Category Archives: Local Businesses

South Seattle Emerald on Flying Lion Brewery

The South Seattle Emerald has a nice, long interview with the Griffin Williams, the owner of Flying Lion Brewery, on the business’ first few months, the decision to locate the brewery in Columbia City, and what we can expect to see in the future:

flying-lion-6-cover-shotTo hear Flying Lion Brewing owner Griffin Williams distill his extensive knowledge on the craft of beer making is to occupy the shoes of the obnoxious Harvard dunce in the famous bar scene from Good Will Hunting as Matt Damon’s savant character untaps a torrent of esoteric information leaving the poor sap’s cerebrum overwhelmed.

The 24-year-old self-taught brewer’s love for the world’s second most consumed beverage is palpable as he barely takes a breath while describing the minutia associated with its fermentation process. As he discusses the distinct way to join hops, filter cartridges and yeast in holy union to produce savory ale he sounds like a classically trained thespian anxious to finally recite Shakespearean verse to an appreciative audience.

Visiting Williams’ two-month-old brewery in Columbia City, you quickly find his claim of the Flying Lion being all about the beer to ring true…

Click here to read the whole post.

Rumor: Empire Espresso Planning a New Columbia City Cafe/Roastery

This one appears to have gone overlooked by many (thanks to Chris for the tip!), but Empire has hinted on its blog that a new project is in the works:

l-1I guess now would be the time to break the news…we’re planning a roastery/cafe for this time next year in the heart of Columbia City a block from the original Empire Espresso.  We’re keeping our current cafe.  The new cafe will have little to no food.  We have a concept that we think is quite unique.  We’ll keep it a secret for now.
It might not look as fancy as the that new Starbucks [click for link that’s being referenced] but it will be a store that Columbia City residents can be proud of.

Ark Lodge to Show “The Interview” On Christmas Night

Ark Lodge is one of approximately 200 cinemas nationwide (and the only one in Seattle) to show “The Interview.” According to the official Ark Lodge Facebook page, “tickets are going fast.”  Tickets can be purchased here.

Joel Connelly at the PI picked up the story (including some (attempted) Columbia City connections to the film):


The Ark Lodge Cinemas, in Seattle’s Columbia City, will be one of about 200 theaters across the country showing “The Interview,” the frat house movie in which Seth Rogan and James Franco set out to assassinate North Korea’s “Great Leader,” Kim Jong-Un.

Sony Pictures announced last week that it was canceling the movie’s Christmas Day opening because large theater chains were afraid to show it.

But the show will go on at smaller independent theaters such as Ark Lodge.  Ark Lodge will screen “The Interview” at 9:30 on Christmas night, and at 2:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1.

“Freedom has prevailed: Sony didn’t give up,” Seth Rogen tweeted on Tuesday.

Sony Pictures Chairman Michael Lynton, in making the announcement, said the filmmaker was seeking “to secure more platforms and more theaters so that the movie reaches the largest possible audience.”

Sony Pictures was the victim of a cyberattack in which North Korea was “centrally involved,” according to the FBI.  An anonymous group issued threats about the movie opening.

(The “hermit kingdom” saw its own Internet service, used by a tiny number of the North Korean elite, go down for a lengthy period on Monday.)

The communist Kim family dynasty, which has ruled North Korea since World War II, is acutely sensitive to the image of its “Great Leaders.”  U.S. movies are forbidden in that country, although “Great Leader” Kim Jong II, father of the current “Great Leader,” collected thousands of American flicks.

Last April, two men claiming to be North Korean officials visited a London hair salon that had used a picture of Kim Jong-Un in an advertising poster.  The poster said:

“BAD HAIR DAY? 15% off all gent cuts through the month of April, Tuesday-Thursday.”

The North Korean government would probably take an active dislike to Columbia City.  The “hermit kingdom” is badly malnourished.  Columbia City features one of Seattle’s best bakeries, a breakfast spot (Geraldine’s) filled almost from the moment it opens, plus the original Tutte Bella Pizza a block south of the Ark Lodge.

