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November 18, 2008

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Bridgette Tuttle

Janis, you have done a great job keeping us informed about all of the Kirkland happenings! Let's get a cupcake sometime! LOL!!

Rick Takagi

I went for a walk downtown the other night looking for some good photos to shoot, which is typically great this time of year. I couldn't help but feel like Kirkland had lost much of it's charm. Empty storefronts and minimal holiday decorations are going to make this a long holiday season for the downtown visitor and merchant. I really hope the new businesses can pull through this slow time and prosper.

Ryan

Being a relatively long time resident (11+ years) of Kirkland I've seen its ups and downs over the last decade. I agree we seem to be losing some of the charm as the newer, taller buildings remove some of the character that makes Kirkland so unique compared to any other town around. This character and charm is something few towns can replicate, but many can build a brand new town.

My wife and I noticed a huge increase in the available shop space over the last few years and get a little frustrated with seeing yet one more spa or nail salon open.

So we started brainstorming the other night on what we thought Kirkland was missing. Here are some ideas:

* Great pub with quality food and great beers. Something on par quality wise with 74th Street Ale House (Greenlake) or Hilltop Ale House (Queen Anne). Something a step up from Wilde Rover. Hey, I think Kirkland could support two pubs, particularly if one had great food ;)

* Really great stationary, journal, care shop, gifts. Not another Hallmark trinket store but a real Artisan, specialty, and high end. Hopefully supporting some local artists and craftsmen.

* We have enough bike shops, how about a store that is geared to runners or some other outdoor passion(s). Something like Super Jock N' Jill (Greenlake).

* Great pizza! We love Zeek's, but even more so love a more traditional Napoli style pie like Tutta Bella or Via Tribunalli. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, will one of these two local companies open a great Napoli style pizzeria!

* Several lounge and really hip nightclubs that cater to a demographic that brings more professional 24-45 aged people to Kirkland. The new VoVina martini bar is an excellent addition! Give Kirkland a kick of vibrancy after hours. We were sitting in the lobby of Heathman Hotel and several people staying there were looking for things to do, music, etc. but the concierge really couldn't give them any good suggestions. Sad. Make Kirkland a DESTINATION for all of Seattle area with a really high end nightclub that charged cover or membership fee. Or a mixed bar/art hang out like the former McLeod Residence in Belltwon. Have a dresscode. Make it VIP. Do something different.

* Great optical shop. Think Market Optical. This would be a great addition in downtown, and might get tons of business with the Merrill Gardens going in (heck, they probably have space available IN that building complex).

* Great chocolate shop where strollers could drop in and get a few great things. My wife would go almost every day even in the winter and buy at least a few truffles, chocolate dipped fruit, hot cocoa, etc. Think Fran's or Theo's Chocolates opening a location in Kirkland.

* Florist/flower shop. We used to have one on Lake Street, but it closed. Maybe this isn't as profitable as I would think. Why not combine and make a high-end stationary/gifts shop (see above) with florist which might bring in enough business to be sustainable.

* Crepe stand w/ a to-go window. Keep open late night, after dinner! Let strollers stop by for a crepe to go. Breckenridge had a great one that operated all year round, they had a small fire pit out front with chairs where people could huddle around and keep warm. Many people love chocolate or other dessert crepes at night. During the day serve those and maybe healthy crepes filled with chicken, tuna, vegetables, etc. Be creative.

These are the kinds of places the build a great neighborhood, encourage more types of people to be out and about, and bring a sense of local community where I can spend more of my $$$$ in Kirkland rather than going to other towns.

Yes, it is slow economic times and right now may not be the best time to open some of the above, but many would work in both slow and booming economies. I still spend money, I'm just a bit more selective. I'd like to spend more of my money in Kirkland!

I also hope one day the art galleries return to Kirkland as well, it has been sad to see one by one some great galleries disappear.

Rick Takagi

I agree with you Ryan. I have a little different perspective though. I have 3 kids and there are few reasons besides the waterfront itself to take the kids downtown. I have heard people say that a "family" oriented place wouldn't do well but I have to disagree. I think there are plenty of families in the immediate area that would love to have a reason to bring the kids down there. I was recently at U village and amazed how many families were there. A small area with a fountain like Redmond town center or U village would even be fun.

Sarah

I am excited to hear about the new businesses coming to Kirkland...sad to see the old ones go! Love the suggestions for new ones too (especially the crepe stand, YUM) Great ideas Ryan!
Let's all remember to support the existing local businesses as much as we can this holiday season! LIBERTY 123 is one of my favorite spots for hostess gifts, Simplicity Decor has great unique finds and what dinner would be complete without a little treat from Hoffman's Bakery? Of course, it's always fun to fuel up at Cactus or Purple along the way ;)
Hopefully if we all can make an effort to shop in downtown Kirkland, the businesses we love will stick around and the new ones will find a lasting new home!

Barbie

I think we all could have pulled together to collect the lights for downtown Kirkland. I wish we would have known about it earlier. I'm sure I could rally a lighting fundraiser if that is what we needed to do! It's not too late if we act fast! Anyone in?

Martini

Does anyone know if Vovina martini bar has opened yet?

Sheila

I walked by the Vovina location on the 2nd and it looked like it would be a while still...

Ryan

Adding to my suggestions for Kirkland businesses is:

* Opening a really great "local style" burger joint like Red Mill Burgers that offers quality burgers and a fun, outside atmosphere. Red Mill in Greenlake is always packed when I drive by, regardless of the time.

* Late night hangout for adults with live music like a jazz club, piano bar, or something relaxing that you can meet up with friends (as compared to a night club).

Ryan

Btw, we are extremely excited about the addition of Aqua Verde along the waterfront. This is a great addition to Kirkland! My wife and I plan on being regulars there.

Ryan

So more recommendations:

* Cheesemonger w/ speciality and artisinal cheeses. Near Grape Choice would be great so could get some cheese to go and have it with wine on Grape Choice's patio.

* Delicatessan in the traditional NY style with lots of great meats, garnishes, snacks, etc. Paired with the cheesemonger or a small restaurant and this might work. Think also Rose's on Orcas Island.

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Blogs are so informative where we get lots of information on any topic. Nice job keep it up!!

Rachel

I noticed that Coyote Creek Pizza was closed today and the place is empty inside.. (next to Wingdome)...?
I wonder what happened?
Rachel.

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I think there are plenty of families in the immediate area that would love to have a reason to bring the kids down there. I was recently there and I stayed impressed how many families were there.

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I walked by the Vovina location on the 2nd and it looked like it would be a while still...

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