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HELPING: Beer Church Turkey Bowl’s comeback

November 12, 2022 9:09 pm
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 |   Holidays | West Seattle news | West Seattle people | WS beverages

Kendall Jones and Kim Sharpe Jones brought back the Beer Church Turkey Bowl tonight after a pandemic hiatus – and they report an even better turnout than pre-pandemic. The lanes at West Seattle Bowl were sold out in advance.

They were selling raffle tickets for items celebrating the Beer Church’s namesake beverage:

Most important of all, the Turkey Bowl is also a food drive, collecting nonperishable food and other items needed by the West Seattle Food Bank:

The Turkey Bowl has brought in literally tons of food over the past 20+ years. Tonight was also a release party for Beer Church Pale Ale, made with local brewers from the West Side Beer Trail – if you missed the party, ask for it at those establishments sometime soon!

BIZNOTE FOLLOWUP: Animated Café reopens at new location

Animated Café proprietor Melanie (aka “Ana”) just sent word that her coffee trailer is now open at its new location, a week later than originally hoped, so we went over for photos. We reported on the move 2+ weeks ago. Animated Café is now on the same Triangle lot as the Chapulín Oaxaqueño taco truck, at 4518 Fauntleroy Way SW [map]:

She first opened her coffee stand last winter at its original location in Westwood. She offers a deal on weekends where customers who come dressed in the spirit of the weekend “theme” get $2 off; the November schedule is in our previous report.

ALMOST OPEN: Sneak peek inside Camp West in The Junction

(WSB photos by Patrick Sand)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

At Camp West, soon to open in the ex-West 5 space in the West Seattle Junction, they’re taking the camping theme seriously – yet lightheartedly.

When you walk into the space at 4539 California SW, you’ll notice foldable canvas chairs at the tables by the front window. Temporary placeholders for furniture yet to arrive? No, they’re intentional. “They’re really sturdy!” insist two of the proprietors, Toni Uy and Patrick Haight, presiding over ongoing preparations and training when we visited Thursday afternoon, 5 months after we first reported the plan for the space.

Then there’s what you’ll get for water on your table – not a glass carafe, but a metal thermos.

If you’re drinking something harder, the cocktail might have a name like One-Eyed Squirrel (aloe, vodka, lime juice, and a decorative eyeball, a favorite at Camp West’s sibling in Tacoma, Camp Bar). Plan to pair your drink with food? Unique items include the Snackle Box, a mini-tackle box stocked with meat, cheese, olives, and bread.

Next to it in our photo is one of the mini-grills deliverable to tabletops for roast-it-yourself S’mores.

But let’s broaden the perspective for a moment, as, unless you hadn’t visited the space before, you’ll be mentally comparing at first:

One thing prominently absent in that view – the railing down the middle, removed in the remodel, no longer needed because Camp West is 21+. The north wall is now lined with booths, and the wall over them sports faux greenery, except for the section nearest the front, which is decorated with a variety of items from antlers to an axe to this photo of a well-known West Seattleite camping:

Over the front tables, the south wall has a mural by Andrew Miller, who also painted the one on the alley behind Camp West. That goes up to the bar, which features unique lantern-style lighting:

The focus there (see the beverage menu online) is on signature and classic cocktails, with a “heavy whiskey selection.” (And more whimsical names, like Sweaty Lumberjack.) You also will find four beers on tap – including of course the locally renowned Manny’s – plus a selection of canned beverages, even the 16-ounce Rainier.

At the back of Camp West, you’ll find a tent – seating 8+ for a semi-private celebration spot.

The back is also where there eventually be one lone video screen, not for sports or entertainment, but to support the rustic/outdoor ambience – skiing videos, old Rainier Beer commercials, etc.

In addition to the aforementioned Snackle Box and S’mores, Camp West has a broader menu than its Tacoma sibling – “a lot fancier” is how Haight puts it, but not too fancy. You can see the food menu online too – from burgers and other sandwiches to entrees including seared steelhead and mushroom cassoulet. Camp West has brought “a lot of new equipment” to the kitchen.

