4 to Explore: A Northeast Neighborhoods Newsletter

1 Store to Adore

1 Store to Adore

Blue Star Cafe and Pub in Wallingford

Alienated by the uppity chic restaurants serving high-falutin foods with ingredients you can’t pronounce? Yearning to go “Old School” at a friendly neighborhood joint with no pretension? Hungry for grub you can afford to adore without a high-tech salary?

This season’s “Store to Adore” is BLUE STAR CAFE & PUB in the Wallingford neighborhood.

As the local owners say more eloquently on their website, “Blue Star is Seattle’s perfect Wallingford restaurant spot to meet, eat, and be social. Enjoy our easy casual dining experience and find what you love to eat amongst our large menu selections ‘featuring fresh local ingredients and scratch recipes’…Our pub favorites just happen to compliment any dish ~ all-time famous Bloody Marys, fresh squeezed OJ mimosas, 22 rotating local beers on tap, Washington wines, and the bartender’s seasonal concoctions. We have a passion for feeding Seattle everyday ~ since 1975.”

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

Blue Star is best known for its breakfast and drinks, rather than their lunch/dinner foods. Our daughter was pleased to see Mac & Cheese on the kid’s menu.

  • LOCATION: 4512 Stone Way N, Seattle, WA 98103
    Next to another Store to Adore, the zany Archie McPhee.
  • HOURS: Mon thru Fri 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sat/Sun 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Happy Hour: every day from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Breakfast until 2:30 p.m. every day!
  • For their menus: CLICK HERE.

Happy Hour every day from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Breakfast until 2:30 p.m. every day!

For a recent write-up by neighborhood blog Wallyhood, CLICK HERE.

Wallingford, led by the Wallingford Community Council, has reluctantly (but admirably) become Ground Zero in North Seattle for challenging the City Hall “Establishment” of for-profit developers and ideological interest groups that wrap themselves in fake progressive and inclusive talking points, but abuse local government power and money to steamroll existing residents for their own narrow objectives. Is it because Wallingford voted overwhelmingly for McGinn and Maddux rather than Ed Murray and Rob Johnson? So order that Manny’s or Mimosa at Blue Star and stick it to The Man!

NEIGHBORHOOD:  To explore more of Wallingford, subscribe to their blog Wallyhood and attend meetings of the Wallingford Community Council and Wallingford Chamber of Commerce.

MORE: In previous issues of “4 to Explore,” we highlighted other gems of Wallingford including the Wallingford Wurst Festival (Septembers), Wide World Travel Store (now closed), Chutney’s Bistro (Indian cuisine), Archie McPhee toy store, and Ro Ro’s barbecue.  If the vanilla ice cream at Blue Star is not enough, walk a few blocks East on NE 45th Street for ice cream at Molly Moon’s or gelato at Fainting Goat. Also, be sure to visit the Wallingford Farmer’s Market this summer.

1 Store to Adore

Gargoyles Statuary

Did you know that “Seattle’s source of gargoyles and gothic statuary” is here in Northeast Seattle? When we visited this magically cozy store on the Ave, the owner Gayle Nowicki was beaming positive energy, helping customers find what they needed — from gargoyle statues to otherworldly lamps, incense, paintings, and postcards. She made sure I knew they host funky art shows periodically in the back of their store, such as the “Spooked Hearts” art show (featured earlier on our Facebook page).

This season’s “Store to Adore” is GARGOYLES STATUARY on The Ave in the U District neighborhood.

As they say more eloquently on their website, “Gargoyles Statuary offers images and accoutrements rooted in antiquity and imagination — unseen things brought to light, to beautify, serve and protect — sacred, profane, whimsical or wicked, always with an eye to excellence.”

What are Gargoyles and why should we care? Gargoyles are protectors in both practical and mystical ways. Medieval architects often designed them as fantastical rain gutters to divert rain water away from buildings, thereby delaying deterioration. The good condition of Notre Dame in Paris, for example, is thanks in part to the many hollowed-out gargoyles jutting from the walls of the cherished building’s exterior. They may look scary, but many believe they serve as loyal guardians of your home, place of worship, or other important building. Therefore, their scary expressions are meant to scare away evil forces!

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

  • LOCATION: 4550 University Way NE (“The Ave), Seattle, WA 98105
    Across the street from the Starbucks on The Ave, near NE 47th Street. Look for the single story building with an historic facade.
  • HOURS: Open 7 days a week from 12:00 noon to 7:00 p.m.
  • BROWSE ONLINE: CLICK HERE.

For a Q&A with the owner on Crave, CLICK HERE.

