The Neighbor Lady preparing to open her doors in late April

Delayed by issues with a commercial kitchen hood contractor, 23rd and Union’s The Neighbor Lady is now looking to open later this month.

The bar, inspired by several European bars co-owner Stephan Mollmann frequented during his time living abroad, will serve mostly vegetarian fare. Mollmann and business partner Shira Bray have had the idea for The Neighbor Lady for a while, so they jumped at the opportunity when the decades-old Thompson’s Point of View closed in September.

Thompson’s had served northern Louisiana-style food in the space since 1986. However, the final years of the business were trying. Carl Thompson, Jr died unexpectedly in the spring of 2010 at the age of 51, and by the fall of 2011, the business had racked up about $14,000 in back taxes.

Renovations to the space have been fairly extensive. Decades of previous renovations to the space had left floor sections at different heights, and the kitchen needed an upgrade. Mollmann and crew laid a new concrete floor, expanded the bar, and renovated the kitchen, bathrooms and dining area. They also walled-in a space that had been a gated entryway and turned it into a game room. A pool table is on the way.

Though the bar was originally planning on a late March open, work on the kitchen hood has been delayed due to an issue with the contractor, Mollmann said. Since such mechanical work requires permits — and the work needs to be done before the health inspection, etc — the bar will not likely open earlier than April 20.

The Neighbor Lady opening is part of a new wave of businesses at the troubled corner. Mediterranean Mix has been renovating the former Philly’s Cheese Steak space, which had most recently been the Beehive Bakery. Offering a wide menu from falafel to pizza, Med Mix plans to open around the same time at the Neighbor Lady.

The storied corner, traditionally the heart of the neighborhood, has had trouble drawing activity in recent years. For a few months in late 2010, there were almost no operating businesses on the corner lots. Even the gas station closed for a spell, and the SPD drop-in center on the southeast corner was set on fire by arsonists. A planned development on the southwest corner remains stalled.

24 thoughts on “The Neighbor Lady preparing to open her doors in late April

  1. Yummy. More vegetarian fare. Delightful. Can I have some beans next to my hipster?

  2. They’ve done a spectacular job renovating the bldg. It looks great, better than I’ve ever seen it, and I can hardly wait to try the food. At last I think this intersection will show signs of productive life again.

  3. We should all chip in to see that sub-contractor – he has delayed the opening of a great bar! Hoping the old lady is serving Boundary Bay Scotch Ale. Micros at the old lady followed up by a Falafel at Med Mix! Yes!

  4. We moved to 25th & E Union, just two blocks down, a few years ago, and having spent most of my life in a bustling downtown, I’ve been feeling isolated and suburban (as much as one could feel suburban) and generally bummed about our house purchase. With The Neighbor Lady’s opening, and even Med Mix, I’m definitely bubbling with spirit and am hoping the Lady will act as the tipping point for growth in the immediate area.

    I am conscious of the gentrification that’s impact the area, and yet I don’t know how to address it. I’m concerned about Mueller’s development being a planned market rent development instead of affordable housing; I’d like to see someone like Capitol Hill Housing or Bellwether develop this corner.

  5. I can’t wait for these to open up, yay for new businesses and new life coming into the neighborhood. Gentrification is better for everyone, it raises the property values of people who were already here and makes the city a more livable place.

    Personally I think the they should put the affordable housing elsewhere the CD has enough, and enough of the problems that come with it. There are 3 large affordable housing projects being built on 20th/Yesler/Jefferson. I think Ravenna could use some “affordable housing complexes” but that would be moving the problem out of the designated containment zone. It is OK for you to move into the neighborhood, but others are “gentrifying.” Nice guilt complex.

  6. The CD has enough low income housing and the gentrification word just fires up devision. Why not De-Gentrify Wallingford or Lauralhurst by putting low income housing there? Without market rate we will not have people with expendable income to support the resutrants, shops and bars needed here, and that we all want to see more of. No one wants to open a store or resturant in an area filled with people who can not affored to shop or eat out.