So the big question – when will they open? Right now they’re training staff via “friends and family” sessions. Then they’ll open to the public somewhat gradually, with the plan to be fully open by Wednesday, November 23. Hours for starters will be 4-10 pm Wednesdays and Thursdays, 4-midnight Fridays and Saturdays, 4-9 pm Sundays, closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

REOPENING: Northwest Wine Academy’s tasting room, wine bar, store

(Photo courtesy South Seattle College)

West Seattle’s booming wine scene now has the full participation of the South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) Northwest Wine Academy once again, after more than two years. It’s reopening to the public tomorrow – here’s the announcement:

South Seattle College and the Northwest Wine Academy (NWWA) are excited to announce the NWWA Tasting Room, Wine Bar and Retail Store is reopening on Nov. 4, 2022. Hours of operation will be 1-6 p.m. on most Fridays and Saturdays.

The tasting room has been closed for the past few years, and NWWA looks forward to welcoming the community once again to share amazing local, student-produced wines.

We are also pleased to introduce the Academy’s new Winemaker and Winemaking Instructor John Darin to the program and community. Darin’s extensive background in winemaking and cellar logistics has been developed after years of working with a diverse spectrum of grape varietals and winemaking practices. His experience, as well as his time working with many industry leaders, brings critical first-hand knowledge from the winemaking industry directly to the classroom.

Hours and dates of operation

The Northwest Wine Academy Tasting Room, Wine Bar and Retail Store is open again as of Nov. 4, 2022! Hours of operations will be (most) Fridays and Saturdays, 1-6 p.m.

November: Open Nov. 4-5; 12; 18-19 (closed Nov. 25-26 for the holidays)

December: Open Dec. 2-3; 9-10; 16-17 (closed the remainder of the month and reopening in January)

Please note: At this time only credit and debit cards are accepted for purchases

The NWWA is on the north side of the SSC campus (6000 16th SW) – look for it on the east side of the north parking lot.

BIZNOTES: Four West Seattle food/drink updates

Four updates from West Seattle purveyors of beverages and/or food:

ANIMATED CAFE MOVING: Tomorrow is the coffee trailer’s last day in the Tony’s Market lot at 35th/Barton. Proprietor Melanie – aka “Ana” – has been there since launching her business last winter. After a week in transition, she hopes to reopen Animated Coffee in its new location – at 4518 Fauntleroy Way SW, same lot to which El Chapulin Oaxaqueño recently moved – by November 5th. One change: “We will be walk-up only to start but hopefully we can support drive-thru in the future.” If you haven’t been to Animated Café lately, she’s been doing themed weekends in which people dressed for the theme get $2 off their order, Her schedule for November:

5th-6th: Second Halloween (wear it one more time!)
12th-13th: Royal Weekend (everyone is royalty this weekend)
19th-20th: Apocalypse Weekend (Mad Max style)
26th-27th: Thanksgiving Weekend (Get Creative)

LA RUSTICA TEMPORARILY CLOSING: The Italian restaurant at 4100 Beach Drive will be closed for much of November. From proprietor Kat:

La Rustica will be closed the first three weeks of November, so if you want to get your fix in before we close, head down today thru Sunday. Because we are doing some work on our kitchen floors, we don’t have a set reopen date but are taking reservations starting the Friday after Thanksgiving. If we reopen before that, we will be sure to let you know. Thank you all for your support, patience and love.

BEDHEAD COFFEE: After a reader inquiry about the status of the coffee shack at 16th/Holden, we contacted founder Michelle. She tells WSB it closed at the end of September, three months after her former partner bought out her share of the business. Whether it might reopen, she didn’t know.

PORTAGE BAY CAFE, WEST SEATTLE: We’ve been reporting on this breakfast/brunch mini-chain‘s plan to expand into West Seattle, taking over the former Agave Cocina space at 4725 42nd SW. Proprietor John told us he hopes to open in January, and that’s now underscored by a sign on the door:

(Thanks to Arlene for the tip.)

BIZNOTE: Best of Hands Barrelhouse announces it will close at the end of November

(WSB file photo)

Thanks for the tips. 3 1/2 years after opening at 35th/Webster, Best of Hands Barrelhouse announced today that it will close as of November 30th. From the announcement made via social media:

As many of you know we were only open for normal operations for a year before the pandemic hit. Unfortunately, among other things, the toll of the pandemic, the slower than expected recovery, and the skyrocketing costs of everything from CO2 to raw ingredients has made it unsustainable for us to continue to operate even with our current skeleton crew. We’d like to thank everybody for their support and interest through the years.

