Category Archives: Local Businesses

Third Place Books + Raconteur Officially Open

This weekend marks the official opening of the long-awaited Third Place Books in the former PCC Seward Park location. The bookstore has events planned all weekend with a number of very well-known, local,  and respected authors reading (on Saturday, Seattle’s best-known restauranteur, Tom Douglas, reads at 11…2006 Pulitzer Prize winner, Tim Egan, reads at 1). Here’s the official release:

Located in the former Seward Park PCC, Third Place Seward Park is a general interest bookstore featuring new & used books with a used book buy back counter open seven days a week.  Third Place Seward Park continues the Third Place mission of providing a gathering space for its new community.

Third Place is also proud to present our partner at the new location – Raconteur.  A new restaurant concept brought to you by the owners of Flying Squirrel Pizza.  Raconteur will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, seven days a week.  Featuring a full coffee bar with locally roasted espresso, a dining room and a full bar, Raconteur aims to be the neighborhood destination, not only for the Seward Park area, but for all of Seattle.  Raconteur’s menu focuses on food from our corner of the world and dishes from around the globe – a truly upscale, international dining experience.

To celebrate our grand opening we have planned a weekend of book signings with a dynamic group of local authors.  Join us to meet your favorite authors and introduce yourself to the beautiful new addition to the Third Place Books family.

The new location, which also shares a space with a new restaurant and bar, Raconteur (which is being run by the folks behind Flying Squirrel) has been getting a lot of hype in the press. Here’s a Seattle Times write-up, another from Seattle Met, and this one from Eater.



Young & Young Smoked Fish Coming to Hillman City

10632102_863752313733291_874160328_nAfter months of really quiet rumors, a sign in the window next to Eyman’s Pizza confirms that Hillman City is about to get a new addition. While there’s not a ton known about Young & Young Smoked Fish Shoppe, here’s what I’ve been able to track down:

The business is run by Zac and Jesse Young. From this post on Cupcake Royale’s blog, it sounds like they’ve been in the smoked fish game for a few years.

Also (at least partially) confirmed, is that the business has some connection to Capitol Hill’s beloved Wandering Goose (update: one of the owners is married to Wandering Goose owner and chef, Heather Earnhardt)

Young & Young’s instagram account provides the most clues clues as to what we can expect.

PicMonkey Collage


Sam Choy’s Poke to the Max Coming to Columbia/Hillman City

Eater Seattle confirmed today that Sam Choy’s popular food truck, Poke to the Max, will be taking over the former La Isla de Mojito space between Columbia and Hillman City (5300 Rainier Ave S).

As many know, this is a tricky spot for restaurants. La Isla de Mojito, Grecian Delight, Kawayan, and Kawalli grill have all made a go in the location over the last few years only to eventually close the doors. For many neighbors, the space is cursed…the location where restaurants go to die. However, Sam Choy himself may be the key to making the space work. Choy’s a celebrity chef with a slew of restaurants, trucks, cooking shows, etc. From Choy’s wikipedia page:

Sam Choy is a chef, restaurateur, and television personality known as a founding contributor of “Pacific rim cuisine“.Choy is an alumnus of the Kapiolani Community College Culinary Arts program. One of his first jobs as a chef was at The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. He would then return to Hawaii, where he eventually opened a chain of restaurants.Choy helped develop and popularize Hawaii regional cuisine. In 1991, Choy founded the Poke Festival and Recipe Contest.

In 2004, Choy was awarded the James Beard Foundation Award America’s Classics Award for Sam Choy’s Kaloko in Kailua-Kona, on the Big Island of Hawaii. The award recognizes “beloved regional restaurants” that reflect the character of their communities.

Choy has appeared in several Food TV programs, including Ready.. Set… Cook! and Iron Chef America. He is good friends with Emeril Lagasse,who has appeared on Choy’s TV show Sam Choy’s Kitchen on KHNL. Lagasse has also mentioned Choy by name several times in his TV shows; one of those times he was making Poke on his live TV show, and added peanut butter to the Poke – Choy’s “secret ingredient”. In 2015, Choy broadcast a series on YouTube, Sam Choy In The Kitchen.

