4 to Explore: A Northeast Neighborhoods Newsletter

1 Store to Adore

1 Store to Adore

Fiddler’s Inn in Wedgwood

At the northern edge of the Wedgwood neighborhood, tucked away like the rustic home of a forest elf where Gandalf the Wizard might tell you to meet him, sits a gem of a pub that welcomes all with a relaxing seat, cold pint, and hot food.  If you’ve never been to the FIDDLER’S INN, head to this vintage Store to Adore and read the rest of this 4toExplore with an ale at your side.

As they say on their website, “…the original owner, Walt Haines, left a career in music to start a new one with the Fiddler’s Inn. We’ve kept the historic charm alive – the original Fiddler’s Inn neon sign, wooden floors, dim lighting, cozy warmth and a welcoming atmosphere that invites a steady stream of neighborhood regulars and first timers alike.”  For their food menu, CLICK HERE. For what’s on tap, CLICK HERE. The local proprietors of Fiddler’s Inn also own the Latona Pub on NE 65th Street near Green Lake.

The history of the Fiddler’s Inn runs deep: it originally opened just after Prohibition ended in 1933 — when FDR was in his first term as President and “Stormy Weather” was the top radio song followed by hits from Duke Ellington and Bing Crosby. For a detailed history of the Fiddler’s Inn, CLICK HERE.

  • LOCATION: 9219 35th Avenue NE (at 94th Street across from Fire station), Seattle, WA 98115
  • HOURS: 12 noon to 12 midnight, 7 days a week. (Happy “Hour” 3-6 p.m. M-F. Kitchen closes around 10 p.m.
  • Takes Reservations? No.
  • 11 beers on tap? Yes!
  • Barbecue? Yes!
  • Dog-friendly outdoor patio with hop vines growing overhead? Yes!

But don’t take our word for it, CLICK HERE to check out their reviews on YELP!

Here are some other Stores to Adore on 35th Avenue:

Local stores that we adore on 35th Avenue NE and throughout Seattle are under assault by the city officials speeding ahead with zoning, parking, and taxing policies that disregard neighborhood business. Stores like Hardwick’s Hardware in the U District are closing down after decades of service to our community.  For a dizzying array of examples, see Vanishing Seattle on Facebook.

We know all too well the stories of senior citizens and others on fixed incomes who struggle to stay in the city they love.  For a recent piece on this in the Seattle Times, read “Seattle’s Rush to Upzone Tramples Neighborhood Input” by CLICKING HERE.  But the media does little to explain what’s happening to mom & pop businesses in our communities. While the grassroots efforts to save the Showbox music venue downtown grabbed the headlines (as politicians quickly jumped on the bandwagon to claim they saved at least one building in the city), special places in our the neighborhoods continue to suffer.

In addition to the constant disruptions from the Seattle Department of Transportation (as on 35th Avenue) and skyrocketing utility bills from our city-run utility companies that fail to control their costs, the upzones are hurting many small businesses. Why? Most businesses rent their space. Most of their leases are “triple net” (“NNN”), which means the landlords make the mom & pop shops pay for three major expenses:  property insurance, maintenance, and the big variable — real estate taxes. When certain City Councilmembers dramatically upzone a neighborhood, the assessed value shoots up, thereby increasing the tax bill burdening the mom & pop business. It’s akin to a massive, unanticipated rent increase.

In addition to needing Councilmembers who actually listen to their constituents, strong neighborhood-based chambers of commerce — or associations that unify several neighborhood business districts — are needed so that small stores have a voice. In the meantime, a group called Save 35th Avenue has grown fast to give voice to the frustration many neighbors and businesses feel and to protest the strange silence from Mayor Durkan’s office.

Save 35th Ave: If your are concerned about City Hall’s $8 million project to re-pave 35th Ave, remove much of the parking, and consolidate (remove) some bus stops — when Mayor Durkan could simply install more crosswalks and greenways not only around 35th Ave and but also in other neighborhoods like View Ridge, Lake City, and South Seattle — explore “Save 35th Avenue”: CLICK HERE.

“Safe” 35th Ave: If you want the $8 million project to continue as spearheaded by Councilmember Rob Johnson, you might be interested in this other group: CLICK HERE.

SDOT: For updates from the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), CLICK HERE.

NEIGHBORHOOD:  To explore more of Wedgwood, subscribe to Wedgwood View and the Wedgwood Echo.  We have featured a lot of cool stuff in Wedgwood, including the Wedgwood Arts Festival (every July) and many of the Stores to Adore listed above. The Wedgwood Community Council has monthly meetings and sponsors an annual festival (every September) at Hunters Farm (next to the 98115 Post Office).