If you have any questions or know of anybody looking for two talented brewers, please don’t hesitate to reach out to nicholas@bestofhandsbarrelhouse.com

Thank you West Seattle!

Best of Hands opened in the cow-topped former Corner Deli spot in March 2019.

BIZNOTE FOLLOWUP: Soft-open day for Till Dawn

Thanks to Eric for the tip. Till Dawn is soft-opening today at 5048 California SW, but note that it’s a very soft open – mostly for coffee (Boon Boona), no food or games yet. But at least it’s an opportunity to see inside what its founders intend to be a “super-nerd bar”:

Once Till Dawn is up to full speed, its regular hours will be 8 am-10 pm Tuesdays-Sundays. (We first reported on this plan for the former vehicle-licensing space last October.)

BIZNOTE: West Seattle Junction wine shop Bin 41 closing at month’s end

Tonight, you might want to visit Bin 41 at 4707 California SW during this month’s West Seattle Art Walk. Not only is proprietor T. Frick the featured artist, she’s just made a big announcement: After 12 years, she’s closing her wine shop. Sunday, August 28th, will be the last day. In the meantime, she’s having a sale, and also mentioned to us in a brief phone conversation that if you have a gift certificate for Bin 41, now’s the time to use it. Store fixtures will be available too. For now, the shop remains open its regular hours, 1-6 pm Thursdays (open until 8 tonight for Art Walk) and Fridays, noon-5 pm Saturdays and Sundays. Providing inventory isn’t sold out sooner, the shop will be open daily its last week (starting August 22nd), 1 pm-6 pm Monday-Friday, noon-5 pm Saturday and Sunday. Any late-breaking changes, Frick says, will be announced via social media.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE SPACE: Before Bin 41, the space held children’s-clothing store Georgia Blu for 2 1/2 years. We noted here last year that the building was purchased last August by owners associated with the Maharaja restaurant/bar, who also had purchased the building a few doors south that formerly held Taqueria Guaymas. We spoke briefly today with Sam Virk from the ownership group; he said he hasn’t started seeking a new tenant yet, but said there are no plans to redevelop the building. (We also asked Virk about the status of the ex-Guaymas space, where a new restaurant, Indochin Wok, is planned. He told us they had more work to do inside the space than expected, but it’s still on the way.)

BIZNOTE FOLLOWUP: Till Dawn close to opening

The texter who sent that photo is one of several who pointed out the new signage at 5048 California SW, the former vehicle-licensing office. As we first reported last October, it’ll be the home of Till Dawn. In February, we got a few more details from co-proprietor Andrew Spence (who’s also a co-founder of South Delridge’s 2 Fingers Social) – who described Till Dawn as a “super-nerd bar,” for “beer nerds, coffee nerds, gaming nerds.” We checked in with him today; he says they’re ready to go, just waiting on inspections. And yes, he confirmed that as the window signage suggests, Boon Boona Coffee will be their roaster.

VIDEO: Lite Sleeper rocks Easy Street x Best of Hands launch party

July 9, 2022 9:35 pm
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 |   West Seattle businesses | West Seattle news | WS beverages | WS culture/arts

Rock fans of all ages were at Easy Street Records tonight for an in-store double bill with Lite Sleeper and Panic Grass. The occasion – the launch of The Bar Is Open hazy IPA, a collaboration between Easy Street (which, you probably know, recently added a bar) and Best of Hands Barrelhouse. We caught part of the show by Lite Sleeper, whose members include a luminary in West Seattle’s music-business scene, Frank Gross of Thunder Road Guitars (WSB sponsor).

This band has a launch of its own this summer – its debut EP.

This was Lite Sleeper’s second show. As for the new IPA – it’s the house IPA at Easy Street, and available at Best of Hands (35th/Webster) in cans and “limited draft.”

