You could be eating this at Bookstore Bar and Cafes brunch, er, high tea.
You could be eating this at Bookstore Bar and Cafe's brunch high tea.

A Bonanza of Brunches

Everyone's adding a brunch menu, and why not? Brunch is the new brunch. Eater’s master list of new places offering The Most Instagrammed Meal™ includes, on the hill, Soi (11am-3pm Sat/Sun), Omega Ouzeri (10:30am-2:30pm Sat/Sun), and Marmite (10:30am-2:30pm Sat/Sun).

Downtown, Nirmal’s will join the fray (9am-1pm Sat), while Bookstore Bar and Cafe is calling their brunch "high tea," and offering "lean and light cuisine" (salads, open-face sandwiches, tapas), desserts (rosé popsicles anyone?), and around a dozen types of teas from around the globe (noon-3 pm Sat/Sun).

Of particular intrigue are Nirmal’s “Indian-inspired omelettes,” and Marmite’s savory chard and potato pancakes.

Ernest and Agnes' Pizza to be Replaced With...Pizza

And some other good eats. Chef Brian Clevenger, of Vendemmia and Raccolto, is taking over the space, reports CHS Blog, with plans to turn it into two places: Contadino Restaurant and Contadino Pizzeria. The latter will be, obviously, a pizza place, so you can still get your fancy pizza fix. Clevenger says there'll be eight regular pies and one daily special.

The former will be a full-on sit down affair with a 12-seat bar and a special four-person chef's counter, serving up "handmade pastas, vegetables, and simple seafood dishes that [Clevenger] is known for at his other restaurants."

Jason LaJeunesse, a partner in the Ernest Loves Agnes venture, will remain a partner here. Most importantly, Seattle's pizza quotient will remain stable. As I've written previously, there is no such thing as too much pizza.

Neptune Coffee Won't Reopen After Natural Gas Explosion

Ugh. Neptune's owners, Baltazar Soto and Christine Esparolini, announced the news via a short, gut-wrenching interview with Seattle Met. Amid their choice words:

"You took away years of our income. You ripped a career away from us. You ripped away our ability to expand or grow or benefit from all of this time and success that we were working toward. So a check may appease us financially, but there’s an emotional hole that I feel and my wife feels a hundred times more."


"You saw the [Utilities and Transportation Commission] report. Within a few hours of that coming out, PSE said something like, 'Yes, we agree it was devastating, but we disagree with the findings.' I kind of expected that. I’m an engineer by trade, and I’ve worked on forensic cases where there is culpability and money involved. So I thought, 'A report is going to come out, and if it blames PSE, PSE has a template written up already.'"

The insurance company didn't cough up nearly enough to make them whole, they said, and after conducting feasibility studies for new locations, they realized there was literally nowhere else in this "coffee-saturated" town they could pull it off. Again, ugh.

Bai Tong to Move Into Thorny Boom Noodle Space

The vacant Boom Noodle space, something of a Bermuda Triangle for restaurants on the Hill, will soon see another ship sailing into its waters. Bai Tong—the local Thai mini-chain with locations in Redmond, Tukwila, and Issaquah—will open Bai Tong Street Cafe there, reports CHS Blog.

They promise an "elegant, authentic" space with late night hours on Friday and Saturday, as well as a selection of quick takeaway items to help Pike/Pine revelers avoid the dreaded Seattle Dog. Not sure if curry is gentle on the digestive system after a night of drinking, but anything has to be better than a cheap wiener smothered in cream cheese.

London Plane Has Two New Pilots in the Kitchen

London Plane, Matt Dillon's airy Pioneer Square breakfast/lunch cafe, is making some power moves, as detailed by Seattle Met. First off, Dillon's hired some new blood in the kitchen—Andrew Gregory, who hails from Portland's Woodsman Tavern (and a couple cutting edge places in Chicago and New York), and Ricardo Valdes (formerly of Delancey and several other also-cutting-edge places in LA).

As the Met's Allecia Vermillion noted, the restaurant currently offers dinner Wednesday-Saturday, but it isn't exactly known for it. The newcomers will add Tuesday night service, and unveil new menus across the board, leading Vermillion to suspect a renewed focus on dinner. I'm inclined to agree, as I can't imagine Dillon hired that much new culinary firepower with no intention of using it.

Pressed Juicery Presses On

Seattle's latest juice cafe, hailing from juice-loving Los Angeles, appears to be finding success with its affordable juices. Their second location, in Queene Anne, is now open. Affordable, by the way, means $6.50 per beverage. According to my friends in LA, people in that city actually pay $9 for the liquid remnants of aggressively mashed fruits and vegetables, so go figure.

In other exciting Pressed news, they'll be offering a Valentine's day "Juice Gram"—an emailed voucher for a free mini juice. Sounds perfect if you and your love interest are the type of people who, say, consider hot yoga a date and refer to sex as "aligning your energies."

Icon Grill Auctioning Off its Oddities

I forgot to mention it here, and it has since come to pass, but RIP Icon Grill. Can't honestly say I'm sad, although perhaps there are some who will miss the perfect-for-Valentine's Day pornographic sundae fountain. Whether or not you enjoyed Icon's "inspired Americana," you've got to admit they had some interesting décor.

Now, you can be the proud owner of some of that décor, as the Icon is offering it all up via online auction. For ye pragmatic, restaurant-owning vultures, there'll also be restaurant equipment on offer. The auction begins 11am on Feb 14 and runs until 11am on Feb 21. More info can be found here.

Al Basha to Replace Bellini

Middle Eastern restaurant Al Basha will go in the former Bellini space in Belltown, according to Eater. The owners used to run Alderwood Gyro. Sounds chill.