1 Store to Adore

Solstice Cafe

Where can you sip a delicious coffee and immerse yourself in the college scene without seeming out of place — all while savoring a cream cheese brownie?

SOLSTICE CAFE is this season’s Store to Adore. As reviewed by Seattle Coffee Scene:  “Sitting at the edge of the University of Washington, the first thing that hits you when you walk into Solstice is the high energy atmosphere they’ve got going. Regardless what day of the week it is, it-always-feels-like-a-Friday when you’re at Solstice.”

As they say on their website, Solstice offers “coffee, tea, beer, food, art, and events in the heart of the U District…Solstice’s open, inviting atmosphere on The Ave is a favorite among college students who hunker down for long study sessions on rainy evenings…” Says their co-owner Joel, “We’re an old school coffee shop. We like having a comfortable place for people to hang out.'” For their menu, CLICK HERE.

Cafe Solstice is still overseen by its original owners, Joel and Doug, who opened their first cafe 25 years ago in 1993. That’s the year Mariner‘s pitcher Randy Johnson set a record for 308 strike outs and local legend Nirvana played for their last year including a powerful performance on MTV’s “Unplugged” show. Solstice Cafe opened in the U District 12 years ago in 2006.

  • LOCATION: 4116 University Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105
  • HOURS: Sun-Thur 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. (Fri & Sat until 9:00 p.m.)
  • Fresh local coffee, hand-mixed tea, locally brewed beer, wines, and homemade Kombucha? Yes.
  • Espresso Cream Cheese Brownies? Yum!
  • Patio? Yes!

But don’t take our word for it, CLICK HERE to check out their reviews on YELP!

As many of you know, The Ave in the U District is under assault by City Hall’s misguided obsession with upzones, fueled by profit-motivated developers and landowners who donate to political campaigns. While it makes sense to increase density around the forthcoming light rail station (scheduled for 2021 on Brooklyn Ave), it does not make sense to destroy the funky charms of The Ave by knocking down existing buildings or jacking up rents on small businesses (to pay for higher property taxes caused by the upzones). City Hall should protect, not destroy. City Hall should listen, not dictate. City Hall should embrace, not displace.

Tell Your Councilmembers and the Mayor:  Remove The Ave from the upzone legislation.

Fortunately, communities are fighting back. Over 25 community groups are appealing the upzones across the city because ““The City has not adequately assessed the negative impacts of its planned upzones, nor studied reasonable alternatives to upzoning to create affordable housing, nor has the city accompanied its plan with measures to prevent displacement of longtime residents and small businesses, loss of tree canopy, loss of open space, and the loss of historic buildings that inevitably will result”. For an update from Outside Seattle Hall (Seattle Displacement Coalition), CLICK HERE.

In addition, small businesses formed “Save the Ave” which funded a study by former City Council President Peter Steinbrueck. For his presentation to City Council, CLICK HERE (and scroll to item #8). For the entire 40-page report, CLICK HERE. Based on the key findings (65% of its businesses are women or minority owned), City Hall should NOT upzone The Ave.

Disturbingly, The Ave is in the hands of City Councilmember Rob Johnson who never met an upzone he didn’t like. For more about concerns over Rob Johnson’s land use schemes, CLICK HERE.

In another perplexing move, Metro, SDOT, and Sound Transit are forbidding buses from delivering transit riders directly to the new light rail station. How? They are making Brooklyn 12 inches too short. Don’t let them. To take the survey and demand “Buses on Brooklyn” CLICK HERE and tell Dow Constantine kcexec@kingcounty.gov (who runs Metro) and City Councilmember Rob.Johnson@seattle.gov who oversees SDOT (from the City Council’s Transportation Committee). Both Constantine and Johnson sit on the Sound Transit Board. Don’t let them screw up the light rail station at Brooklyn like officials screwed up the station at Husky Stadium by cutting off express bus lines and making residents with mobility challenges (such as senior citizens) walk over the long bridge to the light rail.

