April 17, 2017
BALLARD—Despite falling $20,000 short of a $30,000 Kickstarter goal, the long-delayed Joli (618 NW 65th St) is forging ahead with buildout and hoped, as of the restaurant's last Facebook update in January, to open "very soon." Chef Amy Beaumier, formerly of Bell and Whete and Local 360, wants to bring French, Italian, and Mediterranean influences to bear on an upscale neighborhood venture.
WALLINGFORD—After a week's closure at the end of March, Miyabi 45th has shifted focus to sushi and Izakaya-style small plates, though the restaurant will continue to offer the handmade soba noodles made famous by chef Mutsuko Soma before she left in February 2016. Along with bites like takoyaki and karaage, there's a new happy hour daily from 5 to 7 p.m. (or 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Sunday) and even a kids' menu, owners Hisako and Masa Ishikura told Wallyhood blog.
CAPITOL HILL—Last night the first episode of Iron Chef Gauntlet aired, and Adana chef Shota Nakajima lived to fight another day, as chef Nyesha Arrington was the first to be eliminated. The Chairman (Alton Brown) had some criticisms of Nakajima's quail, calling the dressing "awfully salty," but Nakajima also got a shoutout from fellow competitor Stephanie Izard, who won the first challenge: "I think Chef Nakajima's a wild card. He is kind of quiet. He is younger. But just looking at the type of food that he does, it's going to be tough," she said. Learn more about Iron Chef's new format, and tune into Food Network each Sunday night at 9 p.m. to see if a local favorite can go all the way.
PHINNEY RIDGE—You could get whiplash trying to follow the ups and downs of vegan ice cream shop Seattle Cookie Counter (7415 Greenwood Ave N), which recently raised about two-thirds of a Gofundme campaign. The latest good news for the currently-closed business is that the owners are remodeling the shop and hope to reopen by May. While the storefront gets new cafe windows, a fresh coat of paint, and other tweaks to grab the attention of passers-by, the owners have been doing special orders through Facebook, testing new recipes, and are even planning to sell their cookie dough for bake-at-home purposes through Postmates. Plus, the adorable VW van that launched the whole venture will hit the road again at the beginning of May, with catering and regular appearances at Westlake Park, Peddler Brewing, and more.
March 23, 2017
CAPITOL HILL—The former Broadcast Coffee shop at 1623 Bellevue Ave is now Ghost Note Coffee, overseen by a former Tougo Coffee director. Single-origin espresso and other drinks are served in handmade ceramic cups from local artist Curtis Yu.
BALLARD—Calling it "one of the best Asian restaurants to debut in Seattle so far this year," The Seattle Times reports that Sen Noodle Bar is open next to Pestle Rock, from the same owners. The "eclectic menu" showcases a range of Southeast Asian noodle soups.
CAPITOL HILL—Where there was previously "a short-lived Latin American restaurant and a long-lived Bagel Deli," there's now Olive Tree, open today on 15th Avenue, reports Capitol Hill Seattle Blog. The new restaurant is the second location of an eatery that first opened in Kent from owners Zana Abdulaziz and Ranj Rebwar in 2009. The menu focuses on "Greek, Kurdish, Lebanese and overall Mediterranean flavors" with wine-based cocktails.
U DISTRICT—Recent UW grad Paul Nguyen has opened Sizzle & Crunch, which focuses on banh mi sandwiches and bowl options with rice, salad fixings, and vermicelli. The dishes are served with chargrilled pork, chicken, beef, or tofu that customers can customize with toppings and sauce in a line-style service arrangement.
U DISTRICT—And just up the street by four blocks, Saitown Vietnamese Eatery has also arrived, with a very similar menu, reports The Seattle Times. They're also serving banh mis, vermicelli bowls, and rice dishes.
WEST SEATTLE—The Nook is now open at 2206 California SW, reports the West Seattle Blog. The focus of the new 21+ space is on local beer, Old World wines, "classic and contemporary cocktails," and pretty much whatever concoctions guests want to challenge their bartenders to. The space is small but sexy, with a second floor loft sporting a vintage vibe.