Tutte Bella challenged Seattle’s rulers when it led the successful campaign to allow sidewalk dining at restaurants.  Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, in 2013, used a Columbia theater to outline his plans for an inclusive city in which opposition voices get heard.

Kim Jong-Un won his last election with 100 percent of the vote.

Paul Constant at The Stranger also encourages everyone to attend:

Earlier today, I told you that independent cinemas were taking up the slack after national movie theater chains refused to carry The Interview. I just got word that the one Seattle-area movie theater that will carry The Interview on Christmas is Ark Lodge Cinema in Columbia City.

1419382387-interview_xlgLatisha Miller, the manager at Ark Lodge, told me they will host their first screening of The Interview at 9:30 pm on Christmas day. From Friday the 26th through January 1st, they’ll be showingThe Interview at 2:30 pm and 9:30 pm daily.

What I said this morning still stands: Don’t feel like you should have to see The Interview to prove your patriotism. But you should absolutely give Ark Lodge your business; they’re a great independent neighborhood theater that has the guts to screen a controversial movie when the corporate chains finked out. These are the folks you should be supporting when you spend your moviegoing dollars.

More on Seward Park’s Upcoming Third Place Books

Ever since the official news was released yesterday, a number of news outlets have picked up the story of Third Place Books’ plans to move into the soon-to-be former PCC location in Seward Park. From The Stranger’s Paul Constant:


Third Place Books just sent out a press release beginning with the news that “PCC Natural Markets (PCC), the nation’s largest natural foods retail cooperative, has announced the sale of the building and property currently occupied by its Seward Park store to Ron Sher of Third Place Books.” The 7,200 square foot building will becomeThird Place’s third Seattle-area bookstore, and it will include a restaurant “and possibly a pub,” with plans to open the new store by the end of 2015. The store will carry a mixture of new and used titles, along the lines of other Third Place stores, and it will also host author and community events.

Over the phone, Robert Sindelar, managing partner at Third Place Books, compares their expectations for the building to their Ravenna location, rather than the much larger Lake Forest Park location. Sindelar says he and Sher have been scouting for a third location for the bookstore for “about a year and a half.” They looked at neighborhoods all over the greater Seattle area, but then in “late spring or early summer,” Sindelar says, “we got a call from PCC. I don’t think they even officially put that property on the market. PCC is concerned about legacy and trying to do the right thing for their neighborhood. They were putting the word out that they were looking for the right new tenant” to take over the property. Sher and Sindelar checked out the building and investigated the neighborhood. They thinksouth Seattle is underserved when it comes to destination bookstores. “As the density rises on the south end, I think people are looking for more and more things they can do in their neighborhood without leaving their neighborhoods,” Sindelar explains.

The bookstore will take up roughly 3500 feet of the space, with the rest turned over to restaurant and event space. Third Place hasn’t nailed down a restaurant partner for the Seward Park location yet, but Sindelar says they’re looking for something similar to their relationship with Vios in Ravenna, with “coffee, full-service breakfast, lunch, and dinner and a pub that’s open in the evenings.” Third Place is looking for a business that fits with the new location. “We know how to do the book thing,” Sindelar says, “and we’re going to get a great neighborhood partner.” Third Place plans to move quickly once PCC’s move to Columbia City, which is currently expected to happen in midsummer, is complete. If everything goes according to plan, Sindelar says, the store will be open at this time next year. Sindelar sounds excited about the chance to get to know the neighborhood; he says he attended the 104th annual meeting at the Lakewood Seward Park Community Club last night, which was “a really cool eclectic mix of people from the neighborhood,” and the meeting started to give him a sense of the diverse community the bookstore will serve.

This news is a testament to Seattle’s dedication to literary culture. As the last remaining national big box book chain is struggling to retain its relevancy, and as cities across the country lose bookstores, Seattle continues to buck the national trend and add large independent booksellers. This is great news.

