Anything but Wallbangers at Easy Joe's

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Be sure to ask Nancy about "Pajama Jeans."
The Watering Hole: Easy Joe's, 2359 10th Ave. E., CAPITOL HILL

The Atmosphere: Easy Joe's opened in early November as a '70s-style neighborhood diner serving Capitol Hill's quieter end. Children of the '70s will appreciate the decor--retro colors and fixtures embellished with school pictures of the owners and a giant wall-mounted swordfish. Or maybe it's a marlin. Or a sailfish? Anyway, you know, those fish people used to hang on their walls a lot in the '70s. There's a great story behind how it came to be where it is, so be sure to ask.

Easy Joe's is fancier than your average diner, with plenty of space and seating for families, as well as a comfortable bar area. Wall mounted TVs ensure a view of the current sports action, and an impressive menu boasts creative takes on comfy favorites for all. Favorites include the sloppy joe, dungeness-crab hush puppies, and pretty much everything on the 9 a.m.-2 p.m. weekend brunch menu.

The Barkeep: Nancy has worked with restaurateur Derek Gaston Schaubroeck, one of the owners, for over 10 years, including stints at the former Easy Joe's in North Bend and Nicolino in Issaquah. Asked what she loves most about working at Easy Joe's, Nancy quickly answers "the food." She points out that a lot of TLC goes into it--from homemade soups, breads, buns, and pickles to hand-ground meats--and she eats at Easy Joe's every day that she's working.

The Drink: Easy Joe's has a full bar, and its '70s theme pulls strongly through the menu of specialty drinks, which includes classics like the Sloe Gin Fizz, Tom Collins, Singapore Sling, and Harvey Wallbanger. Since the oft-repeated story of my conception involves a dark and stormy ]70s night, the back seat of a VW bug, and a thermos of Harvey Wallbangers, I was relieved when Nancy suggested a drink that did not bring up dreaded visions of my parents getting it on--the Singapore Sling ($8).

The Verdict: Take this with a grain of salt, because I am not particularly sweet on sugary drinks or gin, but a Singapore Sling tasted like a maraschino cherry marinated to a pucker in gin, then injected with a few packs of Splenda. This writer's experience with sweet drinks goes as far as a Shirley Temple, and basically this was an alcoholic one, including gin, sloe gin, cherry brandy, sour mix, and soda. Thanks to Nancy's skills and hospitality, we were able to stay for more than one drink and enjoy some other tasty options, as well as great company, in a space with a vibe perfectly suited for this child born of the 70s (and Harvey Wallbangers).

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