Monthly Archives: October 2010

Eastlake restaurateur Susan Kaufman named Woman Business Owner of the Year

UPDATE: This post has been updated since it was first published. A comment from Susan Kaufman has been added.

Susan Kaufman, owner of Serafina and Cicchetti on Eastlake Avenue E., was named 2010 Nellie Cashman Woman Business Owner of the Year on Thursday evening.

The award, sponsored by the Women Business Owners, a Puget Sound organization for women entrepreneurs, judges finalists “based on their entrepreneurial spirit, ethics and community spirit, financial management skill, and the difficulty and risk they have endured to achieve their success,” according to the WBO website.

Kaufman, a native New Yorker, grew up eating Italian food. After creating two successful restaurants in Juneau, Alaska, she opened Serafina on Eastlake Avenue in 1991. The restaurant has won numerous accolades and awards. Last year, Kaufman purchased the building behind Serafina and turned it into her newest restaurant, Cicchetti. 

Anne-Marie Faiola, CEO of Bramble Berry, 2009 Nellie winner and 2010 Nellie judge, said of Kaufman:

“With Susan, her commitment to financial management really stood out. It’s not easy to run a restaurant and start another one, all from existing capital. And to have a successful restaurant that is consistently profitable and full over two decades is a rare thing. Additionally, the fact that many of her staff are long-time members of her team speaks volumes about the type of company she runs. Her enthusiasm for creating community through her food and restaurants was obvious as was her can-do attitude and her grace and wit under pressure.”

“I am still reeling from last night,” Kaufman said in an e-mail. “It was the most amazing experience, being in the company of my incredibly talented co-finalists as well as a room full of accomplished, caring women. … I had no idea how much this would mean to me until I actually experienced the entire event.  It is truly an amazing feeling to be recognized this way, and I will stay in the “glow” as long as possible.”

Kaufman is a long-time Eastlake resident and activist. She lives near her restaurants and is a believer in local and sustainable food. According to a press release, her kitchen garden supplies herbs and vegetables to the restaurants.

The Nellie honors Nellie Cashman, a pioneer businesswoman, entrepreneur, philanthropist and gold prospector.

Business Journal: The battle to keep Zymo in Seattle

The Puget Sound Business Journal is reporting on what may happen to ZymoGenetics as Bristol-Myers Squibb completes its acquisition of the bio-tech company. 

ZymoGenetics occupies space in the historic Lake Union Steam Plant at the southern end of the Eastlake neighborhood. 

A big question with the Bristol-Myers Squibb takeover was whether ZymoGenetics would remain in Seattle and, if not, what would happen to the old Steam Plant. As Xconomy posted in September, the Steam Plant isn’t set up for multiple tenants and the space Zymo occupies is too big for most bio-tech firms.

Clay Holtzman from the Business Journal reports that a Bristol-Myers spokesperson told him Thursday that “virtually no one would be let go for three months. The exception being key executive positions. For example, CEO Doug Williams and President Steve Zaruby are no longer with the company.”

What happens after that is uncertain. To read more of Holtzman’s article, click here

Eastlake and Lake Union history featured on two websites

The history and people of Lake Union and Eastlake are featured in two website “museums” that offer an interactive look at the past and present in the area:

Lake Union Virtual Museum: Vaun Raymond began creating this site in 2008 as part of his masters thesis work at the University of Washington. His goal was to use readily available technology to create a “rich Internet experience of local history.” He rides around the lake on his bicycle and uses software like Photoshop, Final Cut Pro and iWeb to create the site.

“Exhibits” on the site include “First Peoples,” “Houseboats,” the “World’s Fair” and “Boatshops.” Local historian and neighborhood activitist Jules James is featured in the video on Seaplanes. James calls the seaplanes “an icon, a signature” of Lake Union. He notes that they’ve been here for a while:

“They’re part of a long tradition of seeming incompatible uses of this urban lake. To mix the seaplanes and the sailboats and the kayaks and the workboats and the swimmers all in together in a very small space of water, most people think this just can’t happen. But it’s happened since 1914 …”

James talks about how Bill Boeing built his first airplane hangar at the base of Roanoke Street in 1916. Boeing ran an airline for many years that later became United Airlines. So, in a stretch, James says, you could say that United began at the foot of Roanoke Street on Lake Union.

