Time was, not so long ago, real estate salespeople were the ones who cooked up neighborhood names. Some of those names were launched generations ago, like Montlake, with its Frenchified allusions to significant natural attributes. Others—like slices of existing neighborhoods real estate hawkers wish to separate with a loftier designation—are more modern than that. My first Columbia City home, insisted one agent, was actually in Columbia Heights.
That one never quite took off.
These days real estate folks have neighborhood-making rivals in restaurant owners. Tangletown, the retail sector of Wallingford where several streets jumble into one another, was a salesperson’s invention but didn’t really penetrate common parlance until Elysian Brewing Co. opened Elysian Tangletown. Endolyne, that portion of West Seattle’s Fauntleroy serving as terminus of its old streetcar, was known as such locally but soared in stature with the opening of the neighborhood hangout, Endolyne Joe’s.
Serial restaurateur Ethan Stowell elevated Frelard—the area that’s not quite Fremont, not quite Ballard—from alt-cute nickname to formal designation when he put it on the sign for his Frelard Pizza Company on Leary last year.
And now comes word of perhaps the cleverest neighborhood portmanteau of all: Ravenleaf, the area between Ravenna and Maple Leaf, whose Ravenleaf Public House opened last Tuesday to the delight of real estate professionals and mapmakers everywhere.
I feel like I'm leaving something out. Anyone?