Choy has designed special Hawaiian inspired dishes for American Airlines first class passengers to and from Hawaii.

In addition, Choy’s truck is very popular, often with long lines at its roving locations around the city and plenty of positive reviews on Yelp.

As many know, this stretch of Rainier between Hillman and Columbia City is about to see incredible change. There’s a major, 4-6 story, 120+ unit development planned for the auto yard directly across the street from this location. With it, the divide (if there is one) between the two neighborhoods will continue to blur.

Interestingly, with Marination’s Super Six opening last year on Hudson, Choy’s new addition will mark the neighborhood’s second Hawaiian food truck-to-brick and mortar business to move in.

Currently, there are no permits filed for the location that provide any clues as to how extensive the renovation to the site will be.

Columbia City Bakery’s Evan Andres Nominated for James Beard Award…again

2003999973Once again, Columbia City Bakery’s own Evan Andres has been nominated for a prestigious James Beard Award–the country’s top food award (often referred to as the “Food Oscars”).  The full list of chefs, bakers, restaurants, and bars that have been nominated can be found here.  JBF_AWARDS_MEDALLION-BLOG

Seattle Times on Seward Park’s New 3rd Place Books

Robert Sindelar, managing partner of Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park, is overseeing construction of Third Place's new bookstore in Seward Park, Mon., Feb. 8, 2016, in Seattle.

Robert Sindelar, managing partner of Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park, is overseeing construction of Third Place’s new bookstore in Seward Park, Mon., Feb. 8, 2016, in Seattle. Photo: Ken Lambert, Seattle Times

The Seattle Times has a new piece by Mary Ann Gwinn on the new Third Place Books coming to Seward Park. The piece outlines the details for the store , provides new info about the food offerings (restaurant, coffee, and a downstairs bar), and even has a number of photos of the construction and the extensive work being done to remodel the former PCC. According to the article, Third Place is hoping to open in April.

Below’s an excerpt, the full piece can be read here:

For months now the Seward Park/Columbia City neighborhood has buzzed with the question — when will the new Third Place Books-Seward Park bookstore open? In search of answers, I went to the new location at 5401 Wilson Ave. S. to take a look.

Robert Sindelar, managing partner at Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park, met me there and gave me a quick tour. We had a hard time making ourselves heard above the buzz of saws and the pounding of hammers, but never mind — it’s looking good, and could open its doors in April.

This store, taking shape inside the shell of the former Puget Consumers Co-op building in Seward Park, will be the third in the Third Place Books chain.

Owned by business visionary Ron Sher, the existing two stores, Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park and Third Place Books in Ravenna, showcase Sher’s concept that the best bookstores combine good business and good community building. Not just a bookstore, but a place to get coffee, work, socialize, gather, eat and last but not least, discuss and browse books — a sort of community commons, a meeting and gathering place for multiple age levels.

This concept has ensured success for the first two stores. The Seward Park store will be all that and then some, because the store’s managers and owners are creating an all-new store inside the old PCC.

The store’s 7,000 square feet will feature an espresso bar, a full restaurant called Raconteur (breakfast, lunch and dinner), a full bar downstairs, an event/reading space capable of accommodating up to 100 people, and books. Sindelar estimates it will stock 15,000 to 20,000 titles and 50,000 units (individual books). There will be a separate children’s department.

As with the other stores, the stock will consist of both used and new books — approximately 50 percent new, 50 percent used.

The renovation budget is about $1.4 million, Sindelar said.

The store’s most distinctive architectural feature is its arched roof, uncovered when the renovators knocked down the dropped ceiling and found both the ceiling and the original wood trusses. Now the interior ceiling is clad in beautiful overlapping wood, like a warm wood floor. Skylights let the light in.

