It’s late in June and yet it’s cold and pouring rain all day long. This is more like February weather than what a lot of the country thinks of as mid Summer. But here in Seattle the saying is, “Summer doesn’t start until after the 4th of July. But then that’s just a week away and there’s no sign of endless warm days in sight.
Maybe that’s why the cafe culture has taken hold so strongly in Seattle. I am here on Capitol Hill at Top Pot Doughnuts, and in here it is warm and dry, there is fabulous coffee, music, and some of the best doughnuts around. This is a truly wonderful place to be on a rainy day. Top Pot Doughnuts at Summit Ave. E. and Mercer Street is in it’s own little mini neighborhood nestled under giant trees that add a coziness that would be hard to match anywhere. This is a very dense residential neighborhood but there are big trees and gardens all around, and Top Pot is a wonderful collecting point for the folks who live around here. I am happy to say that I am one of them.
Top Pot’s neighbors include Spike Mafford Photography, Sun Liquors, Toscana Pizza, The Summit Tavern, Cairo ( an arts shop), Indian Summer (second hand shop), and a little corner market called Summit Foods. There is outdoor seating for Top Pot and the two drinking establishments which make this little set of shops among the most inviting places in the city.
Top Pot Doughnuts now has 3 locations, but this is where it began 10 years ago. They have a much larger location in downtown Seattle and another one out in the burbs somewhere (Wedgewood). Originally they used to make their doughnuts here in this small shop, but have since moved that to the downtown store. They also roast their own coffee beans downtown. But I think this Capitol Hill location is where it’s heart and soul still reside, even though the other two may be bigger and busier.
The walls are completely made up of bookshelves which are filled with old books. Nobody ever reads any of the books that I know of, but they sure do add to a comfortable atmosphere. Most of the time there is a sprinkling of people here chatting or sitting with their Apple laptops. On the weekends and earlier in the mornings there is a line out the door. The evenings are mellow and it’s a good place to sit and get some writing done. There is a huge awning out front that covers the whole sidewalk and several tables under it that make it a fabulous place to sit even when the weather isn’t the greatest.
This isn’t a place for tourists. Broadway, the “main street” of Capitol Hill is a few blocks away up a steep hill. This is a place for the people who live around here. It is a treasure for this neighborhood. And in some ways it, along with its neighboring shops, define what life is like here on Summit Ave. E.. And what a fine life it is.