Gargoyles is featured on the “Only In Seattle” website, which is ironic because that initiative to “support” local, small businesses is run by our City’s Office of Economic Development — the same city government whose reckless upzones incentivize landlords to raise rents through the roof or sell out to for-profit developers, who then tear down buildings to make room for luxury studios and chain stores. Since they cannot rely on their own city officials to advocate for them (or even to represent them), perhaps the Stores to Adore and the naturally occurring affordable housing at risk in the U District will soon resort to installing gargoyles to ward off those destructive forces.

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), and the City / University Community Advisory Committee (CUCAC). Fill up at the diverse eateries from Chaco Canyon Organic Cafe to the Portage Bay Cafe. Adore stores like The Trading Musician to Artist & Craftsman Supply as well as the Henry Museum and Burke Museum.

1 Store to Adore

Fireworks Gallery in U Village

“I enjoy getting giggles from customers,” says the “Chief Firecracker” of this season’s Store to Adore. “Practical objects with a playful edge” is how the longtime owner Michele Manasse describes her fun, eclectic store near the frog fountain in U Village. Where else can you get a “Hillary Clinton Action Figure,” “X-Ray Knee Socks,” and an iPhone case adorned with great white sharks?

This season’s “Store to Adore” is FIREWORKS GALLERY in U Village.

It’s as if Archie McPhees in Wallingford collided with Pottery Barn.

Fireworks won “Best Gift Store in Seattle” for four years in a row, thanks to people voting for KING 5’s “Best of Western Washington.” According to its website:  “From its modest beginnings featuring the work of a dozen talented local artists, Fireworks has since grown to feature products from over 300 nationally and internationally acclaimed artisans and studios, gaining notice as a leading gift retailer as well as a leading, woman-owned business in the Puget Sound area.”

The medium is not as important as its ability to be functional and entertaining, says Michele, whose store of fun, unusual, and surprisingly practical merchandise embodies its motto Celebrating Art in Life.

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

For a Q&A with the owner on Crave, CLICK HERE.

If you’ve got little ones with you, Fireworks is located near the central U Village playground.

4 to Explore” has featured many other Stores to Adore in U Village including:

During the dark, rainy months, U Village is a pleasant diversion with its 120 stores (though we still miss Barnes & Noble!)

1 Store to Adore

Persepolis Grill

Adventurous enough to sip a yogurt drink popular in ancient Persia more than a 1,000 years ago? Hungry for hearty kabob dishes cooked to tender perfection? Eager to enjoy authentic Iranian food right here in Northeast Seattle? Travel no farther than PERSEPOLIS GRILL in the University District, just a block south of Cowen Park.

Persepolis” was a capital city of the Achaemenid Empire, also called the First Persian Empire (now Iran). Founded by “Cyrus the Great,” it thrived for 220 years — close to the age of our young United States! (Yes, of course, I had to look this up on Wikipedia; do I look like an ancient history scholar?) For captivating photos of the amazing architecture of Persepolis, CLICK HERE.

Okay — back to this Store to Adore. How yummy is it? One of our son’s best friends cajoles his family to travel all the way from Mount Baker to enjoy lunch and dinner at Persepolis, his favorite restaurant. If an 11-year old loves it, we had to try it — and we loved it, too.

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

  • LOCATION: 5517 University Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105, just one block south of Cowen Park.
  • HOURS: Tues through Sunday 12:00 noon to 10:00 p.m. (closed Mondays)
  • RESERVATIONS? Yes, by phone.
  • MENU: Click Here.

Persepolis serves Halal meat (permissible according to Islamic law). To learn more about Halal meat, CLICK HERE. The Baklava may be too strong for some, so we’ll sample the saffron ice cream next time for dessert!

Bring the kids and combine it with a trip to nearby Cowen Park, Cowen Park Grocery, or the Saturday Farmers Market in the U District.

For more info on this Store to Adore, check out their rockin’ video by CLICKIN’ HERE.

For other Northeast Seattle restaurants serving kabobs, explore:

Sadly, the “upzones” of Northeast Seattle being pushed by City Hall and for-profit developers may jeopardize many Stores to Adore as landowners increase rents or sell-out to speculators. The rallying cry should be Impact Fees before Upzones!” so that for-profit developers and investors pay their fair share of growth and help to build schools, sidewalks, and fire stations. Despite speeches from City Hall about “equity,” their pro-developer policies incentivize demolition and displacement which reduce economic and cultural diversity.  Will Stores to Adore like Persepolis survive the rent increases and leave in their wake vacant space or lifeless chain stores? In her seminal work “The Death and Life of Great American Cities,” Jane Jacobs demonstrates that it is Diversity rather than mere Density that fosters community vitality.