To see more of the Lake Union Virtual Museum, go here.

Field Notes: Observing Lake Union: This audio tour of the Cheshiahud Lake Union Loop was commissioned by the Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs as part of the opening of Lake Union Park. It was created by the Studio for Urban Projects in San Francisco.

According to an e-mail from its creators, the tour:

“… explores how changing conceptions of nature and our place within it have shaped Seattle’s Lake Union over the last two hundred years. The piece focuses on the underlying ecology of Lake Union and its transformation through eras of geologic change, Native American stewardship, European settlement, commercial industry and large-scale infrastructural development as well as urban planning and park design.”

One of the four tour stops is in Fairview Park just off Eastlake Avenue. You access the tour by calling 206-395-2311 on your cell phone, then entering an extension for the particular stop you’re at (Fairview Park is extension 20).

A sign on the trail at the park (see photo) shows the other stops and encourages visitors to look for signs in the park that have other audio segments connected to them. Fairview’s other segment is extension 22. Unidentifed speakers discuss the vegetation in the park and along the shoreline, explaining what is native and what isn’t.

The other sites on the tour are Lake Union Park (extension 10), Gas Works Park (extension 30) and the Lake Washington Ship Canal (extension 40).

The Studio for Urban Projects will sponsor a walking tour of Lake Union Park from 3 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 23. Featured speakers will include Coll Thrush, author of “Native Seattle: Histories from the Crossing-Over Place,” David Williams, author of “The Seattle Street-Smart Naturalist: Field Notes from the City” and others who worked on the project. The walk is free and open to the public although you have to register in advance by e-mailing

The project’s website is here.

Siam makes its move to Eastlake Avenue E.

I wasn’t able to make the soft opening last weekend for Siam as it moves from its longtime location on Fairview E. out to new digs on Eastlake Ave. E.

The Thai restaurant is now located at 1629 Eastlake E., across the street from Grand Central. An e-mail from the restaurant says they are hoping to open to the general public on Thursday. 

Eastlake weekly police reports: Residential burglaries are the highlight

Residential burglaries highlight this week’s Eastlake police reports:

  • Oct. 4: Car prowl, 1400 block of E. Nelson Pl., 6:30 p.m.
  • Oct. 5: Accident investigation, 2600 block of Eastlake Ave. E., 7:19 a.m.
  • Oct. 5: Noise disturbance, 2000 block of Eastlake E., 12:23 p.m.
  • Oct. 5: Residential burglary, 2900 block of Eastlake Ave. E., 2 p.m.
  • Oct. 6: Residential burglary, 1500 block of Eastlake Ave. E., 3:31 p.m.
  • Oct. 6: Property damage – graffiti, 0 block of E. Boston, 9 p.m.
  • Oct. 7: Accident investigation, 0 block of E. Lynn, 4:15 p.m.
  • Oct. 7: Accident investigation, 3000 block of Harvard Ave. E., 7:27 p.m.
  • Oct. 9: Vehicle theft, 2500 block of Eastlake Ave. E., 9 p.m.
  • Oct. 10: Residential burglary, 1500 block of Lakeview E., 3:31 a.m.
  • Oct. 10: Accident investigation, 600 block of E. Lynn, 5:30 p.m.
  • Oct. 11: Accident investigation, 2300 block of Boylston, 3:23 p.m.

To see the complete map, go to

Metro to close five Route 70 stops in Eastlake on Oct. 30

King County Metro Transit has announced that it will be closing several stops on Route 70 between downtown and the University Bridge, including five stops in Eastlake.

