Category Archives: Local Business

The Swinery brings home the bacon — again!

Meats galore. Photo by Timothy Vollmer.
Meats galore. Photo by Timothy Vollmer.
After selling a half-ton of bacon in less than one day, The Swinery at Culinary Communion announces another half-ton currently curing will be available later this month, just in time for the holidays! You can pre-order on their new Swinery website, and they’ll even deliver orders of 50 pounds or more.

If bacon’s not your thing (what??) they’re also offering other meats, from duck to veal to pancetta. And they’re looking for contacts that can help them get their delectable wares into farmers markets around town. Let ’em know if you can help out.

Holiday shopping on the Hill? It can be done

What if you had to do all of your holiday gift shopping without leaving Beacon Hill? Is it possible? The Hill is not known for having a ton of retail, but that doesn’t mean we have to head for the ID, Georgetown, Columbia City, Downtown, or (God forbid) Southcenter to find gifts. Our neighborhood has plenty of great gift ideas to choose from, easily accessible by foot for many of us, making shopping on the Hill a healthy and green option as well as one that supports our neighbors who do business here.

I spent “Cyber Monday” not online, but on foot, browsing North Beacon Hill for shopping opportunities. I was not disappointed. Here’s what I found.

Soaps and other gifts at 3 Brothers gift shop. Photo by Wendi.
Soaps and other gifts at 3 Brothers gift shop. Photo by Wendi.
3 Brothers Cleaners, a dry cleaner at 3210 Beacon Avenue South, is not just a dry cleaner. They also have a small but well-stocked gift shop in the front of the building. The shop has the usual gift shop merchandise: knick knacks, glassware, clocks, candles, soaps, decorations, and the like. The prices seemed very reasonable. I bought a very pretty faux-silk embroidered drawstring pouch for $3.

Victrola Coffee, in the old Galaxie shop at 3215 Beacon Avenue South, has Victrola logo ceramic mugs for $7.95, and travel mugs for $14.95. Combine either of these with some fresh coffee beans, and you have an excellent gift for any coffee lover.

Buggy at 3315 Beacon Avenue South is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays so we weren’t able to go in, but from previous visits we know that the shop is more than just a “baby stuff” shop. Yes, there are baby and kid things galore, including clothing and toys, but there are also knitting supplies, handmade bags, journals, and other gifts that even non-parents would enjoy. We particularly like some of the items from da-a tis.

Fragrance oils for sale at Spoons. Photo by Wendi.
Fragrance oils for sale at Spoons. Photo by Wendi.
Spoons Urban Apparel at 2516 Beacon Avenue South advertises “urban apparel and more,” including an assortment of fragrance oils for men and women at $5 per vial, and a collection of $10 t-shirts. They also have a very cool “Beacon Hill” painted sign inside the store, which is located in what was a long vacant storefront at the junction of Beacon and 15th.

Yoga on Beacon at 3013 Beacon Avenue South was also closed during our shopping trip, but we see that they have a nice selection of workout clothing. A class card or unlimited membership would also be a great gift for a yoga student.

Hello Bicycle at 3067 Beacon Ave South has an assortment of bicycling accessories, and bicycles as well. Their hours are limited; check the website or call before stopping by.

Edible gifts are a great option for the foodie in your life. Despi Delite Bakery at 2701 15th Avenue South has a great assortment of Filipino pastries and many other baked goods. They sell gift certificates for any amount, they say — just ask.

Gift certificates good for a bunch of baked treats may be found at the Despi Delite Bakery. Photo by Wendi.
Gift certificates good for a bunch of baked treats like these may be found at the Despi Delite Bakery. Photo by Wendi.
Local grocery stores such as the Hilltop Red Apple at 2701 Beacon Avenue South have premium candy, fruit and wine, and flowers to decorate the dinner table.

The folks at Culinary Communion at 2524 Beacon Avenue South sell gift certificates for their cooking and wine classes.

The shops mentioned here are less than half a mile apart in the North Beacon Hill business district. Who needs a car? But this is only North Beacon. Do you have favorite shopping destinations in Mid-Beacon or South Beacon? Please post a comment. We’d like to feature them, too.

