Want to start your own restaurant realm on a popular Capitol Hill corner? Bar Cotto and Anchovies & Olives on 15th Avenue and Pine Street are being put up for sale by Ethan and Angela Stowell. Why are they selling? Their “focus has shifted to other concepts on Capitol Hill and across the city,” according to an announcement.
Expounding to Eater, Stowell says the two adjacent spaces—which have felt like two sides of one Italian coin as they even share a window—will have more to offer the community if picked up by a fresh owner. Stowell also noted that while they weren’t exactly his most profitable restaurants, he thought he could keep them operating if he saw fit.
Opened in 2009 (not long after Stowell was named one of Food & Wine's Best New Chefs in America), the seafood, pasta and wine-focused Anchovies & Olives was another restaurant in the Stowells’ Italian fleet, which already included the beloved How to Cook a Wolf. The slightly smaller Bar Cotto opened in 2013. If memory serves, it was the seventh Stowell spot and has a more intimate feel as a combination salumi bar and pizzeria, one which wouldn’t have been out of place in a countryside southern Italy town. Bar Cotto also had perhaps the best cocktails of any Ethan Stowell restaurant, favoring Italian ingredients like amaro before they were omnipresent and getting on the barrel-aged trend fairly early. Though it’s been a while, I still remember a drink called the Old Loathsome Bastard, with Old Overholt rye, Averna amaro, Italian liqueur Strega, Pür blood orange liqueur and peach bitters.
Now, you could take over the 2,800-square-foot space with your own ideas, keeping it as two spots or making one bigger place. Stowell has also said that he’s open to talking about the possibility if a potential buyer would like to keep those concepts the same when purchasing the space. Those serious should contact Travis Rosenthal at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
But fear not, fans of Stowell-style pizza. It’s not all bad news coming from the Stowell camp. The Seattle Times reports that the restaurant power couple plans to turn the old Sullivan Steakhouse space into Cortina, another pizza-and-pasta Italian joint. The new concept could debut early next year.
It’s been an interesting year for local restauranteurs, with recent closings and reimaginings from another edible empire builder, Josh Henderson of the Huxley Wallace Collective, too. The restaurant and bar biz is rarely steady, but with Seattle’s rapid growth—both in population and buildings—it feels especially shaky.
Still, Seattleites have a nearly inexhaustible appetite for tasty new restaurants and bars. Hopefully the space(s) at 1550 15th Avenue don’t end up shuttered.