March 8, 2017
WALLINGFORD—Fresh off the launch of Thackeray nearby, Heavy Restaurant Group (Meet the Moon, Purple, and more) plans to open a casual Mexican restaurant by Gas Works Park this summer, according to a release. It'll land in a 2,500-square-foot space with room for 75 or more guests inside, plus patio seating, in the impressive new Northedge building that houses software company Tableau's headquarters at 1621 N 34th St. Chef Jeremy Flores, who has been with Heavy since it opened its other Mexican restaurant, Barrio, will create the eatery's menus for lunch, dinner, happy hour, and weekend brunch, while spirits director Casey Robison will devise the bar program.
CAPITOL HILL—Shota Nakajima, chef of Adana and formerly Naka, competed on the Food Network cooking competition-reboot "Iron Chef Gauntlet" this season. The first of six episodes airs April 16 at 9 p.m. PST. "It was crazy...It was a lot more intense than I thought it would be," the young chef told The Seattle Times. "I was excited and nervous." He can't yet say much more, bound as he is by an ironclad contract, so tune in next month and expect Nakajima to recreate his dishes at Adana after the finale.
CAPITOL HILL—Portland burger chain Little Big Burger's first location was set for Green Lake last fall; now, Seattle Met reports that the second of 10 or more planned expansions is hitting the Beryl apartment building being constructed at 1200 E Pike St at the corner of 12th Ave. Look for both to open this spring, and more to be announced soon.
CAPITOL HILL/PHINNEY RIDGE—Mark Schroder will team up with his former bosses to preview his upcoming Phinney Ridge restaurant, Opus Co.: The project's first pop-up is taking place Monday, March 20 at Capitol Hill's Trove, where Schroder was chef de cuisine until last spring. For $50, 10 percent of which will be donated to the Ballard Food Bank, you can reserve a spot at one of four seatings to get a feel for what Opus' "imaginative, seasonal fare cooked over a wood fire" might be like when it launches.
KIRKLAND—An Indian restaurant called Kathakali is coming soon to 11451 98th Avenue NE in Kirkland; thanks to a tipster for the heads-up. The new spot is from the owners of South Indian restaurant Aahaar in Snoqualmie, and the name refers to a major form of classical Indian dance. Kathakali will feature the cuisine of Kerala in the southwest of India, according to a Facebook post, and has shared a couple of previews of dessert items on its own Facebook page, including kashi halwa made of grated white pumpkin served with vanilla ice cream.
SEATTLE—Seattle police recently caught a "cookie crook" connected to at least 10 robberies, according to the SPD's official blotter. No, this isn't a commercial for Cookie Crisp cereal, so the cookies weren't really his ultimate goal: "In several of the cases, the suspect approached staff at coffee shops and fast food restaurants and ordered a cookie before flashing the handle of a gun and demanding money," a detective said. Yes, the phrase "that's the way the cookie crumbles" did enter into the report.
WALLINGFORD—Sick of desserts with gentle curves? When it opens soon at 2315 N 45th St, Cubes Baking Co. will either make you groan or win your heart with its punny cube-shaped cakes, "cupcubes," "sqones," and square tarts (turns out "squarts" doesn't have a delicious ring to it). The company specializes in "daily pastries with a Mexican twist as well as custom wedding and celebration cakes," according to its Wedding Wire profile; the menus on Cubes' official website promise both sweet and savory options like 24 Carrot cake, Iced Cube cake, peanut butter chocolate chunk or jalapeno cheddar scones, and frangipear tart.
SEATTLE—Dick's Drive-In is once again inviting fans to vote on the general direction of its next expansion, the seventh location for the burger chain, which will be either east or south of its current outposts — and fans are getting out the vote, crashing the company's website within the first hour of the announcement. "More than 100,000 votes were cast in the first 24 hours," The Seattle Times said. Things are back up and running, so if you haven't let your voice be heard yet, there's still time.
CAPITOL HILL—The good news for Sun Liquor Distillery is that it has outgrown its current production capacity and will move its distilling and bottling operations from E Pike St to a warehouse near University Village, says CHS Blog. The Sun Liquor Lounge on Summit Ave E, the original concept that eventually spawned the distillery, will stay put. The future of the bar on E Pike St, though, is uncertain — founder Michael Klebeck told CHS he's "considering working with a new owner" to keep that part of the business alive. Could be a good fit for someone who wants to be part of a distillery but not run the distillery — though if you'd rather produce the spirits yourself, make an offer for the turnkey distillery for sale at 1836 NW Market St. in Ballard, former home of Seattle's branch of Our Vodka.