The stops to be closed are:

  • Northbound at Fairview E. and Eastlake E.
  • North- and southbound at E. Boston
  • Southbound at E. Roanoke
  • Northbound at E. Edgar

As with a previous elimination of some stops on Route 49 on Harvard E., the purpose is to speed up buses, make the route more reliable and save energy. On its website, Metro explains:

Currently, the corridor has 35 bus stops between downtown Seattle and the University Bridge, with an average stop spacing of about 830 feet. The plan would remove seven of these stops, increasing the average spacing between stops to about 1,060 feet.

Metro’s website says approximately 13% of commuters who ride Route 70 between downtown and the bridge will have to get on at a different stop. The stops will be closed on Oct. 30.

If you’d like to comment on the closures, Metro has several methods for doing so listed on its website. The website also include an interactive map showing the stops being closed.

ECC board elected; election races and issues are debated

The Eastlake Community Council Board was elected Tuesday evening during a community meeting at Seward School that also featured candidates for public office and debates over various ballot issues.

The new ECC board is:

  • Chris Leman – president
  • Mary Hansen – vice president
  • Carsten Croff – treasurer
  • Tim Ahlers – secretary
  • Board members: James Metz, Cecilia Grevson, Mary Hansen, Carsten Stinn, Betty Gard, Susan Forhan and Kathi Woods

Among the highlights of the election forum was an appearance by State Rep. Frank Chopp, 43rd District Democrat and speaker of the Washington State House.

“The reason I’m in the Legislature is to get things done,” Chopp said as he handed out a flyer listing 82 legislative accomplishments he’s made in the last several years. He touted three issues he’s worked on that were “timely:” Apple Care, a children’s health care program that he called the “best in the nation,” with 780,000 kids enrolled; Opportunity Pathways, a series of measures to increase higher education enrollment and provide students with tuition funding; and Referendum 52, which would help local school districts renovate their buildings to make them more energy efficient.

Chopp responded to questions raised earlier in the meeting about Initiative 1098, which would impose an income tax on state residents making over $250,000. Would that tax threshold be dropped, bringing the tax to people with lower incomes. 

“So long as I’m speaker, that’ll never happen,” Chopp said. “It would be political suicide to lower the threshold below $250,000.”

The issue of whether the threshold for a state income tax could be lowered if 1098 is approved dominated the discussion on that issue. Technically, the state legislature could vote to change terms of the initiative after two years, something Chopp said it had done on several occasions. A proponent of the issue stated what Chopp would echo later: Doing so would be political suicide for legislators.

An opponent of 1098 from the Association for Washington Business said the tax breaks in the initiative wouldn’t be much help to most businesses. She also said the measure would hurt venture capitalists.

Discussion of a three-year, $48.2 million school levy focused on what the money would actually be used for. A proponent of the measure said it would help make up millions of dollars in state money that have been cut from Seattle schools. An opponent said that voting down the measure wouldn’t make a difference in the classroom because the levy money would be adding new programs, not restoring things that were cut.

Charlie Wiggins, who is running for the State Supreme Court against incumbent Richard Sanders, said he had three main issues: integrity, impartiality and independence. He noted that Sanders has been disciplined and he questioned whether Sanders has been impartial and questioned his judgment on a number of issues. Wiggins noted his own experience as a lawyer and former Appeals Court Judge.

Karen Donohue, who is running for Municipal Court Position 6, touted her years of legal experience and said that she would bring not only her legal skills but fiscal responsibility to the court, which she said is the one most citizens come into contact with on a regular basis.

Edsonya Charles, Municipal Court judge in Position 1, spoke in support of her re-election. She has been on the court since 2005 and was elected presiding judge two years ago. She noted that she had worked hard during two difficult budget years to keep the court operating efficiently.

Her opponent, Ed McKenna, said he was running on a campaign of reform and change for the Municipal Court. He’s a community-based prosecutor who has “tried about every type of offense.” He noted that a workload analysis of the court needs to be done to determine if judges there are overworked or not.

