The experience of eating on Capitol Hill is difficult to approximate, seeing as it’s one of the premier dining destinations in all of Seattle. But the new “Capitol Hill Food Hall” at Sea-Tac airport, detailed in an official announcement, seems to be an especially odd mix of representation from the neighborhood. Of the eight options for food at the airport’s new, 7,700 square foot hub located between Gates A5 and A6, only two actually have outposts on Capitol Hill, and those — the ice cream parlor Salt and Straw and coffee shop Caffe Ladro — are really part of larger chains that don’t have Capitol Hill origins. “The food hall is about paying homage to the neighborhood, versus replicating it exactly,” a Sea-Tac rep tells Eater Seattle.
As for the other offerings at the hall, there’s Pizza Vino (which is a chain found at many different airports across the country); True Burger (same); Chowder Shack (advertising a Pike Place Chowder bisque); the General Store (with to-go salads, sodas, and cold-pressed juices); the Bakery (with goods from Grand Central Bakery and the Renton-based Schwartz Brothers); and the Tap & Pour (a bar featuring a selection of beer, whiskey flights, and Washington wines).
Capitol Hill Seattle had noted this strange development back in 2018, when the project was first announced (some of the places originally planned have since changed). But there may have been some hope that more local businesses would be in the mix eventually, especially since star chef Monica Dimas’s well-regarded Sunset Fried Chicken is in the works for Sea-Tac later this year (although that will be earmarked for Concourse D).
To be fair, any new food is welcome at an airport that — in the past — has lacked a lot of great dining options. And crowds will certainly line up for the popular Salt and Straw. Sea-Tac is also expanding its live music offerings this year, and one of two permanent performance spaces opening for local musicians will be at the Capitol Hill Food Hall. Here’s just hoping that visitors passing through the city don’t expect the real Capitol Hill to look exactly like this mini “Twilight Zone” version.