For news about neighbors speaking out against the profit-fueled upzone, CLICK HERE (VIDEO) and HERE (article).

1 Store to Adore

Best Pizza in Northeast Seattle

High-carb breads, dairy, and fruit have been demonized by popular new dietary books like The Paleo Diet and Why We Get Fat. But what if we toss all of those foods together into a cool-sounding word? PIZZA ! (Yes, a tomato is technically a fruit.)

So if you are going to treat your body temple to some caloric carbs in Northeast Seattle, make sure it’s worth the sacrifice.

Fortunately, Northeast Seattle boasts some of the best pizza palaces in the city. To celebrate the summer season, pick 1 pizza palace for your own Store to Adore. Here are our favorites:

(As always, you can click on the name of each Store to Adore to get more info.)

Here are some other NE Seattle pizza joints earning at least 4 out of 5 stars on YELP:

Many neighbors also enjoy Zeek’s (Ravenna and Greenlake) and Tutta Bella (Wallingford).  We really miss the thin crust pizza at Fondi (across from U Village on 25th Ave); it closed years ago. Anyone else remember Fondi fondly?

Despite the crusade against carbs, NE Seattle’s appetite for pizza is insatiable, so we would certainly welcome “expanding the pie” and seeing even more of these Stores to Adore.

While some well-meaning “Urbanists” are cheerleading the dramatic “upzones” of Northeast Seattle being pushed by City Hall, a coalition of for-profit developers, and the board of UW, the downside is the loss of many Stores to Adore followed by vacant storefronts followed by lifeless chain stores.  In her seminal work “The Death and Life of Great American Cities,” Jane Jacobs demonstrates that it is Diversity (of buildings and uses and times of the day used) rather than mere Density that fosters economic sustainability and generates “eyes on the street” for public safety. The downside of demolishing older buildings — like those torn down last month in the U District at 50th Street and The Ave? It’s difficult for beloved pizza joints and other locally owned businesses to afford the high rents required by newly constructed buildings. As Jacobs wrote, “Chain stores, chain restaurants and banks go into new construction…Perhaps more significant, hundreds of ordinary enterprises, necessary to the safety and public life of streets and neighborhoods, and appreciated for their convenience and personal quality, can make out successfully in old buildings, but are inexorably slain by the high overhead of new construction.”

Seattle’s Child magazine recently published “11 Best Kid-Friendly Pizza Places In and Around Seattle.” For their article CLICK HERE.

1 Store to Adore

Cloud City Coffee & Cafe (in Maple Leaf)

Searching for a local cafe where the service is friendly and the bakery yummy, but it’s not Starbucks? Point your GPS over to the Maple Leaf neighborhood here in Northeast Seattle and snuggle into this month’s Store to Adore: CLOUD CITY COFFEE & CAFE.

As they explain on their website, “Our mission is to provide a community gathering place for all kinds of people to enjoy food and drink together. At our café, you will find locally-roasted specialty coffee, delicious breakfast and lunch foods made in-house, friendly staff…along with all of your neighbors! We offer free Wi-Fi, comfy couches, a lending library, newspapers, games and a kid’s play area.

Bring the kids and combine the trip to Cloud City with a game of tag at Maple Leaf Reservoir Park or pick up some stuff at the famous Maple Leaf Ace Hardware Store.

Does Cloud City serve what you yearn for in a neighborhood coffee house?

  • Delicious coffee? Yes.
  • Freshly made egg sandwiches? Yes.
  • Baked on site yummy muffins? Yes.
  • Friendly service and atmosphere? Yes.
  • Newspapers strewn about for anyone to read? Yes.
  • Kid friendly section? Yes.
  • Car Parking? Yes.

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

  • LOCATION: 8801 Roosevelt Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115
  • HOURS: 6:00 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day
  • MENU: Click Here.

Cloud City Coffee & Cafe in Maple Leaf is associated with another Store to Adore via their famous coconut bread, but that other store is not in Northeast Seattle, so we can’t…well, we’re not allowed — oh, what the heck — it’s El Diablo Coffee Co. in Queen Anne. We discovered it while hauling our kids around to their soccer games. But don’t tell them we sent you.

MORE: “4 to Explore,” has highlighted other gems of Maple Leaf including the Northwest Puppet Center.

NEIGHBORHOOD:  To explore more of the Maple Leaf neighborhood of Northeast Seattle, attend/join the Maple Leaf Community Council or read their quarterly newsletter. For a link to their website, CLICK HERE, though their Facebook page is usually more up to date. As with the Wedgwood neighborhood, Maple Leaf is split between Seattle City Council District 4 and District 5, with most of the neighborhood in #5, currently represented by new Councilmember Debora Juarez.

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