Debate over the two initiatives to privatize liquor sales (1100 and 1105) focused on what effect they would have on taxes paid to local goverments and what would happen to the 800 current state liquor board employees. The proponent of 1100 (the so-called “Costco” initiative because the wholesaler promoted it) said that measure would leave the current tax structure in place while 1105 would eliminate state liquor taxes. He also noted that it would reduce the states 51.9% markup on liquor prices. The speaker opposed said that the 800 employees would become unemployed and that liquor retail outlets would increase from 300 to 3,500 if the measure passes.

Ted Choi, longtime Eastlake resident and activist, dies at 74

UPDATE: This post has been changed since it was first published. Comments from Christina Choi have been added.

Ted Choi Tam, a longtime Eastlake activist and father of Nettletown’s Christina Choi, died on Friday after a year-long fight with cancer. He was 74.

In an e-mail, Chris Leman notes that Mr. Choi served as the president of the Eastlake Community Council in the 1970s and that he oversaw the neighborhood’s first planning effort. 

“In the late 1990s,” Chris writes, “he helped produce Eastlake’s latest neighborhood plan, serving on the Eastlake Neighborhood Plan Steering Committee as a representative of low income housing advocates.”

Chris notes that all of Mr. Choi’s children “are or have been in the Eastlake neighborhood as residents, in jobs, or both.” Mr. Choi had been living in Montlake, Chris writes, but hoped to return to Eastlake.

According to an obituary forwarded by Christina, Mr. Choi was born on Vashon Island on Christmas Day 1935. He moved to Seattle and attended Garfield High School. He majored in business at the University of Washington and joined the Army when he was in his early 20s as an intelligence analyst and was honorably discharged as a Specialist 5th Class.

He had an early job at Trader Vic’s, worked as a manufacturing engineer on the original 747, worked in various financial institutions and commercial real estate firms, and started Choi Investment Realty in the late 1970s.

The obituary notes:

Ted had a lifetime commitment to making a difference in the community. The list is too numerous to count, but some highlights were: Founding board president of Kin-On Health Care Center,  one of the first presidents of Eastlake Community Council, Chinatown Chamber of Commerce advisor, multiple Seattle Schools committees, Board member of City of Seattle Board of Ethics, and Capitol Hill Soccer coach and referee. His political career started in Young Republicans and culminated in becoming the first ever Asian precinct committee chair of a legislative district as well as a two time delegate to Republican National Convention.  He even ran for the Seattle City Council in 1972, with the slogan “Let’s Get it All Together”.  Early this year he was recognized by the Chinese Chamber of Commerce and OCA-Greater Seattle Golden Circle for his lifetime involvement with the Chinese community.

Mr. Choi met his wife, JoAn, in 1969. They were married in 1970 and had six children. He cooked in restaurants at an early age and, along with his wife, inspired all of his children to enjoy great food. The obituary says it was “a great source of pride” for Mr. Choi when Christina opened Nettletown earlier this year.

In an e-mail, Christina had this to say about her dad:

I am particularly proud of his time giving to so many communities. He was always going to meetings for this board or that group throughout my childhood and I never realized what that meant till more recently — he volunteered much of his time and energy to help many peoples and places become better and stronger.  A special moment for me in the last year was to see him accept a lifetime achievement award from the Organization of Chinese Americans(OCA). In his speech his main advice was to make time for your family and really savor that time together.

Mr. Choi is survived by his wife JoAn, children Theresa (Juan Carlos Ramirez), Elizabeth (Neal Rudd), Christina, Teddy (Katie), Christopher and Matthew, and grandchildren Donovan Ramirez and Matthaeus Rudd, his brother Dan (Eunice), nephews and nieces Ronnie, Richard, Stefanie, Sheri, Spencer and Scott.

Services for Mr. Choi will be at 11 a.m. tomorrow (Wednesday, Oct. 6) at St. Patrick’s Catholic Churck, 2702 Broadway Ave. E.

An obituary in the Seattle Times is here.

