Sweet Streets: Westlake Avenue North, South Lake Union

Between Mercer and Thomas streets, lies Seattle's new pearl.

By Seattle Mag February 4, 2011


This article originally appeared in the March 2011 issue of Seattle Magazine.

PEOPLE WHO LIVE HERE: Tech-savvy, young professionals

Once mostly an area passed by commuters heading to I-5, South Lake Union now boasts some of the city’s most booming blocks of shops, restaurants and urban residences. Philanthropist/entrepreneur Paul Allen, the CEO of Vulcan Inc., has made the area his own Monopoly board, with developments including the massive 2200 Westlake complex, home to a mega Whole Foods grocery and the Pan Pacific Hotel in the Denny Triangle (other Triangle residents include upscale furnishers such as Inform Interiors and a new Ligne Roset showroom); a flush of flashy residences and the shiny new mixed-used Westlake-Terry Building, which claims, among other tenants, the popular Belltown expatriate restaurant Flying Fish. As Amazon’s massive 11-building headquarters, another Allen project, continues to take shape over six blocks (mostly along Terry Avenue N between Mercer and John streets), diverse retail is likely to proliferate. Already within easy walking distance or a quick ride on the South Lake Union streetcar from downtown, the area offers such retail pickings as a third-century Asian antique and a this-century electric-powered roadster. A few blocks east, a smaller hive is buzzing on Yale Avenue N around the REI flagship store and the Alley 24 residential/retail complex. It’s only a matter of time before the two come together in what some see as Seattle’s version of Portland’s Pearl District.

1. Uptown Espresso

A lofty, laptop-friendly latte auditorium where the window walls slide open durng the warmer months. Try the Caffe Genera (mocha with orange zest). 500 Westlake Ave. N; 206.621.2045; uptownesspresso.net

2. Antique Liquidators
Three floors overflow with appealing, affordable antiques and vintage goods at this longtime family-owned emporium. 503 Westlake Ave. N; 206.623.2740; antiqueliquidators.com
3. Tesla Motors
Business is brisk for these sporty electric autos—even at $100,000 per. 435 Westlake Ave. N; 206.682.2625; teslamotors.com

4. Blue Moon Burgers
Try the Blue Shroom burger with waffle fries and a Ruby ale. 920 Republican St., 206.652.0400; bluemoonburgers.com

re:public slu seattle5. Re:public
(pictured left) Enjoy chic industrial vibe and inventive entrées, sandwiches (the Kobe beef bacon bleu burger!) and desserts. 429 Westlake Ave. N; 206.467.5300; republicseattle.com

6. Custom Smoothie
For all manner of low-calorie, energy-boosting smoothies, this locally owned (by twin sisters) shop encourages you to drink to your health. 428 Westlake Ave. N; 206.382.5522; customsmoothie.com

7. Honeychurch Antiques
A no-fail spot for quality Asian art and antiquities, say, a third-century Han Dynasty earthenware statue ($1,800), in an elegant setting that could double as a movie set. 411 Westlake Ave. N; 206.622.1225; honeychurch.com

8. Pande Cameron

Eastern rugs, and expert cleaning and restoration services. 333 Westlake Ave. N; 206.624.6263; pande-cameron.com

9. Portage Bay Cafe & Catering
Organic breakfast and brunch nirvana featuring veggie, vegan and gluten-free options in a spacious, clean and inviting setting. 391 Terry Ave. N; 206.462.6400; portagebaycafe.com

10. Flying Fish
Former Belltown icon with a mod, roomier new space and a bigger menu. 300 Westlake Ave. N; 206.728.8595; flyingfishseattle.com

11. On the Fly
Flying Fish’s on-the-go iteration features gourmet lunches (including a spectacular egg salad sandwich) and wine to go. 950 Thomas St.; 206.724.0577; ontheflytogo.com

New to the ’hood: This spring, Tom Douglas opens three new restaurants in the historic Terry Avenue Building (part of Amazon’s new campus) between Thomas and Harrison streets. Soul Wine (corner of Westlake Avenue N and Harrison Street) is a new wine shop and bar from Michael Teer, owner of the well-loved Pike and Western Wine Shop in the Pike Place Market.

With a side of…

Yale Avenue N.
A few blocks east of Westlake Avenue is another appealing stretch with an eclectic mix.

1. Lunchbox Laboratory
Recently relocated from Ballard, Scott Simpson’s dining spot still serves gourmet burgers that sometimes defy description. 1253 Thomas St.; 206.621.1090; lunchboxlaboratory.com

2. Tottini
Your search-is-over source for modern, chic baby-shower gifts. 259 Yale Ave. N; 206.254.0400; tottini.com

3. Snowboard Connection
Affordable snow-, skate- and surfboards and gear (including rentals and tune-ups). 263 Yale Ave. N; 206.467.8545; snowboardconnection.com

4. Velocity Art & Design
Beyond-hip home works, from Blik movable wall decals (starting at $35) to Blu Dot rockers ($849). 251 Yale Ave. N; 206.749.9575; velocityartanddesign.com

5. Hipcooks
Affordable cooking classes (all $65) in an array of cuisines. 217 Yale Ave. N; 206.467.1196; seattle.hipcooks.com

Mountain bike testing REI trail seattle6. REI
The mecca for all things outdoorsy. We adore the outdoor mountain-bike-trail test path. 222 Yale Ave. N; 206.223.1944; rei.com/Seattle


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