Promises, promises

Two Junction-bound stores that seem bound to be artsy/boutiquey, at the very least — Divina (north of Hotwire & its dentist neighbors) and Clementine (next to Pagliacci) — both have now taped hand-printed sheets of paper to their storefront glass, promising “OPEN IN SEPTEMBER.” I’m a little worried; if WS gets any trendier, you all are going to have to throw declasse ol’ me out.

Grounds for remodeling

August 29, 2006 6:46 am
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 |   West Seattle businesses | WS beverages

A little more info on what’s up at the Morgan Junction Starbucks, which has applied for a “sidewalk cafe” permit … West Seattle Blogger Spouse says it’s posted as closing at 8 pm every night for the next few weeks (a couple hours earlier than usual for this time of year) for “remodeling.”

Trivia for newcomers: That Starbucks location used to be a drugstore. Overall, Morgan Junction was fairly lowkey for our first few years on this side of WS; then came the Great Thriftway Fire of 1997 (we were out of town on vacation; seeing the smoldering debris on our return was quite the shock). The wonderful rebuild turned the store to face California instead of Fauntleroy, and things in the neighborhood really started jumping.

Here & gone

HERE: As promised, Cactus on Alki just opened. Must have been a blitz of last-minute touches — the landscaping, the green neon sign, all up in the last week or so. We cruised by around sunset; looked like a lively crowd. We haven’t even been to Coyotes yet, so we might not make it to Cactus any time soon; please share reviews when you give it a try!

GONE: A little corner on Cali Ave at the bottom of Gatewood Hill is a lot less bright tonight. The found-items-turned-flowerpots, the stuffed-animal sentinels, the whimsical little signs, all gone from outside the funky old brick apartments (scroll down this page for photo) that are two buildings and one street south of Caffe Ladro. The corner unit is suddenly empty, bereft of the longtime tenant who clearly had a sense of humor, joie de vivre, and flair, at least so far as we passersby could tell. We walked past her/his displays dozens of times, almost always stopping to notice something new that had joined the eclectic collection of repurposed bric-a-brac arranged against walls and clumped on the parking strip. Wherever you went, whoever you were, hope your new neighbors and passersby are getting the same chance to harvest a smile from your sidewalk garden.

What he said

August 28, 2006 7:15 am
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 |   Development | West Seattle housing

If you share my sadness at every fine old house that is swept away to clear space for condos, or twinge a little when a franchise moves into a business space once held by a local original … even while knowing deep inside, “the only thing constant is change” … check out the second half of this post on chasBlog. My hat’s off to him (and in this case, perhaps a Mariners trident logo hat would be appropriate).

Sunday drive

Got out and about for the first time in a few days … First, a couple notes from the Junction: Though the space posted as the future “Divina Cantina” does not appear open yet, a new store in front of it called “Divina” appears to be almost set to go. Its doors are posted with an artsy flyer trumpeting simply “Divina/Objects Of Beauty.” Looks like said objects include clothes, dishes, and wall hangings, among other things we didn’t quite have time to catalog while peering through the window … Also, just noticed that the former “In-Out Espresso” south of Pagliacci has changed its name to “Red Cup Espresso.” Sorry if that’s old news — gotta wonder, though, did those California burger people come after them, or did they just get tired of saying “No relation”?

Now, from Beach Drive … the “For Sale” sign at the historic Satterlee House sprouted a “PRICE REDUCED” signlet sometime in the past week or so, so we checked the listing again … wow, down to $2.5 million, from the original $3,000,000. Gosh, maybe I should try the mortgage calculator again.

Last but not least, we returned home to find out in a roundabout way that one of our favorite non-amateur blogs has poked fun at us, sort of. Wow … when the venerable Dan Savage is aware of your existence, you know you’ve really arrived.


Sorry about the slowdown, etc.

August 27, 2006 1:12 am
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 |   West Seattle restaurants | WS miscellaneous

It’s been one of those weeks where offline life interfered with online life. Now, back to our regularly scheduled blogging …

-Just got a note from one of the owners of Cactus Restaurants — he confirms that the new Alki location is opening this Monday, and says they’ve deliberately held back on trumpeting a definite date, but now they’re ready to go:

It is very important to us that we do a great job with the first customer who walks in the door. Our goal is to make available the same quality food and service to the West Seattle community that we have been providing in Madison Park and Kirkland for over 15 years. At our core, we are a neighborhood restaurant and look forward to serving locals like yourself and those that read your blog. I suppose the truth is that after weeks of telling people I don’t know when we are going to open, I’m excited and ready to spread the news.

-More food news: One of our most intrepid tipsters got to the latest liquor-application filings before we did, and discovered that Garlic Jim’s Pizza is apparently on its way to The Junction, in a near head-to-head with Pagliacci — the address on the app is for the former First Mutual Bank space on the east side of Cali Ave, near Quidnunc. (But will THEY deliver to my side of WS? Pagliacci still snubs us down here, grrrr …) Incidentally, this will be a return to WS, in a way, for the company’s prez, who according to this article from earlier this year was a founder of Jet City Pizza, which used to have an outlet in Morgan Junction.