NEIGHBORHOOD: Learn more about the U District. Stroll through Farmers Market Saturday mornings. Engage the many groups: University District Community Council, the U District Partnership (formerly the Chamber of Commerce), the alternative Small Businesses Directory (associated with Save the Ave and the U District Square campaigns), and the City / University Community Advisory Committee (CUCAC). Fill up at the diverse eateries such as Chaco Canyon Organic Cafe, Persepolis, and Portage Bay Cafe. Adore stores such as The Trading Musician, Gargoyles Statuary, and Artist & Craftsman Supply as well as the Henry Museum and Burke Museum. In short, you can spend an entire day exploring the U District, starting your morning with espresso at Bulldog News or Solstice Cafe and ending it with beer & pizza at Big Time Brewery. To Save the Ave, contact info@bigtimebrewery.com and write all 9 of your City Councilmembers at council@seattle.gov .

1 Store to Adore

14 Carrot Cafe in Eastlake

Hungry for an informal and delicious brunch, but you’ve already enjoyed most breakfast places between Wallingford and Wedgwood? Jaunt across the University Bridge to explore the Eastlake breakfast joint 14 Carrot Cafe.

14 CARROT CAFE, this season’s Store to Adore, bucks the trend of social media and relies instead on word-of-mouth and neighborhood newsletters like Eastlake News and this here 4 to Explore.org. When we asked why they have no website, they said, “We are super old school, so we have little online presence. We just serve anything you can possibly imagine for breakfast.” Well said, When you have anything you can possibly imagine, who need’s an online menu?!

Written on their actual menu is some of their story: “The 14 Carrot Cafe nests in the historical Hines Public Market building on the Eastside of Lake Union.”  With so much being demolished in Seattle by new real estate developments, our need to appreciate and preserve the city’s history is becoming more urgent. 14 Carrot Cafe says, “Enjoy an organic breakfast and lunch with a side of Seattle history.” 

14 Carrot Café opened 41 years ago in 1977 when the new Seattle Mariners first played in the new Kingdome, George Lucas blew our minds with the first Star Wars film (yes, I know it’s Episode IV) and the top songs included Rod Stewart’s “Tonight’s the Night” and Debbie Boone’s “You Light Up My Life.”

As the brighter spring weather encourages more exploration, head down to Eastlake for a family brunch at 14 Carrot Café:

  • LOCATION: 2305 Eastlake Ave E, Seattle, WA 98102
  • HOURS: Mon-Fri 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Sat/Sun 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • MENU WITH ANYTHING YOU CAN IMAGINE FOR BREAKFAST? Yes.
  • UNIQUE SESEME SEED (TAHINI) FRENCH TOAST? Duh.

But don’t take our word for it, CLICK HERE to check out their reviews on YELP!

Northeast Seattle breakfast places featured by 4toExplore.org over the past 5 years:

If you eat donuts for breakfast, you could also include Top Pot in Wedgwood. Or, if you count spicy “breakfast pizza” as breakfast, there’s Mioposto in Bryant.

But we want to hear from you, so please let us know your favorite breakfast place in Northeast Seattle. Contact our family at alex@4toExplore.org

NEIGHBORHOOD: The 14 Carrot Cafe is located next to the Eastlake Zoo Tavern. Other Eastlake stores featured by 4toExplore include Pazzo’s Pizza 2307 Eastlake Ave E.

Sadly, the beloved Louisa’s Cafe/Bakery/Bar, which operated for 20 years, closed. Echoing the burdens small businesses face in neighborhoods throughout Seattle — including higher taxes and disruption from street projects — the owner of Louisa’s told the Seattle Times, “The business just couldn’t support the costs to continue”. The final entry on Yelp said, “Louisa’s will be missed. And its closure was a shock to the immediate neighborhood.” The new eatery in that space is The Otter Bar & Burger.

To explore more of the Eastlake neighborhood, checkout the Eastlake Community Council website or Facebook page.

Because Eastlake is sandwiched between lovely Lake Union and I-5, the quality of life for existing residents and businesses is often put at risk by short-sighted city “planning” that allows over-development without adequate transit and parking.

1 Store to Adore

Bulldog News on The Ave

When it’s cold outside on The Ave and you need a cozy escape with news and coffee, there’s no more informative sanctuary than BULLDOG NEWS, your neighborhood “Newsstand of the World.”

Founded 35 years ago in 1983 when Ronald Reagan was in his first term as President and the Seattle Seahawks entered the football playoffs for the first time, Bulldog News quickly became an anchor retail store in the U District.

During the dark months of Jan / Feb / March, explore this season’s illuminating “Store to Adore” Bulldog News in the U District.

  • LOCATION: 4208 University Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105 (the Ave)
  • HOURS: Mon-Fri 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.  Sat/Sun 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • EVERY MAGAZINE YOU COULD EVER WANT? Yes.
  • ESPRESSO DRINKS: Yes.
  • CUTE MASCOT ON T-SHIRTS: Yes.
  • to ORDER ONLINE: CLICK HERE.