February 2, 2017
SEATTLE—Coffee news resource Sprudge has organized a nationwide fundraiser for the ACLU, with nearly 200 coffee brands and 400 cafes across America pledging a portion of this coming weekend's sales, Friday, February 3 through Sunday, February 5, to the nonprofit. Sprudge will even match the first $500 raised by each parter brand. "Like a hot mug of drip coffee spilled on a crisp white apron, these actions are a dark stain on our national conscience, and as Americans we feel compelled to stand up against them," the Sprudge team writes. Shops currently signed on in Seattle are Slate Coffee, Portland's Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Royal Drummer, El Diablo Coffee Company, Cloud City Coffee, Preserve and Gather, QED Coffee Roasters, Analog Coffee, and La Marzocco. See the full list for more details.
BELLTOWN—A tipster shares word that a Middle Eastern restaurant called Al Basha is under construction at 2302 1st Ave, replacing Bellini, which closed last fall. Evidently Al Basha's co-owner and chef, Sam Ibrahim, used to run Alderwood Gyro; his wife, Khadir, will be the pastry chef.
GREENWOOD—Neptune Coffee isn't coming back to 8415 Greenwood Ave, according to a sad Q&A that Seattle Met conducted with owner Baltazar Soto; a developer wants to put up a six-story mixed-use building on the spot where Neptune was destroyed in a gas explosion last spring. It's also unlikely to relocate elsewhere, as Soto simply doesn't believe he and his wife "could get what we had in Greenwood" elsewhere in Seattle's saturated coffee market.
WEST SEATTLE—West Seattle Blog says goodbye to the Fatburger chain and hello to the second location of Indianapolis Cajun restaurant B's Po Boy, its upcoming replacement at 2738 Alki SW. The owners, who recently moved from Indiana to West Seattle, hope to be serving sandwiches, gumbo, beignets, and more by this spring after some renovations by Mallett.
CAPITOL HILL—Charlie's On Broadway, which closed after four decades in 2015 and reopened late that same year, has closed again after its lease ran out, reports CHS Blog. Parent company The Lodge Sports Grille filed for bankruptcy last year even as it tries to expand its holdings with an eighth sports bar location in West Seattle, but said Charlie's wasn't performing well enough to keep alive. It may not be gone for good though, as CHS notes that "the brand stays with the building meaning a new tenant could give the old Charlie's another spin."
PIKE PLACE MARKET—The long-awaited MarketFront expansion will open on Thursday, June 29, according to a press release. Four vendors will also have production onsite: Bryan Jarr's (Jarr Bar) Jarr and Co. canning facility and restaurant under the leadership of chef Zoi Antonitsas, Old Stove Brewing Company (which is currently on 1st Ave), Honest Biscuits, and Indi Chocolate. Check out the grand opening page for more details about the expansion, which will also include 30,000-square-feet of open public space overlooking the water, 47 new tables for farmers and craftspeople, 40 low-income senior housing units with seven live/work artist units, and a neighborhood center.
CAPITOL HILL—Dilettante Mocha Cafe has closed its Chocolate Martini Bar at 538 Broadway E, but continues to use the space for production until another tenant is found, according to listing agent Ewing and Clark. According to CHS Blog, fans don't have to worry about the venerable company shutting down other locations; the owners said they're refocusing their business and even looking to open more cafes, but the Martini Bar didn't seem to fit. See the real estate flyer for the space below.
Dilettante Chocolate Martini Bar Real Estate Listing by Adam on Scribd
January 17, 2017
SEA-TAC—A tipster noticed that Lady Yum, Kirkland's macaron and champagne parlor, is opening a kiosk at the C concourse of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. According to the company's Facebook post, you can expect to get baked goods and bubbly starting in mid-March. The store offers a wide variety of flavors of the French dessert, from lychee to "Shindig" (with Fruity Pebbles cereal) as well as wine poured straight or blended with tart shrubs.
GREENWOOD—There's a spot called Satay Bar under construction at 8317 Greenwood Ave, former home of Diggity Dog.
RAVENNA—A tipster has spotted a La Villa sign in the window of 3410 NE 55th St, the former home of Gaudi, whose owners said in the fall that they had sold the restaurant, but not to whom.
WHITE CENTER—Big Al Brewing has thrown in the bar towel. The brewery made the closing announcement on its website and in more depth on Facebook, where titular owner Alejandro Brown thanked supporters for eight great years. If you head to your local bottle shops, you may still be able to track down a few last potable memories (the Time Capsule series of wild ales has taken on particular poignancy) before they disappear forever.
