Category Archives: Local Business

New car wash on Beacon Avenue a zoning violation?

Sign in front of the new car wash. Photo by Jason.
Sign in front of the new car wash. Photo by Jason.
The building with the large garage door at 2507 Beacon Avenue South has long been a concern for neighborhood residents. Previously, it was being used as a warehouse, and caused problems for local pedestrians, and for cars and buses right in front of the business, with delivery trucks and forklifts blocking traffic and pedestrian walkways. More recently, the building was vacant and bore a large “For Commercial Space Lease… For: Light mfg., Retails, Office” sign. Month after month went by, graffiti appeared on the door, and there was no sign of anyone moving in.

Until now. A new business recently set up shop in the site, and the activity has picked up. That’s the good news. The bad news? The new business, a hand car wash, is a pretty blatant zoning violation. The site in question, right on the junction of Beacon and 15th, is zoned NC2P-40. (Here is the basic zoning information for the site.) NC2P-40 means Neighborhood Commercial 2, Pedestrian-Designated Zone, 40-foot height limit. (Here is a city document that describes the various commercial zones.) Continue reading New car wash on Beacon Avenue a zoning violation?

Lunch Counter, Swinery follow Culinary Communion to oblivion

Culinary Communion House, in happier days. Photo by Wendi.
Culinary Communion House, in happier days. Photo by Wendi.
The Culinary Communion/Swinery/Lunch Counter saga continues. Last month, Culinary Communion, the cooking school located at 2524 Beacon Avenue South, announced via a farewell letter from owners Gabriel Claycamp and Heidi Kenyon that they would be closing because of a combination of the bad economy, and permitting issues with the city involving required exits in the basement. However, at that point the Swinery and the Lunch Counter (both located in the same building, and also owned by Claycamp and Kenyon) were expected to stay open. (The Swinery, however, has had its own run-ins with regulators, including a recent situation involving Swinery meat being supplied to a Fremont restaurant without proper permits in place for doing so.)

The “dramatic tale of oh!”, as Nancy Leson put it in her All You Can Eat blog at the Seattle Times, was not yet over. This week Claycamp sent out an email stating that King County has now given him permission to sell the Swinery’s bacon legally. But on the other hand, they have now lost their lease and “will be for sure out of the building by the end of the month.” Lunch Counter? Closed. (That was fast.) Swinery? Sort of closed, but they say they have “24 days to make and sell some bacon,” along with t-shirts that read “BACON PIMP.”

And this is where the situation gets even more convoluted. While the Swinery now has a permit to sell bacon (and only bacon, no other cured meats) legally, the annual permit to run a restaurant/food establishment from the Culinary Communion House on Beacon Avenue expired on March 31. The bacon-selling permit assumes that the bacon will be sold from a legally-permitted establishment, which CC House is not. Unfortunately, the fees to renew CC House’s restaurant permit are not pro-ratable, so Gabriel and Heidi would have to pay either a year’s fee or a six-month seasonal fee to be able to sell bacon they plan to sell for the rest of April.

Claycamp has also withdrawn his application to sell at farmers’ markets, so the Ballard Farmers’ Market sales mentioned on the Swinery web site won’t be happening, nor will any other market sales.

There are more messy details, both in Leson’s story and from Rebekah Denn in Eat All About It.

The one result we can be sure of at the moment is that the Culinary Communion House on Beacon is going to be very vacant, very soon. Perhaps a nice pizza restaurant could open there instead?

Beacon Bits: Recession affects light rail area development and local cut glass company

On a positive note, the cherry trees are blooming! (A little late this year, aren’t they?)

Photo by Joel Lee, in the Beacon Hill Blog photo pool on Flickr.
Photo by Joel Lee, in the Beacon Hill Blog photo pool on Flickr.

Culinary Communion shutting down

CC was a welcome improvement to this. Photo by Wendi.
CC was a welcome improvement to this. Photo by Wendi.
Apparently due to a combination of business slowdown, construction, and permitting issues, Culinary Communion is closing. Future classes are canceled, and refunds will be issued… eventually. (And some flexibility is being asked for.) The Lunch Counter will not close, and will reopen March 23rd. The Swinery, pending further permit approval, will also continue, and may take over the lease of the building. Equipment will be sold-off (cash only) Saturday, March 21, from 2-6 pm.

The long farewell letter from Gabriel and Heidi with all the details is on the front page of the Culinary Communion website.

Thanks to Chris Bailey for the tip.

Weekday lunch counter opening at Culinary Communion

Culinary Communion front steps. Photo by Wendi.
Culinary Communion front steps. Photo by Wendi.
Adrienne at Culinary Communion writes:

Culinary Communion is going to begin operating a weekday lunch counter. While the official grand opening isn’t until April 1, we will have a “soft opening” during the month of March and will be open for business on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays (with a few exceptions – please check our website at from 11am-2pm. We will offer a variety of sandwiches – using the Swinery meat (when available) and homemade bread –- plus, a salad, soup, and hot entrée of the day. Menu items will be priced between $6 and $9. Lunch is available to eat-in or take out. No reservations necessary. Questions can be directed to or 206.284.8687. Look for more information about the grand opening soon!

Culinary Communion is located at 2524 Beacon Avenue South in North Beacon Hill.

The Swinery’s supposed shortcuts

Rebekah Denn at Devouring sEATtle follows up on her previous article about the surprise and sudden shutdown of fledgling cured meat emporium The Swinery. Getting the story from the Seattle and King County Public Health department, it sounds like a series of straight-ahead permitting problems, for both the sale and previous production of the meats. A hearing is set for today.

Additionally, the article has attracted plenty of anonymous grousing about proprietor Gabriel Claycamp and Culinary Communion. Take appropriate anonymous-internet-commenter precautions when reading.

Check out the article hosted by the P-I.

Swinery shut down?

The Devouring sEATtle blog hosted by the P-I reports that the The Swinery, the cured meat operation recently started at Culinary Communion, has been shut down. Indeed, the Swinery website has been wiped. (See it as it was in the Google cache.)

The word is that it was shut down by the health department in some sort of retaliation for an underground restaurant project called “Gypsy“.

Let’s hope this is just a speed bump and not a dead end for delectable locally cured meats.

Further details in the original “Swinery shutdown” post at Devouring sEATtle.

Thanks for the tip, Anita!

Grown Folks to show inauguration

Photo by Dan Lurie.
Photo by Dan Lurie.
Looking for a local site to watch the inauguration? Grown Folks Coffeehouse at 4878 Beacon Avenue South will be broadcasting it from 7:00 am until 5:00 pm. They have a fireplace, TVs, coffee and tasty food, so it should be a comfortable and cheerful place to watch history unfold.

Gary at Grown Folks would also like to pass this message along:

“We at Grown Folks would just like to thank everyone for supporting us, especially during this very tough economy. Your support is deeply appreciated. We simply can’t thank you enough for being such a great neighborhood to do business in.”

Still need to do that Christmas shopping and the buses aren’t running?

We hope the buses are able to get us where we need to go today, but yesterday that was frequently a problem. (Metro’s Ice and Snow Transit Service Status page will tell you if your bus is still cancelled or rerouted.) If you can’t get off the Hill to do your Christmas shopping, don’t forget our recent post about holiday shopping right here on Beacon Hill. It might give you some ideas for ways to get your holiday shopping done here in our neighborhood — no gasoline, tire chains, or fender-benders necessary. (The comments on that post include some other suggested places to shop on the Hill, so check those out too.)