As described more eloquently on Bulldog’s website, “Our stores create an open and welcoming environment…By providing a comprehensive selection of periodicals and a gathering place for coffee and conversation, Bulldog News encourages a convening of perspectives…When the public space is illuminated by our shared values, we become visible to one another as individuals, rather than potential antagonists or allies. We also gain both the opportunity and the obligation to be our best selves. This is why we ask you to help make Bulldog News the place where your neighborhood meets the world.”

If the weather is too yucky to venture outside at all, Bulldog News is still there for you.   You can order your favorite publications online from them – even just single issues  – by CLICKING HERE.

As many of you know, The Ave in the U District is under assault by City Hall’s narrow-minded obsession with upzones, fueled by profit-motivated developers and landowners who donate to political campaigns. While it makes sense to increase density around the forthcoming light rail station (scheduled for 2021 on Brooklyn Ave), it does not make sense to destroy the funky charms of The Ave by knocking down existing buildings or jacking up rents on small businesses (to pay for higher property taxes caused by the upzones). City Hall should protect, not destroy. City Hall should listen, not dictate. City Hall should embrace, not displace.

Unfortunately, City Hall is bulldozing ahead with the worst aspects of the backroom “H.A.L.A.” deal hatched by disgraced former Mayor Ed Murray, rather than collaborating with communities. City Hall is in full propaganda mode, encouraging lobbyists to demonize existing residents who raise legitimate concerns.

Fortunately, communities are fighting back. Small businesses formed “Save the Ave” which funded a study by former City Council President Peter Steinbrueck. For his presentation to City Council, CLICK HERE (and scroll to item #8). For the entire 40-page report, CLICK HERE. Based on the key findings, City Hall should NOT upzone the buildings fronting both sides of The Ave (University Way NE): 

  • 90% of the small businesses on The Ave rent their space from the landowner.
  • 65% of small businesses on The Ave are women or minority owned.
  • 56% have been operating on The Ave for more than 10 years.
  • The top concern of the business owners: “rent is high/increasing” and “gentrification”.
  • Only 22% have a positive view of the proposed upzone.

Disturbingly, The Ave is in the hands of City Councilmember Rob Johnson who never met an upzone he didn’t like. For more about concerns over Rob Johnson’s land use schemes, CLICK HERE.

NEIGHBORHOOD: See the “Fun to Enjoy” article in this 4 to Explore newsletter for more info on the funky U District. In short, you can spend an entire day exploring the U District, starting your morning with espresso at Bulldog News and ending it with beer & pizza at Big Time Brewery. To Save the Ave, contact info@bigtimebrewery.com and write all 9 of your City Councilmembers at council@seattle.gov .

1 Store to Adore

S.P.A.C.E. Radio 101.FM for Northeast Seattle

Okay, a radio station is not a “store.” But, with all of the crass commercialism that comes with the holiday season, isn’t it refreshing to know there’s a place on the radio dial where you can enjoy commercial-free music all the time — programmed locally here in Northeast Seattle?

This holiday season, explore the newest radio station: 101.1 FM S.P.A.C.E. RADIO.

MUSIC: The songs they play are soulful, fun, and interesting. And no commercials!  For example, there is a show called “The Roots Roundup” which “brings you a mix of Americana, traditional country, rockabilly old and new. Live in studio performances too. Monday night 7:00 PM”

This is the Holiday issue of 4toExplore so, if you are craving Christmas music all of the time, tune into Warm 106.9 FM, which was playing Michael Buble, Frank Sinatra, and Harry Connick, Jr. when I grabbed their website link.

For a recent and comprehensive article on community radio in Seattle, CLICK HERE. It features not only 101.1 FM serving Northeast Seattle by broadcasting from Magnuson Park, but also 96.9 FM “Earth On-the-Air” radio (KODX) broadcasting from the University District, and 103.7 FM that can be heard in Fremont / Wallingford.

To stay in tune with SPACE 101.1 FM, it’s best to Like/Follow their Facebook page, where they post more frequently than on Twitter or their website.

As described more eloquently on their website, “Four years ago, Sand Point Arts and Cultural Exchange (SPACE) was issued a construction permit from the FCC to start a low-power FM [LPFM] radio station. SPACE 101.1 began its testing in late September 2017 and is now one of Seattle’s newest stations, built for the community and broadcasting out of Magnuson Park.”

