The barren parking lot at the corner of Third Avenue West and Nickerson Street gives credo to Stell Makratzakis' concern: "for the whole summer this area dies and costs money to the local businesses."
But it doesn't have to be that way all the time. Instead of looking at an empty lot all summer next to his burger joint Stell's, Makratzakis hopes to activate the space with a Bite of Queen Anne event. The idea for the event stems from the Bite of Seattle, but won't be "too big, overrated and expensive," according to Makratzakis.
After stewing the idea for three years now, Makratzakis would like to make the Bite of Queen Anne a reality for next summer. Though he's only talked to a handful of businesses to test the idea, with so many restaurants and food businesses on Queen Anne Makratzakis doesn't think participation would be an issue.
"I want to see how the idea is accepted as an idea before we put meat and bones on it," Makratzakis said.
Hypothetically, Makratzakis said the space could probably hold up to 80 booths and he wouldn't want it to be any larger than that.
"If it's too big, people get burned out. That happens at the Bite of Seattle. We want to give people the time and space to see everything," he said.
Each business that wants to participate would pay a fee based on the costs to run the event and provide the supplies-tents and a power supply for example. Though Makratzakis worked on this idea for some time and he wants to trigger its existence, he does not want to run the event.
"I want to get it off the ground, but I don't want to be the head because I want there to be transparency," he explained.
Stell hopes one of the local community groups like the Chamber would take the leadership role. Assuming the event would be a success, it could be a yearly draw to the neighborhood, but more importantly to Makratzakis is that the event stays local in every possible way.
"I don't really want it to grow out of here. The intent of this is to bring the community out to meet each other, to energize the local base," Makratzakis said. "I want it to be self-contained, for Queen Anne, from Queen Anne and of Queen Anne."
While there are several factors to figure out in the next year, the one that could make or break Bite of Queen Anne is ownership of the parking lot-the potential site for the Bite of Queen Anne.
"The property is owned by SPU, which has yet to be engaged because Stell's waiting for the logistics to approach the school and discuss the idea," Makratzakis said.
In the next year, Makratzakis intends to map out the facts as far as cost, the City's role in providing power and getting businesses on board. Makratzakis is adamant the community needs this event-not just because it might be fun, but because an event like this brings the gamut of community members out to meet one another.
"I really think Queen Anne needs to have a little bit more of community sense. There are a lot of people who are not totally familiar with their community, their neighbors ... What makes it more natural to be here is you have all this green by you. It's a beautiful setting and natural place for this event."
Nothing's set in stone, as the Bite of Queen Anne remains a hypothetical at this point. But, like a seed inherently has potential to become a tree, Makratzakis notes: "the Bite of Queen Anne is a community event. The sky is the limit."[[In-content Ad]]