One of the things I dearly loved about living on Capitol Hill when I first moved to Seattle was being able to run all my errands on foot, from doctor visits to grocery shopping, with a pick of the city's finest coffee shops, bistros, and boutiques to encounter on the way. Breakfast joints were a supreme delight--some of them were on the fringes like Coastal Kitchen and Hi Spot, but others like Table 219 (now Americana), Glo's, and B&O Espresso were so centrally located it was practically a crime to make breakfast at home--especially at Crave, owned and run by Robin Leventhal of Top Chef 2009, Stopsky's Deli, and now of Local 360.
In a little nook of the Capitol Hill Arts Center (now Velocity Dance Center), 8 or so tables formed an l-shape around a small kitchen and coffee bar. In its small confines, the aroma of sweet breakfast breads, waffles, and rich coffee (Caffe Umbria) were too hard to pass up even though it was regular to wait over an hour, sometimes longer, to be seated. Crave served all meal periods, but I preferred breakfast there the best--if you got one of the few two-tops by the window, the morning sun was toasty warm and as comforting as the food. Plus the people watching in Capitol Hill on a Sunday morning, with an unobstructed view and a piping hot latte, was epic.
Leventhal's menu was hearty and inventive--the kind the chef admits Skillet Diner has taken to the cleaners. Home cooking served up in ample portions with regional ingredients. Fat, fluffy omlettes with Gruyere and shiitakes. Thick slices of rustic toast (Macrina, if I remember right). Apple pancakes and orange butter and fresh, local jam.
I live in White Center and we have an up-and-coming hot spot of our own--the fabulous Meander's Kitchen--but the morning stroll to breakfast just isn't the same. The food is fabulous, the staff is great, but the view is a little lacking--I've traded hungover transsexuals for loitering hobos--and sometimes I miss the days of the early aughts when I was just getting to know the city and Crave felt like my own personal discovery.