Lower Power FM radio “stations operate on the energy of a 100-watt light bulb yet due to a great antenna placement, SPACE 101.1 has a large broadcast range… SPACE’s priority is to build community by connecting the park’s many stakeholders and visitors through creative and community based programming.”

But the antenna of the radio station is just the proverbial tip of the iceberg for S.P.A.C.E. headquartered in Building 30 at Magnuson Park. We at 4toExplore.org have featured their engaging, year-round art exhibits.

NEIGHBORHOOD: To learn more about Magnuson Park, visit the official website of City of Seattle’s Parks & Rec Dep and attend the Magnuson Park Advisory Committee on the 2nd Wednesday of each month at 6:00 p.m. in the Building 30 conference room.  There is so much important activity at this huge former naval air station, including soccer leagues, the new Waldorf High School, the Tennis Center, theatrical performances, the Friends of the Sand Point Magnuson Park Historic District, and the new large apartment project from Mercy Housing on Sand Point Way (Building 9).

1 Store to Adore

Audubon Nature Shop in Wedgwood

As cooler air breezes through Northeast Seattle, you may notice flocks of birds migrating South (wishing you could join them), while other birds gather sticks to fortify nests. Winter is Coming. (We could insert a “Three Eyed Raven” joke here, but we don’t think many of our readers watch “Game of Thrones“).

Curious about which local birds are staying and which are going? Explore all of the answers in this season’s “Store to Adore”: SEATTLE AUDUBON NATURE SHOP.

Occupying a quaint building tucked away off 35th Ave NE (just below NE 82nd Street) in the Wedgwood neighborhood, the Seattle Audubon Nature Shop is filled with books and binoculars and, most importantly, knowledgeable staff whose love of birds contagious.

As they say more eloquently on Seattle Audubon’s website, “The Seattle Audubon Nature Shop is your complete source for bird- and nature-related merchandise, providing essential funding through its profits for the activities and programs of Seattle Audubon.” And here’s the mission statement: “Seattle Audubon leads a local community in appreciating, understanding, and protecting birds and their natural habitats.”

You don’t need to be an avid bird watcher to adore this store, just fly in and browse. From here you can walk North to the other winners of our “Store to Adore” contest at the Wedgwood Community Council Picnic: Cafe Javasti, Fiddler’s InnWedgwood Broiler, and Wedgwood Ale House.

But don’t take our word for it; check out their reviews on YELP.

  • LOCATION: 8050 35th Ave NE 98115
  • HOURS: Mon thru Sat 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • To shop Seattle Audubon online: CLICK HERE.

LEARNING:  Seattle Audubon sponsors a lecture for beginning birders called “10 Gateway Birds of Seattle and How to Find Them.” Next lecture is Monday, October 23rd at 7:00 p.m. at Phinney Neighborhood Center. For details, CLICK HERE.

EVENTS:  For other events, such as “The Bird Ball” fundraiser on October 21, CLICK HERE.

ORIGIN:  It’s named after John James Audubon (1785-1851) an ornithologist and painter who first published The Birds of America in 1827. The first statewide Audubon Society was formed in Massachusetts in 1896. The National Audubon Society formed in 1905. And, to answer your next history question, Alfred Hitchcock’s film “The Birds” was released in 1963.

SERIOUSLY: Just when you thought you could escape a “Store to Adore” article without a downer: City Hall’s reckless policy to fuel unfettered real estate development is rapidly endangering our city’s “Tree Canopy,” which is — you guessed it — bad for birds. Endangering our city’s long-cherished, hard-earned tree canopy is worse for many other reasons, including The Environment that politicians say they want to protect. Learn more about the issue by CLICKING HEREHEREHERE, and pages 85-88 of HERE.  For an example of the destruction being repeated all over our city, read the Seattle Times article about City Hall refusing to help a North Seattle neighborhood save a precious 100-year old cedar tree from a developer’s ax: CLICK HERE. The root of the problem: City Hall needs to reign in real estate developers from chopping down trees in order to Build, Baby, Build.

NEIGHBORHOOD:  To explore more of Wedgwood, subscribe to Wedgwood View and the Wedgwood Echo.  We have featured a lot of cool stuff in Wedgwood, including Wedgwood Arts Festival (every July), Veraci Pizza, and the Wedgwood Ale House.  4 to Explore is in Wedgwood a lot (it’s where our P.O. Box is located) so, for the latest on the neighborhood, be sure to “like” 4 to Explore on Facebook or follow us on Twitter. You can also attend the Wedgwood Community Council monthly meetings.

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