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Originally published July 21, 2010 at 7:01 PM | Page modified July 21, 2010 at 9:01 PM

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Melrose Project just keeps on buzzing

Tan Vinh riffs on the Melrose Project, a buzzworthy cluster of shops and restaurants on the cusp of Seattle's Capitol Hill.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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The buzz around the Melrose Project is pretty impressive. It seemed to have started spring of last year and just kept on going and going. Foodies and bloggers can't stop talking about it. Or handicapping which big-name chef will move into this triangle block on Melrose Avenue East, flanked by Minor Avenue and Pine Street.

The Melrose Project consists of two historical buildings with high ceilings, exposed Douglas fir beams and brick walls, refurbished into a hipster, European-style market.

You can buy a chicken to roast from the butcher shop for a dinner party. Or walk a few steps to grab a Camembert cheese and some wine. Maybe pick up a dozen calla lilies at the floral shop to display on the coffee table for that party.

Or maybe you come for the communal dining table at Sitka & Spruce.

The hip chef at the moment, Matt Dillon, helped get this buzz started when he announced in spring 2009 that he would relocate his much loved Sitka & Spruce restaurant to help anchor Melrose Market. He's also opening a bar and wine shop there.

The Melrose Project is headed by some of the same investors behind the building occupied by Café Presse and Stumptown Coffee Roasters, and also the building housing La Spiga Osteria and other tenants, two projects that helped make 12th Avenue hip.

The Melrose Project is more ambitious. Another restaurant space is available here. It's for esteemed chef Tamara Murphy and her new restaurant, Terra Plata. Then the space wasn't for her anymore, and now it is again. (It's a long story.)

Here's a look at the Melrose Project.

Numbers correspond to map at right.

1. All located inside the Melrose Market, 1531 Melrose Ave., Seattle:

Rain Shadow Meats: One of the best food trends to hit Seattle in recent years: charcuterie. With pork terrine and confit duck gizzards. www.rainshadowmeats.com.

Sitka & Spruce, the big draw now at Melrose Market. www.sitkaandspruce.com.

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Marigold and Mint: Flowers out of its organic farm in Snoqualmie Valley. Edible flowers included. www.marigoldandmint.com.

bar ferd'nand: Also co-owned by chef Dillon. A full-service bar and wine shop, featuring local, organic and biodynamic wines, most sold for $10-$25. www.ferdinandthebar.com.

The Calf & Kid: Features gourmet cheese from Europe and also from local artisanal cheesemakers, including Gothberg Farms, which makes some underrated goat cheese in the Bow and Edison area, and Kurtwood Farms on Vashon Island. http://calfandkid.blogspot.com.

Homegrown Sustainable Sandwich Shop: Offers sidewalk seating with seven tables. Also serves beer. Will soon be open on Fridays and Saturdays until 3 a.m. — with a deep-fried marshmallow, bacon and peanut butter sandwich. www.eathomegrown.com.

2. Still Liquor, 1524 Minor Ave.: Located on the back of the market. Everyone thought it was a speakeasy-style bar. Turns out the guys never got around to putting up a sign until recently. www.stillliquor.com.

3. Sonic Boom Records, 1525

Melrose Ave.: Used record and CD store with a stage to host live music.

4. Velouria Boutique

& Gallery, 1521 Melrose Ave.: A boutique and gallery featuring local artists and designers. http://velouriaboutique.blogspot.com.

Tan Vinh: 206-515-5656 or tvinh@seattletimes.com

Follow him on Twitter @tanvinhseattle

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