-And speaking of tipsters, thanks again to everyone who’s been writing us with what they’re hearing and seeing around WS. It makes this little endeavor not only more informative, but also a lot more fun. (The e-mail link is on our “About WSB” page.)

Thursday night tidbits

-One more upcoming event to add to the by-no-means-all-inclusive listlet I featured below: an e-mail tipster suggests I mention the 34th District Dems’ annual Garden Party/Auction, tomorrow (Friday) night at West Seattle Nursery.

-Tomorrow’s P-I features columnist Susan Paynter investigating the Battle of the Gas Stations in the Admiral District. Brings back memories of the hue and cry when Barnecut’s finally swapped out its charming antique brick building for the current mega-station look. I agree with the person quoted in the Paynter column as suggesting Barnecut’s put up a visual reminder of its status as a longstanding family-run, “full-service” business — otherwise, if you haven’t been in WS a looooong time, you may not realize it’s something much more than “just another gas station.”

Looking ahead to our WS weekend

August 23, 2006 11:16 pm
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 |   WS culture/arts

Two things on the radar so far: 

-Don’t forget the open house at High Point Community Center this Friday.

-The Arts in Nature Festival features events at two West Seattle venues this weekend.

Tax attack

Just read that the man who helped morph our state’s elections into California-style initiativefests is getting involved in the road tax vote this fall — even though he doesn’t live in Seattle. I personally am no fan of his. But I haven’t made up my mind about this tax yet and whether it seems like it will really help. If you haven’t looked too closely at it yet either, here’s a page that might help us both — although since it’s a city page, there’s no independent analysis.

Out in the open

August 20, 2006 9:43 pm
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 |   WS beverages

According to the city’s latest semi-weekly Land Use Info Bulletin, there’s a permit request for a “sidewalk cafe” adjacent to Starbucks at Fauntleroy and California. Considering it’s got several outdoor tables now (and a few by the back door), wonder what that’s all about …

Game over

A tv news story says Bobby’s Hobbies at the north end of the Junction is running out of gas, so to speak. That would leave our area without a mini-car racetrack, as far as we know … if you’ve been in WS a while, you may remember the indoor “speedway” that used to be in the spot West 5 now inhabits so nicely. The times, they are a-changin’ … we think Them Young People are mostly home playing computer games these dayz. (Aside: The above-linked story, as of this writing, mentions people with the surname “Grieb.” Don’t they mean “Greive“?)


My gosh, we must have some lightning-fast construction crews on tap for Fauntleroy Place. This listing for a nearby condo says Whole Foods is opening this fall. And I haven’t even seen the groundbreaking announcement yet!

Going underground

The latest in the what-will-replace-a-viaduct vying: The pro-tunnel drums grow louder (though this Times columnist manages to hear right through them). But there’s good news for us viaduct drivers: sixth line from the bottom in this story says it’s at least not in imminent danger of collapsing under its own weight! Whew!

But reading between the lines … it seems less likely by the second that if we do all vote this fall, we won’t even get the chance to voice our views on The Third Option. And that, according to an allegedly secret study we paid for, would be a mistake.

Beer nuts

August 16, 2006 7:23 pm
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 |   WS beverages

If you’ve ever wondered what it takes to go into the beer business, you’ll be fascinated by this ongoing tale told by West Seattleites getting ready to go public with their microbrew. (“Schooner Exact,” if it doesn’t ring a bell, is a WS-appropriate name, since that was the ship the Denny Party sailed to Alki.)

Coyote controversy, the sequel

The Schmitz Park coyote flap seems to be raging on in the WS Herald letters to the editor. One letter today points readers to the Friends of Schmitz Park website, which we hadn’t been aware of before.

You may recall, this latest round was touched off when coyotes made off with a dog briefly left alone in a nearby yard. People whom we believe had a connection to the dog are leading a campaign to get rid of the coyotes and claiming that they will inevitably come after small humans in the area, once they are out of small animals.

First, we agree with them — no one should be leaving food out for the coyotes; feeding wild animals does them no favors. Two, we agree with one of this week’s Herald letter-writers; cats (and other pets) belong indoors, and not only if you live near a park or greenbelt. We’ve had cats all our life, they’ve always been indoor cats, and they’ve lived long, healthy, happy lives. If you still choose to let your cats roam outside, they face worse threats than coyotes (or other wildlife).

Three, get the facts about coyote-human attacks. Rare. As this site points out, hundreds of people are killed by so-called “domestic” dogs every year. Anybody calling to ban them? Didn’t think so. So here on our tiny corner of an online soapbox, we’re standing to say, it’s not easy or convenient or perfectly safe to live in an area where we are blessed with some of the last swaths of urban sort-of-semi-wilderness in America. But we can deal with it without exterminating/evicting everything that doesn’t happen to be a cute, tiny, theoretically harmless “wild” creature. The animals don’t have a choice of where to go or what to do. We do. To quote the state site we have linked above (which you can also find from the Friends of Schmitz Park site, which elsewhere displays one of the anti-coyote letters):

Coyote behavior is based on instinctual programming for survival that is centuries old. As intelligent beings, individual coyotes can learn new ways to obtain the food, water, and shelter they need to survive. But coyote needs aren’t going to change.