FOOD/DRINK BIZNOTES: Ma’ono closed; Admiral Benbow open; West of Chicago update; Best of Hands x Easy Street

Food/drink notes:

MA’ONO: Though its website says the West Seattle fried-chicken-and-more restaurant is “temporarily closed,” tipsters told us it was permanently closed, and we’ve been trying for a week to reach its owners to confirm that. Yesterday we caught up with Mark Fuller at his new project, the Admiral Benbow revival, and he declined comment on Ma’ono’s status. However, Seattle Met is quoting him as confirming he has closed and sold the West Seattle Ma’ono. The restaurant at 4437 California SW was first opened by Fuller and wife Marjorie Chang Fuller as Spring Hill in 2008, and they morphed it into Ma’ono in 2012.

(added) ADMIRAL BENBOW: Speaking of which – it opened tonight. Main food item, hot dogs – so far!

WEST OF CHICAGO: Shawn Millard was hoping to open the new sit-down home of his deep-dish pizza at 3770 SW Alaska this week, but we went over to check and learned they’re coping with a few last-minute equipment problems, so they won’t be able to open sooner than next week. West of Chicago Pizza Company formerly served its signature pizzas out of a Delridge commissary kitchen; we first reported in October that he was taking over the former Chaco Canyon Organic Café space in The Triangle.

BEST OF HANDS X EASY STREET: Beer and music collaboration for these two – starting today, Best of Hands Barrelhouse has rolled out three new hazy IPAs in cans and on draft. One of them is the Easy Street Records “house IPA,” The Bar Is Open! To celebrate, a release party is planned at Easy Street (California/Alaska) this Saturday (July 9th) at 6 pm – with live music from local bands Panic Grass and Lite Sleeper (which, Best of Hands’ announcement points out, features Frank Gross of Thunder Road Guitars [WSB sponsor]).

BIZNOTE: Camp West on the way to ex-West 5 space in The Junction

Thanks to a tip from reader Michael, we’ve learned the answer to a question many have been asking: What’s next for the former West 5 space at 4539 California SW in The Junction?

Answer: A bar/restaurant called Camp West.

We connected today with a member of the ownership team, Patrick Haight, who tells us he and his partners have plenty of local ties. More on them all in a moment. First, what will Camp West be? His explanation:

Camp West will be 21+ and a Camping’esque theme inside. We will have a full bar with a wide range of spirits and signature cocktails with fun Camping names like “The one-eyed Squirrel,” “The rabid Raccoon,” “Snorting Elk,” and “The Airstream Cooler.” The food menu is still in development and will not be of one particular genre. The menu will offer a range of items to choose from that don’t all fit into one particular category. We are conscious of the neighborhood’s establishments and hope to offer items you won’t necessarily see in the Junction. We are lucky to be working from a full kitchen to give us that flexibility, unlike our location in Tacoma, and able to creatively offer our guests some fun items and experiences. We will be bringing our signature S’mores to this location, where you can roast your own s’mores at the table and a myriad of chocolate options to choose from to smoosh that Sammich together.

“Our location in Tacoma” is The Camp Bar, which Haight opened in 2017 along with Nuri Aydinel, another Camp West co-owner. Aydinel also is co-owner/co-founder of Kizuki Ramen and Izakaya in The Junction and 18 other locations (around Puget Sound and in Chicago). Haight has “been in and out of West Seattle for the past 50+ years” – his mom grew up here and he has a house here though he lives in the South Sound. His hospitality background includes being the GM for Tini Bigs/Hula Hula/Watertown at the bottom of Queen Anne for 17 years, being part-owner of a club in the early ’90s called the “Weathered Wall” near the Westin Hotel, and working as Food and Beverage Manager for Snoqualmie Casino until 2015 after opening it in 2008. He is the co-author of a cocktail book called “Tini Bigs, Big Martinis” and an award-winning cocktail creator.

As for the West 5 ties, another Camp West co-owner, Toni UY, was its general manager for 15 years, Haight says she “left West 5 to pursue other opportunities outside of the food and beverage industry and realized she missed the daily interaction with her customers and fellow merchants in the neighborhood. She will be the GM and part-owner of the restaurant and will carry the reputation she has had for 15 years doing business in the Junction, where she has cultivated many relationships and friendships.”

We asked Haight what kind of changes they’d be making to the space. He says, “The general layout will be similar to its former occupant, but we will have more booth seating vs stand-up tables. We absolutely love the bar that already exists and plan on keeping it with some slight design modifications to fit our camping theme, since it’s a focal part of this beautiful space. Inside will have a refined NW camping experience, from hanging hammocks, tent-style barriers, etc., to sage-colored walls that are organic and calming, some greenery to make you feel less inside and more outside.”