Eastlake weekly crime report: property damage and two motorcycle thefts

This week’s Eastlake crime reports:

  • Sept. 28: Motorcycle theft, 1900 block of Franklin Ave. E., 12: 45 a.m.
  • Sept. 28: Property damage, non-residential, 100 block of E. Allison, 6:45 a.m.
  • Sept. 28: Property damage, non-residential, 0 block of E. Boston, 10:50 a.m.
  • Sept. 28: Accident investigation, 2600 block of Eastlake Ave. E., 11:18 a.m.
  • Sept. 28: Property destruction, 0 block of E. Boston, 11:29 a.m.
  • Sept. 28: Car prowl, 2800 block of Eastlake Ave. E., 6 p.m.
  • Oct. 1: Accident investigation, 1400 block of Fairview Ave. N., 3:36 p.m.
  • Oct. 1: Motorcycle theft, 2400 block of Minor Ave. E., 11:53 p.m.
  • Oct. 3: Assault, 200 block of E. Boston, 1:30 a.m.
  • Oct. 3: Assaults, 100 block of E. Newton, 3:53 a.m.
  • Oct. 4: Property destruction, 100 block of E. Boston, 3:51 p.m.
  • Oct. 4: Disturbance, 2000 block of Minor Ave. E., 4:01 p.m.

To see the complete map, go to here.

Winners named at Zoo’s 33rd Annual Chili Cook-off

UPDATE: This post has been updated since it was first published. The total donated to Northwest Harvest has been corrected. An explanation of how many cook-offs have occurred has been added.

And we have winners! Although the field was smaller than last year, the contestants in the Eastlake Zoo’s 33rd Annual Chili Cook-off on Saturday were a tasty bunch that made chosing a favorite difficult.

The top three chilis and their cooks, by the vote of those attending the event on Saturday, are:

  1. Josh Brown for his chili With Love, From Milan.
  2. Rita Martinez for Mayan Revenge.
  3. Dean Petrick (I didn’t get the name of his chili).

(Full disclosure: I paid for a bowl and voted.)

The event netted $755 for Northwest Harvest.

Many of the cooks had entered chili in the contest before but some were newcomers to the event. Most spent long hours in the kitchen preparing their entries.

Elissa Rosenbaum had her chili, Everything But the Kitchen Sink, on the stove for 12 hours, then put it through a chillling and warming cycle to get it ready. Her secret? Biscuits cooked on top of the chili.

Although she didn’t win, Rosenbaum said later she was “happy that it’s (the chili) is gone. I ran out first!”

Martinez, who eventually came in second, said she started cooking at 10 a.m. on Friday. She had entered before but had never placed, so she was excited to have placed. Her chili featured three variations of pork: pork shoulder, pork sausage and ground pork. She was roasting extra peppers Saturday morning to give it some added color.

“I was going to call it 3 Piggies,” she said, but her husband signed it in as Mayan Revenge.

Karan Loop, a former employee at the Zoo in the late ’70s and early ’80s, was proudlly wearing her t-shirt from the second cook-off in 1984 (see attached photo). She won second that year.

(If you have your calculator out at this point, you’ve probably noticed that the math doesn’t add up here. If the first Chili Cook-off was in 1983, this would be the 27th annual event, not the 33rd. Walt Lane from the Zoo explains that there were cook-offs before the official chili cook-off began. He says that about 15 years ago, folks involved in those earlier cook-offs asked that their contributions be acknowledged. “After weeks of beers and debate,” Walt says in an e-mail, “the Eastlake Zoo Tavern Permanent Cook-Off Committee, which deals with all cook-off issues, decided to honor those earlier pioneers of chili cook-offs by including their years in the cook-off total.” And so it came to pass. Amen.).

Betsy Costello, who cooks under the moniker Factoria Floozy, was back this year. Her crockpot of chili was decorated with a satin, laced-up bustier (see the photo).

Two of the Zoo’s original owners, Paul Michelson and Robert Woodson, sat at a table eating chili and passing along tales of the Zoo in its early years to yours truly. Did you know the Zoo used to be called the It’ll Do Tavern? And that there was a Chinese restaurant next door? Neither did I!

Another great event. Thanks, Zoo!