Here’s a map of all the businesses mentioned here, marked with shopping baskets:

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Not so Nice

This other day we mentioned an altercation at a restaurant “just south of Beacon and Columbian.” This restaurant is the Saigon Nice, formerly the Tan Tuu Quan, at 4864 Beacon Avenue South, and things haven’t been so nice there lately: there was another fight last night, and two people were stabbed. One of the victims went out to his car and returned with a gun, but was stopped by security from re-entering the club. The suspects and victims then both fled. The victims later received treatment for non-life-threatening injuries, but the Seattle Police Department says “there is very little suspect information.”

The owners of Saigon Nice signed a Good Neighbor Agreement on June 4 with the North Beacon Hill Council under the guidance of the City Attorney’s office. Good Neighbor Agreements, or GNAs, are voluntary agreements between retail businesses and local neighborhood organization, in which the retailers agree to modify their businesses in ways that will restrict behavior harmful to the community. For example, a convenience store with a GNA might agree not to sell certain types of alcohol that are favored by street drunks, or might agree to remove a phone booth used by drug dealers.

In the case of Saigon Nice, we’re not sure yet what the exact terms of the GNA are, but this Mid Beacon Hill post from April suggests what the eventual GNA may have included: “…they will welcome police into their establishment, not hinder investigations, call police when they see suspicious or illegal activity, paint over graffiti immediately, keep the area clean, follow all the laws including not serve liquor after 2am and not serve minors, etc.”

Given the incidents of the past couple of days, the question is whether Saigon Nice has been living up to its GNA.

On the Beacon Hill mailing list, Shelly Bates writes:

“The GNA helps the community to have a little more influence over an establishment’s liquor license. City Attorney John McGoodwin, who works out of the S. Precinct, assisted with the GNA and will be following up with Liquor and meeting with the owner of Saigon Nice ASAP. If anyone knows of more information regarding the two incidents this past week or of any unreported incidents, please contact Mr. McGoodwin with that information at”

Learning pizza production at Culinary Communion

Not a Culinary Communion pizza, but looks darn tasty, doesnt it? Photo by Gio JL.
Not a Culinary Communion pizza, but looks darn tasty, doesn't it? Photo by Gio JL.
Rhonda from the Mortgage Porter blog recently took a pizza-making class at Culinary Communion on Beacon Avenue, and posted a Flickr set of photos of the class. If you’ve wondered what their classes are like, this gives you a good look at a class in their kitchen, and at some very tasty-looking pizza! My favorite photo, though, was the one of the chalkboard with ideas for different topping combinations: pear, prosciutto, bleu cheese; egg, bacon, spinach, feta; pumpkin, cranberry, sage, and bleu cheese… hey, that sounds like Thanksgiving Pizza!

Buggy Knit Night tonight

Knitting photo by Wendi.
Knitting photo by Wendi.
Buggy is hosting their monthly Knit Night early due to Thanksgiving. It’s tonight, Friday, November 21st from 6:30 – 9:00 pm, $5 for project help. All knitters are welcome; though Buggy is a baby and kid store, you don’t have to be knitting kidwear.

Buggy’s also hosting a Holiday Open House on Sunday, December 7th from 11:00 am – 5:00 pm. They promise “gifts for super heroes, dancers, animal lovers, cooks, babies, and more,” along with gift wrapping, refreshments, and a special gift with purchase.

Buggy is located at 3315 Beacon Avenue South.

The newest grocery store on Beacon — or is it?

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There is a big building at the junction of Beacon and 15th, a large building that seems as if it ought to be a major retail destination in our North Beacon Hill business district and urban village. But it’s not. It’s a warehouse. There is nothing visible inside but piles of boxes, and a small paper sign.

This is interesting, because the site is zoned Neighborhood Commercial 2 P 40. Neighborhood Commercial 2, or NC2, is “a moderately-sized pedestrian-oriented shopping area that provides a full range of retail sales and services to the surrounding neighborhood.” Typically an NC2 land use might be a coffee shop or drugstore. 40 means that the zoning allows 40-foot tall buildings to be built there. P means that it is a “P-zone” — a pedestrian-designated zone, which is designed to encourage pedestrian activity in a neighborhood business district by requiring ground floor uses that attract pedestrian activity and interest. This means things like retail stores, restaurants, hair salons, etc., but not research labs, administrative offices — or warehouses.

Regardless of the building’s P-Zone status, warehouses and wholesale showrooms are not allowed in NC2-zoned sites. This building has been used as a warehouse for some time now. The business based there, Hui Intertrading, is a rice wholesaler and importer, who supplies many local restaurants with their rice.

