Located near the corner of 23rd Avenue and East Union Street, Squirrel Chops inhabits one of the street-level business spaces in a newer mixed-use building. Follow the overhead woodcut sign with the squirrel drinking coffee inside for a fresh drink or a fresh haircut. The interior is painted in black and interspersed with natural wood slab and steel surfaces, with unshielded warm bulbs throughout. The music inside varies according to who’s working: country, cool Latin grooves, strong female singers, more.
Sharon Blyth-Moss and Shirley Henderson, joined in life and in business, run the shop together. They started this to combine their love of coffee and hair with a sense of community. Sharon, who was acknowledged as “Best British Hairstylist” by Seattle Metropolitan magazine in 2009, currently handles all hair styling, although this may change in the future with a salon reorganization to allow for more hair stylists (potentially with barista skills). The hours Squirrel Chops is open may be extending in the future as well, most likely when the new building construction across the street is completed.
Their cuts & cafe clientele are extremely varied, according to Sharon, including long-term salon clients, “a lot of strong females”, construction workers, LGBTQ peers, and the “wonderful daily regular” who live across the street in the tiny home encampment. People in the surrounding neighborhood, frustrated with worsening traffic in Seattle, seem now to more frequently seek out places nearby, such as this one.
Over the past year, part of their dream has been realized, as Squirrel Chops has become a community hub. On a daily basis, people form new friendships through conversations, pass around the NY Times crossword puzzle to contribute a word, discuss politics, or find a table to work on their novel or studies. Blyth-Moss and Henderson recently held a poster-making party here for those who planned to participate in January’s Women’s March. They offered $1 drip coffee for those who marched on Martin Luther King Day. In March, they’re hosting a book release party for one of their regulars who wrote part of her book on the premises. Shirley once contributed her own banjo for an impromptu music jam! Stuff happens here.
Squirrel Chops offers pastries, fine coffee or tea, different toasties (British/Australian hot sandwich pockets), tacos, wine, beer, sake, Bloody Marys and Mimosas. And haircuts. And good conversation.