Sindelar and Sher had scouted locations in the South End and in West Seattle (disappointed groan from this West Seattleite). Then they learned that the PCC was planning to move from its Wilson Avenue location to Columbia City.

 The co-op wanted a good price for the building (it was purchased from the co-op for $1.25 million, according to county property records), “but they were equally concerned with being a good neighbor,” Sindelar says, passing the property on to someone who would enhance the neighborhood.

Ka-ching. The Ravenna store is in a former PCC location, and that building was purchased from the co-op. Feelings were cordial between both parties.

From a traffic standpoint, the neighborhood already knew the location, and how to find the parking lot (yes! Parking!!!).

The restaurant will be run by Bill Coury and Brian Vescovi, owners of Flying Squirrel Pizza in Seward Park, Maple Leaf and Georgetown. In an email, Couri wrote that the restaurant will feature “upscale pub food with a global flair. … The bar downstairs will have 20 beers on tap with 6 dedicated German beers, private dining rooms, and plenty of flat screens to catch your favorite game.”…

Columbia City Theater Under New Management

Friday, December 18, 2015.   Lara Lavi is the new co-manager of the Columbia City Theatre in Seattle's Columbia District and has plans to renovate the place.  Musicians are practicing in the backround.

Friday, December 18, 2015. Lara Lavi is the new co-manager of the Columbia City Theatre in Seattle’s Columbia District and has plans to renovate the place. Musicians are practicing in the backround.

The Seattle Times has a piece outlining some new changes underway at the Columbia City Theater. Under new management, the new brains behind the theater have some big ideas on how to improve the space and make the most out of Washington’s oldest vaudville theater.

“You know that movie, ‘We Bought A Zoo’?” Lara Lavi asked as we stood on a balcony inside the Columbia City Theater. “This is that movie.”

It was a fitting comparison. People were running up and down stairs and milling about on the main floor. There was a slight odor about the place — not unexpected after almost 100 years.
And there was wondrous racket coming from the stage, where comedian and musician Ahamefule Oluo and his orchestra were rehearsing for his show, “Now I’m Fine,” before bringing it to New York next month.

If this is a zoo, then Lavi is the keeper with all the keys — most important, the one to the theater’s future.

Last month, Lavi and her husband, Maurice Jones Jr., a multimedia educator who worked with the Central Area Youth Association, were brought in by theater owner Peter Sikov to manage the place.

“We had a four-hour conversation where (Sikov) really saw who we were as artists and grown-up people,” she said.

Lavi, 55, brings years of experience to the role.

She is a working attorney who became the managing partner of Death Row Records in 2009 after negotiating an $18 million acquisition deal.

She has her own production company, called Dreaming in Color Entertainment.

And she is an artist who fronts the Lara Lavi Band and has a new, five-song EP called “Finish Line” coming out next summer.
“We bring emotional acumen, business acumen and a true love of the arts,” Lavi said. “And I am a player. I am doing this.”

Settling into one of the well-worn couches in the theater’s office area, she painted a vivid picture of what she sees for the place.

A thriving theater, with bookings on par with every other similarly sized venue in town. An education program, where students can learn not just performance, but recording, stage management, lighting, sound tech, marketing and promotion. A recording studio, where artists can feel comfortable to create.

She also wants to launch something called “DICE TV,” streaming live performances and artist interviews.

“This would be a media spot similar to ‘Austin City Limits,’ ” she said, referring to the long-running televised concert series on PBS. “This is a perfect production house for this. We want to make sure that every ounce of this building is monetized.”…

Click here to read the full article.

Seattle Times on Bob’s Reopening

Photo: Seattle Times

On Christmas Eve you have to take a number at Bob’s Quality Meats in Columbia City

Last week, The Seattle Times’ Jessica Lee posted a nice piece on the reopening of Bob’s Meats. There’s even a video that walks us through the damage of the fire. To read the full piece, click here.