The announcement was also picked up by the Puget Sound Business Journal‘s Marc Stiles:

Seattle’s Seward Park area apparently won’t be without a neighborhood gathering spot for long when PCC moves next summer because a Third Place Books will replace the natural foods market.

Third Place Books owner Ron Sher and PCC Acting CEO Randy Lee on Thursday announced the sale of the Seward Park PCC property at 5041 Wilson Ave. S., where the market has operated since 1985. The sale price was not released and the sale has not yet recorded in public records.

Sher plans to operate a book store, restaurant and possibly a pub on the property by the end of next year. The Third Place Books will be similar to the one that the company developed at a former PCC location in Seattle’s Ravenna neighborhood.

Sher has a knack for brick-and-mortar success in an era of increasing online shopping. He succeeds, in part, by hosting numerous events, from French conversation gatherings to t’ai chi classes and readings by authors at his stores. There’s one in Lake Forest Park as well as Ravenna.

In a press release, he said that he understands that Seward Park residents are reluctant to lose the PCC, and added that he’s committed to creating a new “neighborhood asset” by the end of 2015.

King County had not posted the closing of the sale of the nearly 7,000-square-foot PCC building, and Third Place representatives were not immediately available.

PCC, a 10-store, organic retail cooperative with annual sales of more than $200 million, is moving to a new 25,000-square-foot store in Columbia City, about a mile from the Seward Park location. The PCC will be the retail anchor of a large mixed-use apartment project called the Angeline.

PCC said they had tried to stay at the Seward Park location but could not upgrade the building to meet the growing demand.

Want another one? Here’s The Seattle Times saying essentially the same as the two stories above.

Chandala Thai Cuisine Coming to Former St. Dames Location

There’s about to be another new restaurant option in the neighborhood. Chandala Thai Cuisine is planning to open in the former St. Dames location on MLK. They’ve even got a website with a menu all ready to go.


Third Place Books Coming to Seward Park PCC Location

After a few months of rumors, speculation, and hints, here’s the official release from PCC about the sale:


PCC Natural Markets announces sale of Seward Park PCC property to Ron Sher of Third Place Books

(Seattle, Wash., December 11, 2014) – PCC Natural Markets (PCC), the nation’s largest natural foods retail cooperative, has announced the sale of the building and property currently occupied by its Seward Park store to Ron Sher of Third Place Books. The sale precedes PCC’s move from the property to a larger site in the nearby Columbia City neighborhood in summer 2015.

Sher is purchasing the Seward Park land and 7,200 sq. ft. building, located at 5041 Wilson Avenue South in Seattle, with the intention of operating a book store, restaurant, and possibly a pub, similar to the project the company developed at the former PCC location in Seattle’s Ravenna neighborhood.

“PCC is delighted to have reached an agreement with a trusted developer that assures the offering of a new gathering place for Seward Park neighbors and visitors,” said Randy Lee, PCC’s Acting CEO. “Having a community-oriented successor at our property was extremely important to us, and based on our prior experience in working with Third Place Books, we are hopeful that the property’s new purpose will be welcomed by the local community.”

“We appreciate that Seward Park residents are reluctant to lose the Seward Park PCC which has served them well since 1985,” said Ron Sher, owner of Third Place Books. “We are committed to creating a new neighborhood asset and are moving towards opening the Seward Park Third Place Books by year-end 2015.

For many years PCC had tried to remain in its current location but was unable to upgrade the existing building and parking in a way that would adequately meet growing demand. In January 2013, PCC announced it would move from the Seward Park neighborhood to a new 25,000 sq. ft. site in Columbia City, about one mile from the current store. The new store will enable PCC to offer shoppers more product choices as well as triple available parking.

About PCC Natural Markets: Headquartered in Seattle, Wash., PCC Natural Markets is a certified organic retail cooperative with annual sales of more than $200 million and an active membership of more than 52,000 households. PCC operates ten neighborhood locations; nine in King County including Fremont, Greenlake Aurora, Greenlake Village, Issaquah, Kirkland, Redmond, Seward Park, View Ridge and West Seattle, and its Edmonds store in South Snohomish County.

