Bento Sushi flagged by restaurant inspector

A story in The Stranger, which profiles “Seattle’s toughest restaurant inspector,” reports that Bento Sushi on 15th and 85th was temporarily shut down in March “for improper food storage, plumbing problems, and improperly sanitized prep areas for raw fish.”

The restaurant is back open now. The King County inspector, Bruce McClean, also forced the Azteca restaurant on Market St. earlier this month to throw out a refrigerator full of food because it was running a few degrees too warm.

The town home explosion

Take a quick drive around Ballard and you’ll see plenty of town homes for sale or under construction. These are going up on Market just east of 8th…

Same goes for most of Seattle’s neighborhoods. As of April 18, Windermere said there were 552 town homes for sale in Seattle, compared with 1,923 single-family houses, reports the Seattle Times. And in most cases, they look like they were designed from the same cookie cutter. So why don’t the designs better match the neighborhoods? One possible reason is “micropermitting,” which the Times describes as a “legal loophole” to avoid public review. If you’re just as confused as we are with neighborhood planning and how these decisions get made, Peggy Sturdivant is writing a series for Crosscut that delves into the politics and the mechanics. Fascinating stuff.

Adds Ballardeer in comments below: “I walked by some new town homes near Greenlake the other day that actually look like an architect was involved (photo here)… Proof that you can do high-density housing without the depressing lack of architecture. Sadly, a lot of what’s going up in Ballard these days looks pretty drab.”

Traffic accident on 15th and Market

My Ballard reader Silver was on the scene of a nasty traffic accident on 15th and Market this morning. “Dispatch said that the accident appeared to have been caused by a black pickup truck which had left the scene. He later returned and I believe he was taken to the hospital with injuries,” Silver reports. One other person (pictured below) was more seriously injured.

You can see more photos and video here.

Echoes of Sunset Bowl at Pizza Fusion

A new pizza place under construction at 12th and Madison on Capitol Hill will incorporate furniture from Sunset Bowl. Pizza Fusion will reuse dining chairs, tables and barstools purchased at the Sunset Bowl auction. It’s is an “environmentally friendly restaurant chain” that focuses on local, reusable materials, and it’s aiming to become the state’s first LEED certified restaurant. Pizza Fusion will also use flooring from Garfield High School and pews from First Church Seattle. “We were seeking a business that would provide an opportunity to do our part in the preservation of the Puget Sound region for future generations to enjoy in the years ahead,” said co-founder Kevin York.

‘Scandinavian Hour’ co-host Ron Olsen dies

Ron Olsen, 69, passed away following a traffic accident while visiting his brother in Norway. Since 1959, Olsen had been co-hosting “The Scandinavian Hour,” radio show. He was as Ballard as they come: “He attended Ballard High School, went to dances at Norway Hall and worshipped at the Lutheran Church,” reports the Seattle Times. Memorial services will be held May 12th from noon to 3 p.m. at the Nile Golf and Country Club in Mountlake Terrace. (Photo from KKNW-AM, which will be airing Olsen’s prerecorded shows on Saturdays through June.)

What’s that building next to Ray’s?

That’s what the Shilshole Blog asked some time ago about that new building under construction along the water next to Ray’s Boathouse, right at the entrance to the Locks. We looked up the land use filing.

It says it will be “a 10,544 sq. ft. marine, retail sales and service building including a caretaker unit” along with 36 parking spaces. One of the comments on the Shilshole blog claims that the caretaker unit is for the owner, who met the permit requirements for shoreline property with a marine-related business. Talk about a terrific location (from Google Maps)…

Bus ridership up, new route planned

King County Metro Transit today announced that bus ridership is up 6 percent for the first three months of this year, exceeding all expectations. “The ridership trends made Metro the fastest growing large bus system in the nation last year,” reads the press release. (Goes to show how badly we need a mass transit system.) Meanwhile, the Ballard News-Tribune reports that a new bus route is coming to Ballard and Fremont: route 46 will change during midday hours to service Golden Gardens all the way through to Stone Way in Fremont.