Neighborhood Beat: Ravenna/U Village

One of the hidden gems of Seattle stretches from 26th Avenue Northeast to 30th Avenue Northeast, along NE 55th Street.  Cozy shops and eateries bracket Ravenna Volvo, an institution since the mid-20th century, but the charming block between 26th and 27th Ave NE features a vintage brick mixed-use building, containing shops worth journeying to.

At the 26th Avenue NE end of the block, Mannings and Sons Upholstery, has been assisting designers and the public create custom furniture and update tired but classic pieces for over 40 years.

Next door, Lauren Sloan of Lauren Sloan Designscan usually be found applying the finishing touches to one or another of her exquisite painted furniture designs or designing a fabulous trompe l'oeil  mural.  She also has some accessories in her small retail area and is warm and welcoming.

To Sloan's east, a new restaurant, Frank's Oyster House and Champagne Parlor, opened in 2009 and is owned by the same people who brought you Pair up the street.  Frank's serves gourmet comfort food like onion rings, french fries, individual Dungeness Crab Louie in shells of Bibb lettuce - you get the idea.  The drinks are great and the food delicious!

Standing at the corner of 27th Ave NE and NE 55th St is Altstadt Interiors, owned by Seattle interior designer, Tana Mattson.  Altstadt Interiors is half consignment shop, half interior design resource and lots of fun to explore.  There's almost always at least one of Ms. Mattson's three dogs in the shop waiting to greet visitors, tail wagging enthusiastically.  This store is a great place to find unique and well-priced gifts, furniture and lighting - as well as interior design help.  Check it out!