About Third Place Books: Founded in 1998 in Lake Forest Park Wash. and in the Ravenna neighborhood of Seattle in 2002, Third Place Books is a general interest bookstore. It is a fun and comfortable place to browse, linger, lounge, relax, read, eat, laugh, play, talk, listen, and just watch the world go by.

Media contacts

Diana Chapman
PCC Natural Markets
206-547-1222, ext. 106
206-390-6657 (cell)

Paris Bakery Building For Sale

Over on the CC Facebook page, it was noted that the building that the Paris Bakery is located in has recently been put up for sale. The listing agent even chimed in on the conversation and confirmed that the building is indeed up for redevelopment, but limited from major changes due to its presence in the historical district. At this point, it is not clear what the future plans for Paris Bakery entail, although the listing does make it appear like the business will need to to be relocated.

For 1.3 million, the building could be yours (click for official listing) …the chatter on Facebook is that a neighborhood could really use an Indian restaurant.

Columbia City 547945Bakery/Pizzeria/Restaurant for Sale  5020 Rainier  
In the heart of Historical Columbia City is a perfect spot to relocate your existing Bakery/Pizzeria/Restaurant. This 2580 SqFt /KCR of retail space on a 4000 SqFt lot. Class 1 hood, Deep fryer, Grill, Refrigeration, Walk in cooler, Rack oven, four tier Pizza Oven, food showcases, Dough equipment, and much more. Parking for 4 to 5 cars or convert the grade level garage door and parking area into a cool outdoor deck/patio area for your guest.

Giving Opportunity: Columbia City Gateway Project

Perspective_Version1.psdAs many are already aware, there’s a community effort to transform the area surrounding 37th and Edmunds into a more welcoming, usable, and inviting part of the neighborhood. The folks behind the Columbia City Gateway project sent out the following reminder that Giving Tuesday (a nice follow-up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday) is a great opportunity to get involved with the project:

Many meaningful causes are probably reaching out to you for Giving Tuesday. If you are looking for a very local one with lasting impact, please consider the Columbia City Gateway.

This project will turn the neglected and unsightly corner of 37thand South Edmunds into a welcoming streetscape with a plaza and benches for community gathering. All contributions are tax deductible and will be matched dollar for dollar, thanks to a $ 100,000 grant from the Department of Neighborhoods.   For the gift that keeps on giving (for decades), any $ 500 or higher tax deductible donation will received a 4-inch bronze medallion embedded in the project.

You can give directly right now at the Seattle Parks Foundation, or you can pick up a pledge form at the Columbia City Bakery or the Shirley Marvin Hotel.

We hope you will consider giving locally and become a Gateway Builder.  For more information, visit Friends of Columbia City Gateway on Facebook



Esmay Rumors Continued…Marination?

The Esmay Building (3714 S Hudson St…right across from the Greenhouse Apartments) has long been a topic for neighborhood business rumors, potential, and hopes. I’ve reported before on some initial buzz about a Scott Staples Uneedaburger project… only to have that one eventually fizzle out and the building to continue to sit empty. 532640_482152555160135_1462361460_n

For the past year or so, with the exception to a recent failure to pay utilities notice clearly posted up on the door (intriguingly addressed to Columbia CIty Brewery…which doesn’t really seem to exist),  there’s been zero action on the property.

A few weeks ago however, a new site plan went up–the business owner…Marination. marinationedit

Before you get too excited about those beloved Korean-Hawaiin tacos once again being available in Columbia City (the Marination foodtruck once had a residency in the lot where the new PCC is going in) the initial site plan seems to suggest that the plan is solely to convert the space into a new commissary kitchen. We also know that a posted site plan is by no means a guarantee that anything is going to happen with the space…plenty of them never come to fruition.

Who knows though…perhaps there’s a chance Marination will realize the building would be a great option for a Southend Marination Station or Mai Kai Columbia City.