Hui Intertrading’s use of the building as a warehouse has been a thorn in some folks’ sides for quite a while, as was the earlier similar use of a building directly across the intersection. And people have filed complaints over these violations of the land use code, in August 2004 and May 2008. For a while, a land use notice board appeared on the building, listing a proposed change to retail use, but the board eventually came down with no noticeable change in the use of the building.

After the earlier complaint, the building failed 11 city inspections before finally passing one in February 2008. After the most recent complaint, it took 4 inspections before it finally passed, and the case was closed — in other words, it’s no longer considered to be violating land-use codes. But, have you been by there lately? It’s still a warehouse. Nothing has changed.

Oh, wait — except for that small paper sign I mentioned earlier:

Paper sign taped in the doorway of Hui Intertrading. Photo by Jason.
Paper sign taped in the doorway of Hui Intertrading. Photo by Jason.

It’s just a pile of boxes behind the sign, with no sign of any retail activity or retail fixtures.

Could it be that putting up a sign like this is all you need to be a retail business and get the Department of Planning and Development off your back? Business owners, take note!

On the other hand, despite appearances, maybe it is a retail shop. Has anyone tried to shop at this “food grocery retail store”? Please tell us how it went.

Complaints to the DPD may be filed online.

(Can you imagine this building as an old-style movie theater with a nice big neon marquee? I’ve always thought it looked like it should be one.)

Rainier Grocery Outlet to close

We stopped in at the Rainier Grocery Outlet this evening and saw that entire rows of shelving were gone, the freezers were half-full, and a lot less “stuff” was in the store. I asked the checker if they were closing or just remodeling. He said they’re closing November 26th.

We haven’t been able to get more details yet, but we’re wondering if the store is a casualty of the lengthy construction of the Mount Baker light rail station that has made access to the store more difficult for the last few years. The building and property are owned by the University of Washington, with their laundry facilities next door.

Some time between March 31st, 2007 and June 19th of this year, Steve Christman took over from Steve and Debbi Mullen, operators of the Madrona Grocery Outlet. The Mullens stated in 2007 that, while the store had taken a 20 to 30 percent hit in business due to light rail construction, they hoped to tough it out until the rail station opened, running the Rainier store at “zero profit” until then and “didn’t want the store to close.” Looks like that plan didn’t pan out.

If your bargain-hunting regularly brings you to Grocery Outlet, you might want to get down there soon.

Golden Daisy closed for remodeling

Photo by Letting Go of Control
Photo by Letting Go of Control

You know, I’ve never been to the Golden Daisy Chinese restaurant, and were I to want to remedy that, it looks like I’d need to wait until the 8th: they’re closed through November 7th for remodeling.

Golden Daisy is located on Beacon Avenue near 15th Avenue South, next door to Spoon’s.

Since I’ve never been there, if anyone has a review or can recommend a particular dish that I must try, please say so in the comments.

From beneath Culinary Communion comes: The Swinery

Barbecue and meat lovers get ready!

Rebekah Denn notes in her Devouring sEATtle blog that Culinary Communion‘s Gabriel Claycamp is preparing to expand into a retail operation selling BBQ, chicken and veal stock, sandwiches, bacon, and a variety of cured meats. Permits have been submitted and preparations made for turning the basement of the building into “The Swinery.”

The article doesn’t mention if these products will be available for purchase directly from The Swinery’s home here on Beacon Hill, instead mentioning plans to take the savories across town one day a week for sale near the West Seattle Farmers Market. Let’s hope there will be something a little closer to satisfy a fine bacon or barbecue hankering.

New massage studio in North Beacon

Hello Bicycle isn’t the only new business opening around Beacon and Hanford. There’s also a new therapeutic massage studio, just behind it at 1726 S. Hanford Street. Leslie Ernst, Licensed Massage Practitioner, says this on her web site:

“Blending various massage techniques such as Swedish, Deep Tissue, Lymphatic Drainage, Myofascial Release, Sports Massage, Lomi Lomi and the use of breath, I try to create a unique massage to address the needs of each client. I enjoy working with diverse individuals, including every age and those with various health concerns. Where there is a willingness to explore and be creative, there is the ability to thrive.”

Thanks to Allison Delong for the heads-up!