FOOD MATTERS | Let the drinking begin...

Capitol Hill is seeing some changes and additions. The first is Lost Lake Café & Lounge (1505 10th Ave.), a joint venture of David Meinert (Capitol Hill Block Party) and Jason Lajeunesse. That’s what they’ve decided to call the restaurant and bar on 10th Avenue, around the corner from the Comet Tavern (where Basic Plumbing used to be) that we told you about back in December.

Chipotle Mexican Grill has opened its third Seattle location on Broadway (1415 Broadway). 

Ezell’s Famous Chicken (501 23rd Ave.) is about to launch an expansion campaign. First, Ezell Express: a small fleet of trucks in Seattle neighborhoods. Then, franchise stores — not just in Seattle but out-of-state and overseas, as well. If you think it can’t be done, you don’t know Dennis Waldron, who is partnering with Ezell owners Phylicia Davidson and Jennifer Stephens on the expansion. Waldron is the guy who took Jerilyn Brusseau’s Cinnabon from her bakery to more than 400 stores.

Von Trapp, the Bavarian-themed beer hall on 12th Avenue (912 12th Ave.), is opening earlier on weekends to accommodate the long lines. 

Another Von, Von’s 1000 Spirits, has opened at the top of Harbor Steps downtown (1225 First Ave.). Von’s spent a quarter-century in mid-town, at the base of the Roosevelt Hotel. Tim Firnstahl, a fixture of the Seattle restaurant scene, has installed his daughter, Merissa Claridge, as “proprietress” and his son-in-law, Jason Amador, as chef. 

Two of Melrose Market’s occupants are opening outposts in Pioneer Square. At one end of the block, you can expect a new butcher shop from the owner of Rain Shadow Meats, Russell Flint. At the other, there’s restaurateur Matt Dillon of Sitka & Spruce. His new Bar Sajor (323 Occidental Ave. S.) is a modern Seattle watering hole: same cool vibe, same sort of big, wood-fired oven. 

Will the tribe of eaters on the Hill find their way into the dinginess of P-Square? Yeah, probably. They’ve both got what you might call the new Seattle norm: a room that looks set up to film a commercial for fabric softener, and a style of cooking that eschews classic à la minute preparation in favor of roasting stuff ahead of time, plating at a counter and serving room temperature.


From Queen Anne to Belltown

When she took over a space at the corner of Queen Anne Avenue North and Boston Street six or seven years ago, Mamma Enza Sorrentino was happy to find that it had a working pizza oven, so she made wood-fired, Sicilian-style pizzas. 

When the oven gave out a couple of years later, she converted to traditional Sicilian country fare. When the economy tanked, she lowered prices; and when even that didn’t keep customers coming back, she revamped the menu to meatballs. 

When she lost her lease, she went back to cooking at her son’s restaurant, Mondello, in Magnolia, but had in mind another place of her own: a Sicilian bakery and café that she named Isola Bella. 

She took on a partner, Steve Schlackman, and for nine months, the project has been maturing in a space at First Avenue and Bell Street (2302 First Ave.). It’s about to open, although the name has been changed to Bellini.

At the other end of the block, there seems to be little progress on the project announced for the Cascadia-Alabardero space taken over by Capitol Hill restaurateur Michael Forte of The Lookout. 



Down in Pike Place Market, next door to Matt’s in the Market, Radiator Whiskey is about to open. Chef Tyler Pilagi is available full-time, now that his gig as consulting chef for Everett’s Prohibition Grille has ended. Redubbed Prohibition Gastropub by Gordon Ramsay, the eatery’s makeover is scheduled to be televised Friday, March 22. 

We’ve got room to tell you about a new shellfish bar in Ballard: Ballard Annex Oyster House (5410 Ballard Ave. N.W.), in the former Thaiku space. Oysters, lobster rolls, chowder. The team behind the Matador chain and Ballard’s nearby Kickin’ Boot Whiskey Kitchen are the operators.

Seth Caswell, the charismatic owner of emmer&rye on Queen Anne, has a new position as executive chef on the Kirkland campus of Google.

And finally, for residents of Leschi (and neighbors on the western shore of Lake Washington), the pricey Daniel’s Broiler (200 Lake Washington Blvd.) is now open for weekend brunch. 

RONALD HOLDEN is a restaurant writer and consultant who blogs at and To comment on this column, write to

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