Canlis brothers climb on top of the Space Needle to advertise chef Jason Franey

Canlis’s Chef Jason Franey won a nomination for The People’s Best New Chef earlier this month, prompting owners Brian and Mark Canlis to run a Facebook campaign in his honor.

With black and white photos of the two in Seattle’s notable spots, the restaurateurs hope to get enough votes to win Franey the Northwest and the country in Food & Wine Magazine’s new competition.

“We just thought, ‘how can we be creative here and get people to vote,’” said Mark Canlis. “It’s been a riot; it’s just been a lot of fun.”

There are a total of 14 photographs that will be released each day until voting ends March 1. One of the early shoots had the brothers on the top of the Space Needle in a harness braving cold temperatures and high winds.

“We were so high off adrenaline coming off the space needle in 50 mph winds,” said Canlis. “There were some nerves involved.”

The competition is year one of a joint effort from CNN food blog Eatocracy and Food & Wine Magazine, which nominates 10 chefs from 10 regions of the country and lets people vote for their favorite. The most votes in a region make a chef a finalist, of which there will be 10 in all, but the most votes in the country wins the title.

“We want people to vote for us because they believe in us, because we’re doing something creative,” said Canlis. “Because they respect who we are as a company and love that we’re trying to raise the bar of fine dining in the city, love that we’re trying to make this a food town, a food destination.”

The campaign, while garnering some media attention, is running solely on their Facebook page.

“It’s not so much an ad campaign as doing something fun with the city and social media,” Canlis said.

Adding a playful dimension to the Facebook campaign, Morse Code was inserted into the photographs that led to a secret website. The first 10 to the website (which took about six days) were given reservations and a free dinner at Canlis’s pop-up restaurant Hearth & Home held inside Macrina Bakery Queen Anne last weekend.

Their use of retro photographs with 21st century media herald the next generation of Canlis’s operation. Brian and Mark Canlis have been running the restaurant for five years now, and Chef Franey, the restaurant’s fifth chef in 60 years, has been at Canlis for a little over two years.

“I’m 36 and I’m the oldest person on my management team, it’s a young crew,” Canlis said. “We just thought to ourselves, ‘hey, we’re up for this award, how do we let people know it’s not your grandfather’s Canlis anymore.’”

Alongside Franey, another Queen Anne chef, Shaun McCrain of Book Bindery, is also up for the award.

Weekend crime report: burglaries and car prowls

Is crime on the rise in Queen Anne? According to SPD’s crime statistics, no, but some Queen Anne residents have been noticing a trend – in crimes and in repeat targets. Stacey writes:

I live on 1st Ave W and Denny Ave (Lower Queen Anne) and was wondering if you guys are hearing of an increase in robberies. Our building alone has been hit 3 times this week, from mail boxes being pried open, to cars being vandalized and storage bins robbed, and then last night all the open unit lock boxers were stolen, which contain entry keys. They think all in all it’s been around 2-3 people over the past week, seemingly with full building access. I’m curious to know if other buildings are having the same problems…

Another reader, Brandon, wrote in with a different kind of crime to report, one not uncommon to residents on the hill. He writes:

My neighbor had his car broken into Thursday/Friday between 11pm and  10am. There weren’t any signs of forced entry, though, which was  surprising to both of us. In addition to his stereo face plate being  stolen, every shred of paper including his garbage bag and his car’s
manual was taken. Sounds like the beginnings of an identity theft. This happened near W Emerson St. & 12th.

Have you noticed an uptick in crime in Queen Anne lately?

Suspect in murder of Safeway employee arrested

On Saturday, February 26 Seattle Police Department homicide detectives arrested a suspect in the murder of Upper Queen Anne Safeway employee Michelle Thornton, according to the SPD Blotter.

Thornton, 43, was found dead in a closet in her Belltown apartment on January 6, after being reported missing by her father. Concern over Thornton’s whereabouts arose after several friends were unable to reach her on New Years Eve, when she had planned to host a party.

According to a report by The Seattle Times, the suspect is a 40-year-old man. He was arrested in Seattle on Saturday morning with the assistance of the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force, and has been booked for investigation of murder.

Sign in begins at Queen Anne Community Center

Starting today Seattle Parks and Recreation is asking patrons of all city community centers, including Queen Anne, to sign in before using the facilities or attending a meeting or activity on site. On the sign in form people will be asked to indicate their age group and time of arrival. From Parks and Rec:

The pilot project, which will last two weeks, will help Parks staff respond to a City Council directive to reconsider how community centers are operated. After two weeks Parks will evaluate the information and decide whether to extend it for 10 more weeks. The process, which includes public meetings to discuss with the community ideas for how centers can be run differently, began with a public meeting on February 2.

The directive comes in the context of the budget: the cost to run the 26 centers far exceeds revenue brought in from center programs. Because of the current difficult budget situation, Parks is exploring alternatives that would offer continued services for the public, while reducing costs, including new methods of management, staffing, fundraising, and partnerships. Learning the average age groups, frequency of visits, and numbers of people visiting community centers each day will help this work.

Memorials sprout up along Aurora Bridge’s new suicide-prevention fence

The newly completed Aurora Bridge suicide-prevention fence attracted memorials over the last week. Two memorials can be spotted on the western side of the Queen Anne half of the bridge.

One memorial contains a large note to two victims, big enough to be seen from passing cars on the road:

The $4.6 million suicide-prevention fence was completed Feb. 15. It is the latest and most ambitious attempt to respond to the problem of suicide jumpers from the bridge with the country’s second highest suicide rate.

Another mixed-use building planned for QA

Another mixed-use residential/retail building is in the planning stages for Lower Queen Anne, at 101 John Street. The proposed six-story development would include 25 residential unites and ground level retail/commercial space.

The development is adjacent to the Fiona Apartments, located on the same site. The site, at the corner of John Street and 1st Ave N, is currently the home of Rice ‘n Spice Thai and another building, both of which would be torn down to make way for the project.

The Department of Planning and Development has scheduled an early design guidance meeting on the plan for 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 16 at the Queen Anne Community Center (1901 1st Ave W, Room 3). From DPD:

The applicants have applied for Design Review related to development of this site.  At the early design guidance meeting, the applicants will present information about the site and vicinity.  The public may offer comments regarding the design and siting of a development on the subject site; and the Design Review Board members will also offer comments and identify those Citywide Design Guidelines of highest priority in developing the site.

For more information regarding this project application and the design review process, contact land use planner Lisa Rutzick at (206) 386-9049.