However, human “needs” to set garbage on the curb, leave dog food outside, or put the cat out at night, can and should be re-examined. If humans want to peacefully coexist with these fascinating wild animals, it’s up to humans to change.

If you are interested in more advice on how to do that, here’s excellent information from the Humane Society of the United States.

Heavy petting

August 15, 2006 7:12 pm
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 |   West Seattle businesses

Another pet-related store is on its way to Cali Ave. The windows of the former  “Adorn,” on the west side of the street just south of Admiral, now sport huge banners touting the impending arrival of a Mud Bay pet-food outlet. (Also on the Mud Bay site, a handy page with photo and map.) That makes four pet-related stores along Cali Ave — also including Next to Nature, Petco, and Pet Elements. (Though perhaps Petco is not long for this [WS] world?)

Restaurant tidbits

-The Cactus Restaurant webpage for under-construction Alki has mentioned only “August 2006” as its opening date. So now that August is half over, will that really happen? Just got e-mail from an Alki reader who said she called one of the other Cactus locations to ask and was told they’re “shooting for” August 28.

-Something’s in the works at the former Cat’s Eye Cafe just north of Lincoln Park. Construction permits are posted in its windows; the online info describes the work only as “rewire/remodel studio.”

The birds and the … threes

Bad billboard placement:

Yet another one of those stupid double entendres on behalf of Las Vegas tourism, this one declaring “I JOINED A THREESOME.”

Location: Right over West Seattle Montessori School, right where families turning left into the drop-off alley can’t miss it. (“Mommy, what’s a …”) Nice.

Life’s a beach

The P-I takes on Alki’s summer of semi-discontent today. P.S., the “blogger who writes often about Alki” quoted at the very end is not me … took me a minute to figure out who it actually is.

Speaking of big old historic houses

Not long after I posted about the apparently doomed historic house at 4532 42nd SW (thanks to “WS Guy” for the comment on that post, enlightening me about its history — my copy of the wonderful “West Side Story” is in tatters and I need to find a “new” one), we were startled by this sight: The historic “Satterlee House” on Beach Drive is up for sale again, billed as a “$3 million fixer” with suggestions as to how some of its massive front-lawn space could be developed. It’s been five years since the slugfest over a plan to put cottages on that land; now the MLS listing suggests it could be used as “possible 3 building sites with completed short plat.” Whatever happened to the campaign to save the house and its site as is? Isn’t there any kazillionaire around here with a few spare bucks (I wish I did!) to preserve a little history? (or are they ALL on Lake Washington?)

The Junction’s second main street

Several of the projects already in the pipeline will make 42nd the “second Main Street of The Junction” more than ever. One wasn’t really on my radar till we walked along 42nd yesterday, from the north edge of the Junction down to Jefferson Square. This one saddens me a bit. At 4532 42nd, if you look behind and over the fencing and the overgrowth, there’s a huge old house with some style and flair (despite what must be, by now, years of neglect and disrepair). It almost looks like a Southern plantation house, with a huge balcony under the eaves on its top story. The golden-yellow land-use-ap sign in front has been there so long, somebody has tagged it; the online information doesn’t say a whole lot, though the architect who’s listed seems to be associated with the fabled Roger Newell — it’s just listed as another proposed “mixed-use” building. I know old houses come down all the time so the land can be cleared for condos, townhomes, “mixed use,” whatever, but few of them are as striking as this one. I’d bet it has a bit of history, too. (And in fact, Googling its address just before finishing this post, I found it on a document of “cultural and historical resources” that were “inventoried” at some point along the way in the monorail studies. Hmm. Might have to check with the Log House Museum people on this one.)

That’s entertainment

Several fun options around West Seattle tonight: “Grease” at Sidewalk Cinema next to Hotwire (we’ve been to these fun outdoor movies twice this summer and had a blast both times); “Once Upon a Mattress” in the West Seattle High School theater (billed as partly a fundraiser for the relatively new and lively Youngstown Cultural Arts Center); the last night of “Cabaret” at ArtsWest; and if you venture a little further southwest to White Center, sounds like one heck of a bash till 10 pm tonight at Pacific Rim Brewing Company, featuring more than half a dozen bands and the inimitable Rat City Rollergirls.

Soldier with WS ties killed in Iraq

August 12, 2006 9:01 am
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 |   West Seattle news

Regardless of what you think about this war, or any war, it is worthwhile to consider the unique humanity of everyone involved in it, on both sides, when you get the chance. Sadly, that sort of opportunity seldom presents itself aside from the death of a soldier, such as onetime Chief Sealth HS student Staff Sgt. Tracy Melvin, the latest local person killed in Iraq. His funeral is set for Friday in White Center; his life is outlined in Times and P-I stories this morning.