WEST SEATTLE—After less than half a year in business, Shelby's Bistro and Ice Creamery has left the building at 4752 California Ave SW. West Seattle Blog shared the news along with a quick timeline of the location, which has seen a relatively high rate of turnover over the past six years. Who will take a run at the space next?
SOUTH LAKE UNION—No bad puns, just a note that you've got perhaps a month left to chow down on sausages, frites, and tater tots at The Wurst Place at 510 Westlake Ave N, before it's muscled out by a new development. "Sometime in February, we are being forced to vacate our current address on Westlake Ave. as the building is being torn down," a Facebook post explained last month. "We leave kicking and screaming...we don't want to go."
DOWNTOWN—A tipster noticed that Seattle's outpost of steakhouse chain Morton's (1511 6th Ave) is no more, which really upset at least one person on Yelp.
January 3, 2017
PIONEER SQUARE—Il Corvo Pasta Studio is closed, Seattle Met reports. The retail shop replaced owner Mike Easton's ill-fated Pizzeria Gabbiano at 240 2nd Ave S just last May, providing an outlet for customers to take home the handmade noodles and sauces for which his restaurant Il Corvo is rightfully famous — an idea that seemed especially clever since Il Corvo is only open for weekday lunches and always draws long lines. Sadly, queuing up is once again your only option for a taste of those incredible pastas.
BALLARD—As Lagunitas puts the final touches on its revamp of the former Hilliard's Beer space, yet another producer appears to be joining the busy neighborhood: Obec Brewing has filed for a beer and wine license as a microbrewery and tavern at 1144 NW 52nd St, next door to Stoup Brewing Company. Two of the applicants share the last name Jehlik, suggesting the name Obec may be the Czech word for "village" or "community." The third applicant is Brian Gill.
CAPITOL HILL—Raygun Lounge, primarily a tabletop gaming venue at 501 E Pine St, is adding coffee to try to boost its daytime crowd, as well as enough arcade games and pinball machines to qualify for league play and hopefully attract more of the neighborhood's new additions (yes, including "tech bros"), according to CHS Blog. Also coming within the next few months: draft beer and a full liquor license.
EASTLAKE—Just like that, decades-old staple Louisa's is gone from 2379 Eastlake Ave E, and with it, its massive cinnamon rolls. According to The Seattle Times, owner Alcena Plum cited rising costs and a shortage of cooks as primary factors in last month's closure. In a Gofundme campaign created to help out her former employees, some of whom had been with the company for almost twenty years but got only a single day's notice of the holiday-season closure, Plum said, "As an owner I am heartbroken that I am unable to provide them with any kind of buffer to get thru [sic] this time." The campaign had raised $2,215 of a $10,000 goal at press time.
PIKE PLACE MARKET—If you've ever thought The Pink Door, the famed Italian restaurant and cabaret venue tucked into an underground space at 1919 Post Alley, could use an update or two to its design, turns out you're not alone: The company announced via Instagram and OpenTable that it's closed for remodeling until April. Working with Metis Construction, the establishment will get a kitchen overhaul, a stage relocation, and even "a magical new seating area with a view of the water and sky."
LOWER QUEEN ANNE—Marx Foods, a favorite for its specialty goods and uncommon meats, announced on its website that as of January 1, 2017, it will no longer operate a retail storefront. The location at 144 Western Ave W will remain for offices, from which the company will continue to run its booming online and wholesale business, and from which local customers can choose to pick up online orders to avoid shipping fees. "The quirky location has always been charming, but not that great for retail," the press release noted. You can still shop at the store through December 31, though, and there will be sales throughout the month, including 20 percent off on December 2 and 3.
BELLTOWN—After three-plus years at 2303 1st Ave, Italian bistro Bellini has closed. Owner Steve Schlackman said he blames a 2013 pre-opening report from Eater for hurting the business from the start, claiming the information was not representative of his restaurant. "Eater was a contributor to misinformation and lack of follow up," he said via email.
SEATTLE—Just in time for the holiday season, Canon and Heavy Restaurant Group have new books out to help you step up your boozy hosting game. The former, renowned for its liquor selection and unique drinks, released The Canon Cocktail Book: Recipes From the Award-Winning Bar this month. The debut from founder Jamie Boudreau includes 100 recipes as well as notes on the "fundamentals and challenges of opening and running a bar." Heavy Restaurant Group (Barrio, The Commons, and more) published Cook and Cork, a wine and food pairing resource with recipes and tips presented as a collaboration between wine director Chris Horn and Purple Café head chef Harry Mills. Both are available now.