The big question – when do they hope to open? “We are planning on a tentative opening date in September. With supply issues on some equipment and fixtures, and the dozens of other items that need to be made, and ordered, and delivery of such items will dictate if we are close or not to opening. We also plan on holding a series of walk-in hiring days, a few weeks before we open, so we can begin to build our family of Camp Counselors.”

Seen on West Seattle Junction’s sold-out spring Wine Walk

May 20, 2022 7:09 pm
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 |   West Seattle businesses | West Seattle news | WS beverages

Viscon Cellars (WSB sponsor) is pouring in a just-for-tonight satellite location right now – Capers, one of the stops on the spring West Seattle Junction Wine Walk. This time 15 wineries and 14 businesses are participating, but if you don’t already have tickets, you’re out of luck this time – it’s been sold out for weeks.

P.S. The Junction will be hopping Saturday, too – it’s part of the One Seattle Day of Service, with more than 200 volunteers signed up to help in a mega-cleanup, according to Junction Association executive director Chris Mackay.

Five West Seattle places to eat/drink Tuesday while supporting local students

May 16, 2022 5:16 pm
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 |   How to help | West Seattle news | West Seattle restaurants | West Seattle schools | WS beverages

Advance alert if you haven’t already seen them on the calendar – three dine-out benefits are happening tomorrow (Tuesday, May 17th), involving five food/drink establishments:

AMPERSAND CAFE: 6 am-3 pm, you can enjoy the view (2536 Alki Avenue SW) and coffee, baked goods, and/or sandwiches, with part of the proceeds benefiting Alki Co-op Preschool.

BEBOP WAFFLE SHOP, CIRCA, MISSION CANTINA: These three Admiral District establishments are supporting the West Seattle High School Class of 2024 “Dine-Out Day” fundraiser tomorrow. Bebop is at 2600 California SW and open 7 am-3 pm; Circa is at 2605 California SW and open 9 am-10 pm; Mission Cantina is at 2325 California and open 4-10 pm.

MIOPOSTO: Dine in or take out on Tuesday – 2139 California SW, 4 pm-9 pm – and support Madison Middle School Music.

BIZNOTE: Otter on the Rocks ready to open in Admiral

(Photos courtesy Otter on the Rocks)

That’s a look inside Otter on the Rocks (4210 SW Admiral Way), where the remodeling is complete and the new cocktail bar’s doors are about to open. We first reported last July about the plan for the ex-Parliament Tavern space, and now it’s about to open. When we asked proprietor Tanner Jitmongkonkul about the status, he replied with the news that “We will be hosting our grand opening on this coming Friday 3/11/2022 with craft cocktails and house flatbreads.” He told us in July that the cocktails will feature “a lot of house infusions and house syrups”; the flatbreads will be “a much lighter version of pizza with a lot more room for interesting ingredients.”

He says it’s both exciting and nerve-wracking to be on the verge of opening: “We are currently training employees and making small adjustments to our menus.” Hours for starters will be 4 pm-midnight Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, 4 pm-2 am Friday and Saturday, closed on Tuesday. He’s hoping eventually to open earlier on weekends. Events are in the works, too.

Jitmongkonkul, who you might know from bartending at Itto’s Tapas and/or his dessert business Sticky Treats & Sweets, adds, “We are extremely excited to be a part of the Admiral Junction community and hope to be a positive addition to the neighborhood. We hope to see everyone out and about in these coming weeks!”

BIZNOTE: Tasting time at West Seattle Liquor and Wine

Most Fridays, West Seattle Liquor and Wine (4714 42nd SW; WSB sponsor) invites you to visit for tastings, 4-6 pm. This Friday (March 4th), they’re having a special tasting for wine lovers – Cabernet Sauvignon. Along with wine from our state, WSLW is also planning to feature Cabernets from California, Italy, Spain, and France this Friday. If you haven’t been to the shop yet, it’s on the outer west side of Jefferson Square, next to Nikko Teriyaki.

