Tan Vinh visits the 600 block of Summit Avenue East on Seattle's Capitol Hill, home to the original Top Pot Doughnuts and other attractions.

Share story

Here is where Top Pot Doughnuts was born, four blocks away from the stilettos-and-Chuck Taylor flow of Broadway.

Still quiet here. Parking still free. It’s a part of Capitol Hill that stubbornly and pridefully still belongs to the folks in the “industry” — the line cooks, servers and tattooed barmen who occupy a lot of the apartment towers and condos around this block of Summit Avenue East.

It’s the insider’s Capitol Hill, with parking so sparse that it guarantees outsiders won’t overrun this block.

“And if you blink, you miss it driving down the street,” said Michael Klebeck, co-founder of Top Pot and the cocktail bar next door, Sun Liquor.

This week, save 90% on digital access.

Nine years ago, Klebeck opened the now famed Top Pot. He saw this sleepy block with cheap rent and “vintage 1930s style architecture” and likened it to traveling in Europe, “where you go to some alley and find a place that becomes your secret location.”

Thousands of glazed old-fashioned doughnuts later, in 2006 Klebeck and a partner opened Sun Liquor, the coolest cocktail den in the city.

His joints still anchor this Summit Avenue East block between East Roy and East Mercer streets. Here’s a look at the businesses on this block.

Tan Vinh: 206-515-5656 or tvinh@seattletimes.com

Custom-curated news highlights, delivered weekday mornings.