PDX—Rachel's Ginger Beer has landed in Portland, but instead of tortas, collaborator Monica Dimas exported her Sunset Fried Chicken Sandwiches concept to the new Oregon location. Eater PDX has the full story on the latest Rachel's expansion, which doesn't yet have its liquor license for boozy concoctions.
LOWER QUEEN ANNE—Sorry, gang: KOMO News reports that The Shanty Cafe, which opened in 1914 and seems to have changed very little since, is shutting down at the end of service today after more than 100 years in business. Co-owners Ginger Crowley and Theresa Schmetzer will take a break from the food business after running the diner for the past 19 years; they sold the building to El Charro Mexican Food and Cantina, which plans to open a new restaurant in the space.
BALLARD—As noted earlier this month, Mean Sandwich was hoping to drop its sublime sandwiches by this week, but the restaurant's latest announcement on Facebook has bumped the anticipated opening to Wednesday, December 7 due to a "couple minor setbacks." At least you can plan your first order, though, with a photo of the menu board, including such goodies as a steak tartare club and "yesterday's bun bread pudding."
BALLARD—Is the paleo/primal fad still going? A restaurant under construction at 5313 Ballard Ave NW, where Fresh Flours used to have an outpost, certainly hopes so. It's called Carnivore, and both the name and the few Instagram photos suggest it's focused on meat, though in general the paleo diet is said to be about limiting the intake of processed foods. Devin Lowder is named as chef; his Facebook page also lists him as chef and owner of Hawaii's When Pigs Fly Island Charcuterie. (Less appealing is his cover photo at press time, an offensive meme about people being offended by offensive, sexist speech. Oy.) A liquor license application is posted and you can also sign up for updates at the official website.
SEATTLE—In its coverage of new Quickfish Poke Bar, Eater PDX broke the news that Portland's famously sustainable sushi spot Bamboo Sushi is looking at Seattle for an expansion. Bamboo's Cory Schisler says the original sushi restaurant — the first in the world to be certified as sustainable — is the main priority, though if the space is right (i.e. big enough), he'd love to put both concepts under one roof. Keep a close eye on this development.
SEATTLE—When Friday Afternoon Tea lost its production space, the online retailer of loose-leaf tea and "geeky-themed" blends didn’t panic; instead, owner Friday Elliott launched a Kickstarter campaign to expand to a brick-and-mortar tea shop. She hasn’t found a location yet, but she has already surpassed her $30,000 goal with a few days left to reach for stretch targets (like a lofty one at $42,000 to create a collection of blends to "accompany each meal in a hobbit’s day"). If you want in on the action, $11 is the lowest pledge for which you’ll receive tea.
SOUTH LAKE UNION—At the end of October, Mollusk celebrated its rocky first year in business, during which the head chef and co-owner departed, tipping was reinstated, the menu was overhauled, and lunch service was cancelled. As of last week, lunch is back, now available Monday to Friday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Owner and brewer Cody Morris told Eater the changes have been well-received and business is slowly increasing, though it’s still not at a level where he can breathe easy. "We're in a weird neighborhood that's still coming into its own so business is a bit of an uphill battle," he said, "but with Facebook adding 1,000 more people in January there should be an uptick in business." Check the new menu here, with upscale sandwiches like a lamb "cubano" and housemade sausage on a Macrina baguette.
PHINNEY RIDGE—Sick of making your lunch like a sucker? Stop into Hecho instead, which is now offering its Mexican-inspired Northwest cuisine every weekday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Brunch is also still available Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) Shannon Wilkinson has been replaced as executive chef by Danny Ludwig, who returns to Seattle from Chicago, where he was working at Topolobampo under Andres Padilla and Rick Bayless. A new addition to his menu is a buttermilk fried chicken sandwich with sweet onion relish and cilantro aioli on a Tall Grass Bakery bun. Happy hour has also been extended to 3 to 6 p.m. on weekdays to take advantage of the earlier opening hours, with guacamole for $4 and margaritas, draft beers, and house wines for $5. Weekend happy hour is Saturday 2 to 5 p.m. and Sunday 2 to close.