BIZNOTE: Alki Beach Pub remodeling closure

The new owners of Alki Beach Pub (2722 Alki Avenue SW), who took over last November, have announced a temporary closure. Jackie Mallahan and Dan Mallahan emailed WSB with this announcement:

On Sunday, February 27th, Alki Beach Pub will be closing for a couple months for upgrades and renovations. We appreciate the continued support and look forward to welcoming everyone back late spring/early summer to our reimagined space! Much Love, Alki!

The temporary closure means that the west end of the beach business district will be a bit lonely for a while – east to west, the former Alki Cleaners space is still vacant, the No-Name Diner just closed (but has a “new concept” on the way), and the former Top Pot Doughnuts and the space next to it are still up for lease, as is the former J&J Public House space.

BIZNOTE: Current Coffee opens in Admiral on Wednesday

(Photo by Kara Wallace)

That’s a look inside Current Coffee, which opens tomorrow in the former Caffe Fiore space at 2206B California SW. Here’s the announcement from its proprietor:

Seattle-born and West Seattle resident Tyler Meurk will open Current Coffee this Wednesday, February 23rd.

Featuring beloved WA roasters and introducing specialty coffee farmers from around the world, as well as selling natural wines and local beers, Current Coffee is a North Admiral destination for gathering with friends and neighbors. Tyler’s bond with Seattle’s coffee culture runs deep: For the last 14 years, he has worked as a barista, café manager, sales representative, and now owner/operator.

Tyler and his wife Katie (an entrepreneur who owns the local jewelry gallery Supply Chain) are committed to investing in West Seattle and delighting its residents through their businesses. In concepting Current Coffee, Tyler took inspiration from the movement of the waters that encircle West Seattle. Using “Current” is also a nod to discovering the rotation of seasonal coffees that Tyler will feature in his café. In keeping with the connection of community, Current Coffee features an immersive and captivating mural by West Seattle artist Jennifer Ament. Come by for a fresh pour!

Hours will be Wednesdays-Sundays 7 am-3 pm.

BIZNOTE: West Seattle’s newest neon

(WSB photo)

Thanks to Meagan for sending the tip that the Benbow Room‘s sign is up at 4210 SW Admiral Way. It’s been seven months since we broke the news that West Seattle restaurant/bar entrepreneur Mark Fuller (Ma’ono, Supreme, New Luck Toy) was taking over the space and reviving its historic identity. Besides the sign, the liquor-license application also suggests the Benbow is approaching opening time; we have an inquiry out to find out its status (and also who created the sign!).

WEST SEATTLE SCENE: 2 Fingers Social ‘takeover’ to get Till Dawn closer to opening

February 12, 2022 6:07 pm
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 |   West Seattle businesses | West Seattle news | WS beverages

Extra fun tonight at 2 Fingers Social in South Delridge – gaming consoles are set up as part of a ‘takeover” night to raise money to help Till Dawn south of The Junction get open. When we first reported in October on Till Dawn coming to the former licensing-agency space at 5048 California SW, we didn’t have much info, but now we do.

Here’s what the two venues have in common: Andrew Spence as co-proprietor (different business partners, though, for each one). We talked with him at 2 Fingers Social tonight. Till Dawn will be a “super-nerd bar,” for “beer nerds, coffee nerds, gaming nerds.” High-end coffee and 75 bottled/canned beers from all over the world. International will be part of the flavor, in the “cyberpunk/’Blade Runner'” fusion sense, Spence says. That will include packaged snacks from Japanese rice candy to American junk food (chips, soda). The interior of Till Dawn is built out – Spence has been working on it for months – so tonight is to get them to the finish line with expenses from stocking to permitting.

Till Dawn, by the way, Spence says, is named for that time when gamers realize they’ve been up too long playing. The café hours won’t go that late – not finalized yet but maybe 8 am-10 pm-ish at the start. All ages. Same as for tonight’s event, until 11 at 2 Fingers Social (9211 Delridge Way SW), besides “gaming, drinking, and mingling,” you can get in on raffles and “free” beer from Future Primitive in nearby White Center for donors. (P.S. 2FS has outdoor seating as well as indoor.)

WEST SEATTLE SCENE: West 5’s final days

Gary Potter (proprietor of longtime WSB sponsor Potter Construction) sent the photo, suggesting West 5 fans might need a reminder that the Junction restaurant/bar is about to close after 19 years. As reported here on January 31st, tomorrow (Saturday, February 12) is its last announced day/night. In the photo, from earlier this week, is, L-R, Gary with West Seattle Chamber of Commerce‘s board president Dawn Leverett, West 5 co-founder Dave Montoure, Josh Sutton from the Greater Seattle YMCA, and Todd Carden of Elliott Bay Brewing. If you’re planning to visit before it closes, hours are 11 am-10 pm.

