Ask someone who’s visited Seattle about Pike Street and they’re likely to mention the Pike Place Market, home to the city’s most popular tourist attraction. But ask the locals, and they’ll direct you due east from downtown up to Capitol Hill, to the Pike-Pine Corridor.
Pike and Pine possesses more street cred than any other Seattle neighbourhood (other than the Central District), home to names like Jimi and Quincy – though the Hendrix statue kneels on Broadway, one block north of Pine Street. The music continues to pulse on Pine inside Linda’s Tavern, the bar founded by Linda Derschang with Bruce Pavitt and Jonathan Poneman as a place to hang out when they weren’t going to so-called grunge shows around the city.
Pavitt and Poneman went on to found Sub Pop Records, signing Nirvana and Pearl Jam, among many others. Derschang then developed Chop Suey and Baltic Room in what was, in the ’90’s, a derelict section of town occupied by warehouses and auto shops. Today, Chop Suey continues to book the freshest music from around the globe and Baltic Room remains a favourite dance club, though their founder has since sold.
Derschang’s five-year old project, Oddfellows, has given the Pike-Pine Corridor “its own cafeteria,” while Elliot Bay Books – arguably Seattle’s best bookshop – has relocated just down 10th Avenue to join the many other galleries and boutiques that line the block. Molly Moon’s Ice Cream, where Seattleites line up to order strawberry ice cream drizzled with reduced balsamic vinegar, moved in around the corner.
Melrose Market, located near Baltic Room, represents the new Pike-Pine Corridor. This cornucopia spills over with cheeses from The Calf & Kid, seasonal sandwiches from Homegrown, and fine wines from bar ferd’nand and Sitka & Spruce, Matt Dillon’s relocated restaurant that launched Seattle’s current culinary reputation for fresh regional cuisine, reimagined. Try the conica morels with fino sherry followed by the pork loin, prepared with roasted apple, tahini and black garlic.
The Pike-Pine Corridor also hosts several food truck enterprises turned brick and mortar cafes. Rancho Bravo Tacos – which started within a trailer in a north Seattle neighbourhood – took over a former fast food chain, and Skillet, which launched in a roving truck, has quickly become the hip breakfast spot in this trendiest of locales.
Several other surprises have arrived recently. Cascina Spinasse proffers the city’s finest house made pastas for all to see in the open kitchen. The Menu Degustazione, (a tasting menu served family-style) blows people away, though it may prove challenging to stand at dinner’s end, let alone walk back down Pine.
When the sun sets, the Pike-Pine Corridor fills with revellers to create Seattle’s primary nocturnal environment. But day or evening, weekday or weekend, you can still hoof it up the hill for a leisurely food crawl across the city’s coolest hood.
Header image: Pike Place Market © Thinkstock/Stockbyte/Jupiterimages
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Have you explored Seattle’s Pike-Pine Corridor? Where would you recommend visiting in the district? Let us know in the comments section below.
Written by Crai Bower