…The store at 4861 Rainier Ave. S. started taking orders again earlier this month, though with a slightly modified menu. Last-minute building preparations cut time for smoking some of the store’s big meats, such as its popular fresh turkeys and hams.

“It’s good to have him back,” customer Mark Holtzen said of James Ackley. Holtzen has been buying meat at Bob’s for 10 years.

The meat shop sells hundreds of hams each Christmas season and more than 500 fresh turkeys each Thanksgiving. The store packages about 150 pounds of homemade sausage on an average day throughout the year, and at times, Bob’s offers more than 100 varieties of chicken, beef, sausage and pork.

The advertised selection runs the gamut, from unique delicacies such as pig hearts and oxtail, to the classics, such as drumsticks and rib-eye steak. Bob’s sells to downtown Seattle restaurants and across the country, continuing a long-running, meat-cutting tradition.

Joe Ackley, James Ackley’s grandfather, started the meat business more than a century ago when he sold meat off a wagon pulled by mules in the Yakima area. After the invention of refrigeration, he opened a shop in 1909 where his sons, including James Ackley’s father, Bob, helped prepare meat.

In 1963, Bob Ackley moved his family to Seattle and opened a shop in West Seattle. Then in the late 1970s, the Ackleys took over another family’s meat shop in Columbia City, where Bob’s continues today.

“I don’t think that many people get the opportunity to experience this kind of connection … with their neighborhood, particularly in an urban place that we in our family have always kind of known,” said Abraham Ackley, the shop’s current manager…

For the full piece, click here.



Bob’s Quality Meats is Back


Photo by A.G. The Stranger

After five months of rebuilding following a devastating fire, Bob’s Quality Meats has opened their doors. The Stranger’s Angela Garbes has some nice coverage:

This past July, a two-alarm fire melted the ceiling and walls of Bob’s Quality Meats, the Columbia City butcher shop that has been run by the Ackley family since the late 1970s. (The building, built in 1892, has been a meat store, owned and operated by multiple generations of two different families, since 1909.) The fire caused more than $300,000 in property and product damage. As customers, myself very much included, mourned the closure of Bob’s, owners James and Thien Ackley vowed that they would return.

As of yesterday, Bob’s is back in business. When I stopped in yesterday morning just after 9 a.m., hoping to buy pounds of the excellent housemade chorizo, bratwurst, and Cajun boudin blanc that I’ve been missing for far too long, I was disappointed to find the door locked. But James Ackley was nice enough to let me in, even though the sign in the window read “Closed” and the brand-new meat case that runs almost the entire length of the store was empty, save for a few steaks. Ackley said they would be opening the doors at 10 a.m., even if they didn’t have much to sell right away.

“I’d shake your hand,” he told me. “But it’s kind of gross since I’m in the middle of cutting meat.”

People who have been shopping at Bob’s for years will be relieved to know that the place has the same familiar layout and feel, but with a few upgrades. Refrigerators and freezers line one wall, soon to be filled with assorted frozen meats, lard, and bones for making stock. A shiny metro shelf rack holding a big box of yellow onions awaited other basic pantry items that Bob’s always stocks so you don’t have to make an extra trip to the grocery store.

Along with the new meat case, the Ackleys have taken out the old fluorescent track lighting and replaced it with antique-looking milk glass hanging lamps.

“We got rid of the fluorescent stuff, and these—which I actually think look a lot better—are all LED,” Ackley said, pointing to the ceiling. “So we’re more energy-efficient now.”

Above the meat case, though, hang lights that point toward the Ackley’s long family history. The corrugated tin lamp shades are the same ones that hung in the butcher shop Ackley’s grandfather, Joe, opened in eastern Washington in 1909. Ackley’s father, Bob, opened his store in West Seattle in 1963. James Ackley took over the Bob’s Columbia City shop in 1997, and his own son, Abe, now manages much of Bob’s’ day-to-day operations.