BIZNOTE: Entrepreneur bringing her ‘alternative’ dream to life with Animated Café

A coffee stand opens next Friday at 35th/Barton. And this little stand has a big backstory.

(Photo courtesy Animated Café)

In the photo is Melanie Robbins, a West Seattle resident who is opening Animated Café in the Tony’s Market lot on the northeast corner of the intersection. She wants other young people to know you can chart your own path. She dropped out of high school just before the pandemic and went into training to be a barista (eventually getting her GED). Instead of going to work for somebody else’s coffee shop, she’s launching her own. She says a year and a half of online studies inspired many of her peers to “carve their own path in the world” too. In email before we spoke by phone, she wrote:

…I’ve watched nearly every one of my friends pursue an alternative lifestyle in order to feel less stuck in a world that seems to have forgotten about them. That means getting a job and fast-tracking their adult lives. The world that has historically valued school as the primary way of learning, and that has been disrupted. We are inspired by social media, do our research on Google, and learn how to make things on YouTube. School was day care for most kids prior to COVID. It turned into a joke during the pandemic instead of being the educational resource it is promised to be

I dropped out of high school 4 months before the pandemic started. Counter to social norms and expectations I felt extremely fortunate because this gave me a massive head start. While getting my GED I joined a program called Fare Start which taught me how to be a barista. At 16, when the pandemic started, I already had my high school equivalency, a job, and was enrolling in college all while my peers were facing the harsh reality of loneliness, fear, & a complete loss of structure. For the first time I felt like an outsider looking in. I had a clear mission, “Save as much money as possible, start a business, and take control of my life.” This seemed different from everyone else I knew at school, but I hope I can be a model for this generation of high-school students who feel stuck in time.

While in lockdown I fortified my love for everything animated. Disney+ just came out, and Hulu and Netflix had a deep library of anime. I always loved this genre of entertainment, and its popularity seemed to spike during the pandemic since people have been stuck at home looking for new shows to watch and mangas to read. 2 years later I have put every dime I earned toward that goal of taking control of my life in a world that seems so out of control. On February 4th Animated Cafe will become a reality, and I think more people my age should do the same thing versus waiting for the world to care.

She has advice for other would-be entrepreneurs, too, and it’s all on the Animated Café website. Starting next Friday, she invites you to come see what her hard work and planning has created. The “animated” theme will feature the proprietor serving guests as “Ana,” a costumed (“family-friendly”) character. “It’s going to be fun!” she promises. She’s planning to serve Dillano’s Coffee and pastries and sandwiches from Seattle’s Favorite. Animated Café will be drive-up, ride-up, or walk-up, 5 am to 5 pm for starters, until she sees what makes sense with the customer flow.

BIZNOTE: West Bay Coffee and Smoothies crowdfunding to stay afloat after weather damage

(Photo courtesy GoFundMe)

“I didn’t want to lose my business … I could not imagine closing.”

That’s why Jennifer West is going to drastic lengths, including seeking crowdfunding, to keep her independent drive-up/ride-up West Bay Coffee and Smoothies in business after weather damage threatened to end its 14-year run at 2255 Harbor Avenue SW.

The stand shares water service with the larger commercial building on the site. Pipes broke during the recent ultra-cold weather, West says, flooding the larger building. She says the property manager proposed just cutting off service, which would force her to move. Or, she could fix the lines affecting the stand, at her own expense. She also has no access to a restroom or storage in the main building. So she’s paid for the plumbing to her stand, a new porta-potty just delivered yesterday, and is working on a new storage shed.

All that costs money, so she launched a GoFundMe crowdfunding page this week. “It’s been a nightmare but we’re working through the logistics to try to remain open,” West tells WSB. As the synopsis on the crowdfunding page says, she’s already gone through a lot, as have so many businesses – “We’ve been through covid exposures, weathered ongoing supply-chain issues and enormous supply price hikes, while trying to keep everyone safe” – she can’t bear to throw in the towel now.