Seattle's very short list of James Beard finalists (again!), 5 places to start getting excited about, a mess at Melrose Market and more.

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1. JAMES BEARD FINALISTS ANNOUNCED: Seattle is sadly underrepresented in terms of James Beard nominees … just like last year. Canlis is our sole representative in the nationwide categories, for Outstanding Wine Program (and theirs is outstanding, of course). Meanwhile, Seattle’s (great) finalists for Best Chef Northwest are: Mike Easton, Il Corvo; Renee Erickson, The Whale Wins; and Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi, Joule. Best of luck to them all! Here’s more.


  • Cafe Lago’s Carla Leonardi is taking over the Canal Market space in Portage Bay, and her plans sound great. It’ll be a corner grocery plus a deli with rotisserie chicken, stone-hearth pizza, Italian sandwiches, Lago lasagna and house-made gelato, with “fast-paced” espresso and wine by the glass, too. And, Leonardi promises, “Prices will be kept as low as possible — we want everyone to feel welcome and well fed.”
  • Ba Bar II is coming to South Lake Union, and those of us who eat and drink on the regular in the neighborhood are overjoyed. More on this in my colleague Tan Vinh’s new column, Barfly (plus some Murray Stenson news).
  • Un Bien will open in the old Ballard Paseo location, meaning the sons of the original Paseo owner will be making their version of the famous sandwich in the second original location. Here’s more.
  • Branded is en route to the Hommage/Book Bindery space near the Fremont Bridge, with Brandt Bishop coming from Canon as chef… more here.
  • Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi of Joule/Revel/Trove are opening a Portland restaurant, which is much more exciting for Portland than us, but… here’s more info.

3. MELROSE MARKET MESS: The lovely Calf & Kid cheese counter is moving out of Capitol Hill’s upscale Melrose Market, while businesses like the renowned Sitka & Spruce and excellent Rain Shadow Meats are struggling. The culprit? Development, with attendant street closures, lack of parking and so forth. Supporters should let the city know that small businesses count, too — and go get some high-quality foodstuffs ASAP. (The Calf & Kid will live on, inside its sibling Culture Club on 12th Avenue.) Here’s more.

4. TOM COLICCHIO STOPS GMOs: OK, not exactly, but the petition that he got 4,000 chefs to sign may have had something to do with an anti-GMO labeling bill stalling in the Senate.

5. ALL THOSE RECYCLABLE COFFEE CUPS: The vast majority of recyclable paper coffee cups are not getting recycled (which taps into my personal paranoia about recycling precisely… all that plastic, especially?!). In Seattle, you have to rinse them out, then they can go in the recycling bin. One solution: compostable coffee cups. They exist. Maybe some big local coffee company could get that off the ground?


  • Dino’s Tomato Pie: the old-school, Sicilian pizza sibling to revered, refined Delancey (it’s really good)
  • Little Uncle on Capitol Hill: the sit-down edition of the beloved Madison to-go window
  • East Anchor Seafood in Madrona: Vendemmia’s next-door oyster bar/market
  • Melt on Capitol Hill: from Nate’s Wings and Waffles owner Darren McGill, replacing Atta Boy inside Bar Sue
  • Café Avole in Brighton: owner Solomon Dubie transforms a mini-mart into an “elegant, inviting, community cafe offering the culture of coffee from Ethiopia”

NOW CLOSED: Old School Frozen Custard on Capitol Hill (after nine years!? That went by fast).

FOOD EVENTS: Amuse your bouche.