Tracking What's New on Capitol Hill
Yeah, we talk a lot about the resurgence of Pioneer Square. But Capitol Hill remains the juggernaut of new bars and restaurants. Here’s a current-as-of-this-minute accounting of what just opened and what’s about to arrive. It will probably change again tomorrow. And the day after that.
1. Chico Madrid
Ballard's Honore Bakery now has a sibling, well sorta, on Bellevue and Roy. As the name implies, this place leans Spanish with bocadillos (long, skinny sandwiches) with fillings like Serrano ham or manchego. There are also baked good aplenty, but we're especially fond of that sangria machine.
2. Bakery Nouveau
Hey, look, another crazy-popular bakery doing a Capitol Hill spinoff. The West Seattle favorite recently expanded to 15th and John and the wonderful William Leaman is busy plying locals with the same baked goods that draw crowds across town, but here he produces a few more cakes and sandwiches. Capitol Hill Seattle blog has been all over this one.
3. Expanded Montana
Quippy ballplayer-pundit Yogi Berra is about six decades removed from the crowd at Montana, but his famous "Nobody goes there anymore; it's too crowded" quote perfectly sums up its pre-expansion existence. Now the comfortable, divey-without-trying-too-hard bar has taken over the space next door and you have a prayer of getting a seat. And a tap cocktail made with co-owner Rachel Marshall's ginger beer.
4. Lost Lake Cafe and Lounge
Ho. Lee. This 24-hour diner from David Meinert and Jason Lajeunesse has been mobbed since it opened its doors for breakfast earlier this week. There is a 6am happy hour, thus ending my perennial quest for the perfect spot for consuming chicken-fried bacon and $3.50 well drinks on my way to work in the morning.
5. My Sweet Little Cakes
You know what the world needs more of? Pancakes on a stick. Since February a bright-orange trailer at 1208 Pine has been addressing this grave shortage. If you somehow pass up Lost Lake's breakfast happy hour, you can stop here for breakfast.
6. Sam's Tavern
The son and nephew of the original Red Robin franchisees is doing his own burger thing at 1024 East Pike. The fries are bottomless and the crowds come late at night. Oh, and this is what the bloody Mary looks like.
7. Torteria Barriga Llena
Sorry, Green Lake. The purveyor of addictive Mexico City-style tortas dismayed denizens of Aurora Avenue when it disappeared earlier this year, only to turn up in Broadway Alley. Here's CHS's report.
The opening was quiet, the place is unassuming, but so far the buzz is good at this neighborhood bistro that nods to foods of Montreal. The morning dashi is on my to-do list.
9. La Cocina Oaxaquena
Try pronouncing the name of this Oaxacan newcomer at Pine and Melrose after one of its margaritas. Hell, good luck pronouncing it before. You'd think that making trips to the salsa bar would slow down the steady inhalation of chips that's happening on the patio on sunny days. You'd be wrong.
10. Pie Bar
Identical blonde twins, booze, and pie sound like an idea that might surface at a pitch meeting (a late-at-night, anything-goes, can-we-go-home-yet pitch meeting) for a beer commercial campaign. In reality it's sisters Lyss Lewis and Natalie Delucchi pairing Lyss's baking talents with cider, beer, wine, and Natalie's pie-infused martinis in the former Saley Crepes space on Olive Way.
11. Vostok Dumpling House
Marination Station has a new neighbor upstairs in the Harvard Market complex. "Soviet-inspired" dumplings (aka pelmeni) are made in-house and play nice with beer.
12. Café AboDeGas
Seriously, CHS–do you make this stuff up? This "experimental" cafe created its name from a truncated portmanteau of "Abode" (you know, feelings of home), "Bodega" (as in market), and "Degas" (duh, a nod to French Impressionism). The Sixth Ave original just opened a location on 15th, where Insomniax used to be.
14. Guilt-Free Goodness
Another Broadway Alley newcomer sells gluten-free breads, muffins, cupcakes, and cookies, plus a few lunchy items like soups and painini. Here's the daily menu.
13. Capitol Cider
The oil portrait of John Adams is hung. The mural of a bar brawl is complete. The anticipation is mounting for this cider bar with a completely gluten-free kitchen. As my colleague Cassie Sawyer put it, "imagine if Von Trapp's and Bait Shop had a baby—except the fish and chips are battered in cider and rice flour. Give it a few weeks.
15. Highscore Burgers
When Full Tilt Ice Cream's Justin Cline announced he was opening a burger joint (with plenty of arcade games) in Redmond, he hinted that another one is in the works on Capitol Hill. Somewhere near the Comet. Still no specifics on this location, but the Redmond one is open if you want a preview.
16. Le Zinc
The owner of Pike Place Market happy hour staple Maximilien is planning a casual bistro and bar at 15th and Pine. He told CHS to look for a mid-May opening but, just like every other restaurant project ever in the universe, it's taking a little longer. You can look for updates on the Facebook page.
17. Mezcaleria Oaxaca
The owners of Queen Anne's Mezcaleria Oaxaca and the beloved La Carta de Oaxaca are bringing the smoky spirit and Oaxacan fare to a former auto shop on Pine. There is talk of a rooftop patio. The original plan was to open late this summer, though some bar-stool intel suggests it's more like fall at this point.
18. The Old Sage
Chefs Dana Tough and Brian McCracken are turning to former Local Vine spot on 12th Avenue into (stop me if you've heard this one before) a place of brown liquor and smoked meats. The duo is quick to point out they're not talking barbecue. They are talking about dishes like pork cheeks smoked with lavender to impart an herbal flavor. Also, I dig the restaurant's tagline, "smoked meats and malts." The guys are hesitant to pin down an updated opening timeline, but the original was late winter, so it can't be that far off.
We've been tracking Linda Derschang's next project for more than a year now. The Bait Shop wan't even a gleam in her eye when she spilled a few details about her plans for 19th Ave. And it's been open so long it didn't even qualify for our "newly opened" part of this post. We know Tallulah's is named for Derschang's daughter, will have a very Capitol Hill feel to it, and is coming in the latter half of this year.
Gregg Holcomb held court at Knee High Stocking Co. for years, now he's opening his own place in the former Five Fish Bistro address on Broadway–bringing craft cocktailery to one of the neighborhood's main drags. Witness will have the feel of a Southern church, he says, and plates like chicken and waffles and pulled-pork sliders. There's also talk of a blender, some peanut butter, and bourbon. Any guesses as to how many "can I get a Witness" jokes he's heard since announcing his project last week? He's shooting to be open by Pride weekend.