  7. Ted Green at DKG Fabrication up north will rip you off. The only thing he fabricates is lies.

  8. I’ve lived in this area 30 years and have seen alot of changes at this corner. This isn’t gentrification, it’s a gradual urbanization of the area, look at capital hill and all that’s happening. I was sad to see Point of View go, they tried hard to make it work, but these two business will be a great improvement.

  9. ….whenever a new business comes to the neighborhood? If it were not a hipster bar, would it be “ok” and assauge your guilt?

    As walks stated, this isn’t gentrification; it’s capitalism. One business replacing another, and we should all rejoice that the defunk business isn’t sitting idle.

    i’m struggling with the idea that folks move to the neighborhood and find it suburban, then get weak in the knees about businesses moving in. what did you want? how is the current state of the CD “suburban”? I’m guessing that a suburb tour might be in order cause nothing in our area screams suburbs to me.

  10. There is a isolated suburban feel here. We are so close to downtown and Capitol hill but we are like cul de sac land on the east side because we lack the rich dense urban fabric of stores, resturants and other retail amenities like other Seattle neighborhoods with the exception of a few scattered places and a dismal Promanade 23 that look like a suburban strip mall. Alot of us have to walk a long distance or drive to go anyware, our bus service is a joke.
    just sayin….

  11. Can’t wait to see some more life breathed into this sad, fizzled corner!

    As to the “g-word” discussion that’s erupted in this thread: I’m opening a hair salon down the street, and have had several neighborhood residents of all races and incomes stop by to welcome me. People are just happy to see some new light, activities and pedestrians on what has become a rather drab strip of Union, even if it’s not a business they plan to patronize.

    Let’s keep encouraging small, local, community-oriented businesses in the area. It will probably never again equal the thriving scene it was back in the 1940’s, but we can at least keep it non-suburban feeling, keep it culturally diverse, and keep it safe. Looking forward to having the Neighbor Lady as a neighbor.

  12. “our bus service is a joke” – compared to a lot of other neighborhoods I’ve lived in our 15-minute headways on multiple routes are pretty darn good. Admittedly there are changes we could make (if some of us would get over our one-seat ride fetish) that would make it even better, but “is a joke” is frankly a joke of a comment.

  13. Both of these places are a welcome burst of new energy on the corner. They are moving into spaces that had been vacated by the previous businesses for various reasons. This is natural evolution. It would only be the loaded word of gentrification if the previous businesses had somehow been forced out against their will. Embrace the positive changes in our neighborhood as they make things better for everyone. No one wants to live in a boarded up stagnant area with no prospects. The empty lot where the Mueller building is supposed to go is currently a sink-hole for positive energy. These new places show that there still is life in the neighborhood. There is actually very little commercial space available in the CD. Try to think about how the neighborhood could be even better with more places like these opening up. The old Sam’s Super Burger spot should be next.

  14. so true.

    btw, is sam’s super burger the spot on 25th and union? cc’s burgers at some time, too??

  15. Right on! Have felt so sad to see the Sam’s building lately – I hope someone snaps it up soon.

  16. that’s my dream bar… does anyone know what it’s zoned for? or if someone’s hanging on to it? is it even for sale?

  17. eric, are you next to cortona? are you open? the wife’s been trying to stop in and catch you for a bang trim.

  18. Well Guest if you ever tried to catch a bus to downtown or have access to commerical centers from the CD your post would not be the “joke” it is. But your a guest, right, you do not really live here right Guest? Just another troll.

  19. Many people have inquired about the old Sams building. Nobody ever seems to be able to find the owner and the city hasnt been able to help.

  20. If I recall correctly, the deceased owner of Philly’s was going to move his business to that building, but he was shot to death a couple of days before the transition. There must be city and county records of some sort. Does anyone know the official address?

  21. King County parcel viewer web site shows owner of 2600 E. Union St. as David S. Pang and the appraised value as $120,900 for the land and $1,000 for the building (for 2012). There is a David S. Pang in Bellevue.