitol Hill in 2020.

Lindas 25th Anniversary

Continue reading

CHS Year in Review 2019 | Capitol Hill’s five most important stories

There we go. This Year in Review — the CHS Year in Review 2019 — makes 10. And 10 makes a decade. Within each, you’ll find a mix of stories that seemed important at the time — and others that were truly important. Looking back a decade from now, this rundown of the most important CHS stories of 2019 will, of course, shake out the same way.

CHS YIR: 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019

View the latest results

Below, you will find our best take on the biggest stories that mattered most around Capitol Hill through the year. They range from seemingly likely to be legendary political victories to terrible crimes to bits and pieces of the wonderful and weird world around us. If you think we forgot something important, let us know in comments. Continue reading

Last year’s most important Capitol Hill story? 8,600 homeless in Seattle

To end 2018, CHS pored through its year of Capitol Hill news coverage to look at the stories that made the biggest impact in and around the neighborhood. CHS Year in Review 2018 | Capitol Hill’s 23 most important stories is here. As part of the tally, we asked readers to vote on which stories they felt were the most important. As we jump fully into a new year of reporting — CHS’s 13th year of coverage — here are the results.

  1. May 31, 20182018 count shows 8,600 people homeless in Seattle
  2. June 12, 2018Good news, Amazon, Seattle won’t be taxing you after all
  3. June 20, 2018: With a snip of a ribbon, two years of construction starts on Capitol Hill Station development
  4. August 2, 2018Sexual misconduct and rape accusations force Meinert to sell stake in Lost Lake and the Comet
  5. June 30, 2018Eyewitnesses: Capitol Hill’s mystery soda machine has disappeared

You can check out the full 2018 review here and see the most read and most commented stories here.


CHS Year in Review 2018 | The year in Capitol Hill pictures

Remember 2018. Here is what happened on Capitol Hill. Here is what it tasted like. Here is what it looked like. We’ve selected 50 of the best images from CHS coverage over the past year. Below, you will find the faces and places at the center of CHS stories about the neighborhood and beyond, Most of the shots come courtesy of CHS photo pro for hire Alex Garland. We — and the neighborhood — are lucky to have his eye. Thanks to Alex and all of the CHS contributors for another great year. Click the photos for the news behind the images.

2018 CHS Year in Review: Capitol Hill’s 23 most important storiesMergers and acquisitions — the year in Capitol Hill food+drink

Continue reading

CHS Year in Review 2018 | Most read and most commented stories

The numbers do not lie. Or something. Here’s a look at CHS’s 2018 stories from an analytical point of view.

CHS 2018 Most Read

  1. 5/30/2018 SWAT standoff blocks off area around E Howell — UPDATE: Suspect taken into custody
  2. 6/30/2018 Eyewitnesses: Capitol Hill’s mystery soda machine has disappeared
  3. 6/22/2018 The Pike/Pine fallout from Meinert rape accusations
  4. 12/18/2018 ‘Please refrain from donating to panhandlers’ — Capitol Hill Uncle Ike’s sign targets handouts
  5. 4/14/2018 Broadway apartment tower home to Whole Foods to open this summer — but no shopping ’til fall
  6. 1/29/2018 Here’s why QFC is closing off its Harvard Ave entrances 
  7. 9/14/2018 Victim dropped outside Harborview after 24th and Yesler shooting 
  8. 5/24/2018 Union cocktail lounge will bring together Capitol Hill gay bar legends
  9. 1/9/2018 A Jewish deli on Capitol Hill: Pastrami, kosher hot dogs, and knishes the plan at Dingfelder’s Delicatessen
  10. 8/1/2018 Lumbersexual axe-tossing bar Blade and Timber coming to Broadway 

Continue reading

CHS Year in Review 2018 | Capitol Hill’s 23 most important stories

In 2018, the Seattle Consulate of Mexico came to Capitol Hill

Last year, two Capitol Hill tragedies — the city’s ongoing homelessness emergency and the Ed Murray sex abuse accusations and resignation — ranked as the most important CHS stories of 2017.

In 2018, the stories that most moved the neighborhood also included ongoing challenges and the downfall of a powerful man. The twists and turns of time brought new businesses to the neighborhood, new leaders, and, yes, even new critters. Here are the most important Capitol Hill stories of 2018. You can let us know what 2018 stories you felt were most important — and remind us of anything we missed — here.
Take the CHS 2018 most important stories survey or view the latest results

  • Reporting by KUOW’s Sydney Brownstone of sexual misconduct and rape accusations against Pike/Pine business owner — and business community leader — Dave Meinert threw new light on the entrepreneur and his many connections across the neighborhood to Seattle City Hall… and beyond. By late summer, his Pike/Pine business partnerships were mostly dissolving as Meinert was forced to sell his stakes in neighborhood holdings including the Comet and Lost Lake.
  • In February, CHS reported on a silver screen worthy twist in the overhaul of the old Harvard Exit theater. The Seattle Consulate of Mexico was moving to Capitol Hill. The diplomatic facility opened during the summer and by August, the Mexican flag was flying proudly above Capitol Hill.
  • Off the Hill in Madison Park, diplomacy played out in a different way as souring international relations forced the closure of Russian Consular Residence on an April morning as diplomats, workers, and their families packed belongings, gear, and equipment into a small convoy of trucks outside the neighborhood’s Hyde mansion.
  • An alliance of residents, neighbors, and historical preservationists came together to first stop a plan to turn the Royvue into microhousing and then win landmark protections for the 1924-built garden apartments. Continue reading