The family has been working hard for the last five months to get Bob’s back up and running, but they’ve also relied on support from the community. The Ackleys placed petitions at neighboring businesses such as Columbia City Bakery, Full Tilt Ice Cream, and Tin Umbrella Coffee to collect signatures as part of an application process for a Saving Landmarks grant from 4Culture and King County. The family received $200,000 to restore the historic building and their family legacy.

 Just before Thanksgiving, the busiest time of year for Bob’s, the Ackleys received so many requests from customers who order their signature smoked turkeys for their holiday dinners (Bob’s typically sells around 500 of them every year) that they went ahead and took a limited number of orders. Because the butcher shop was still under construction, the family sold them out of a refrigerator at Claws & Paws, the pet shop they own in nearby Hillman City.

Now, Bob’s is open, just in time for a busy Christmas season. “Order Now,” a butcher paper sign in the window reads, listing suggestions such as prime rib, crown roast, honey-glazed spiral-cut ham, and “Our Own Down Home Ham.”

“When you’re closed for almost six months, you worry that people forget about you,” Ackley told me. “So we want everyone to know, we’re back. We’re still here.”

First Images of Future Pagliacci

useThanks to the efforts of Scott A., we’ve got the first look at what’s in store for the Hastings Building at the corner of Ferdinand and Rainier. As reported a few weeks ago, the plan is for Pagliacci to open a restaurant in the heart of Columbia City. Here are the details from Scott’s original post on the Columbia City Facebook page:

On Tuesday afternoon the Columbia City [Historic District] Review Committee met to review the alterations planned for the Hastings Building at 4901 Rainier Ave S. The north portion of the building (including the corner) will have a Pagliacci Pizza shop where Carol Cobb salon used to be. The building was damaged on August 28, 2014 by a car running into it. The biggest change seems to be that the existing canopy will be removed and new steel and glass canopies will be installed.

I wasn’t able to attend the meeting but I did just visit the Department of Neighborhoods office downtown and reviewed the plans. I was allowed to take photos of the plans that were presented. There are probably plenty more meetings yet to go on this prominent project but if you have comments – send them to Rebecca who oversees our historic district for the city. Contact info at this link:…/h…/historic-districts/columbia-city


Phase Two Interiors to Open Friday

Front elevation with signPhase Two Interiors, the new furniture consignment shop on Edmunds (just east of Starbucks and across from Empire), is set to open this Friday. Here’s the official press release:

Interior middle1


( December 2015) Columbia City’s newest consignment shop is slated to open December 4,  2015.   PHASE TWO INTERIORS  will feature fine HOME consignments from the unique to the practical.  All merchandise is gently used, consigned from individuals or estates, and includes everything from sofas, dining, living  and bedroom pieces, original artwork, home accessories and lighting.

Owner, Gigi Buchanan,  brings her 14  years of furniture consignment  experience and expertise to PHASE TWO INTERIORS, and looks forward to working with the Columbia City community and the Greater Seattle area to bring stylish home furnishings  in excellent condition at affordable prices.  She wants to further strengthen Columbia City’s reputation for high-end consignment and re-sale, and to help support and strengthen the existing shops like Green Eileen, Gather, Hunt, and  Chrysanthemum.

With construction complete, PHASE TWO INTERIORS is located at 3808 S. Edmunds Street just around the corner from Starbucks on S. Edmunds Street.  Buchanan states that the building is ideal for furniture in that it has no columns to restrict furniture layouts or displays.   The original structure of the roof is made up of historic timbers each 40 ft. long and 20″ high.  Buchanan has retained those timbers, as well as retaining the original wood floors.

Buchanan will offer high quality, brand name furniture, at affordable prices, to put into your home immediately – not furniture from garage sales, thrift and discount furniture stores,  but timeless pieces to enjoy for a lifetime.  

Please stop by or go to  for more consignment information or call the store at 206-457-8419.