Red Mill Burgers eying old Totem House location

We heard the rumor over the weekend, so did the Seattle Times columnist Nancy Leson: Red Mill Burgers is eying the old Totem House location across from the Ballard Locks. Leson confirms that John Shepherd, the owner of Red Mill, and his sister/business partner, Babe, are indeed interested in the location.

“We want to save the Seattle icon,” Shepherd tells Leson. “We want to put in top-quality fish, sell halibut fish n’ chips, add five or six Red Mill signature burgers, Babe’s onion rings and restore all the totem poles and the whole building. It would be an awesome thing to do.”

So far the Shepherds have not heard from the current owner of the Totem House, which closed suddenly at the end of 2010. Red Mill Burgers currently has two other locations in Seattle. One on Phinney Ridge, one in Interbay.

You can read Leson’s entire article here. (Thanks @rainydaygal1 for the Tweet and SeattleRichardson for posting in the forum!)

37 comments on “Red Mill Burgers eying old Totem House location”

  1. Red Mill makes a decent enough burger, and I’m glad someone is taking over the property, but…

    (historic) Seattle icon? This building was a kitchy eyesore the moment it opened in 1939 to sell ‘native american artifacts’ I think this is a great opportunity to bulldoze it, rather than perpetuate our ethnocentricity.

    Let’s build something clean and modern, like some of the new attractive condominiums in Ballard.

  2. yay! RM does a good job and what’s more, they’re local and a destination, so they’ll do well in the spot, and I’m glad they’re moving into fish n’ chips and keeping the look/feel of the building. It’s groovy.

  3. “I’m Dutch therefore I’m offended” Ha! nice! Keep it as is please and keep rolling

  4. this would be great, so long as they don’t jack the pricing because of its “tourist” location.

  5. forget ray’s and anthony’s! it could be the new prom destination!!!!! this is (hopefully) exciting.

  6. Ahh, yes. Just slap some corrugated metal on the side and add some signs that say ridiculous things like, “I’m cool, you’re cool, let’s eat here together.” Then voila! The west end of Ballard suffers a fate similar to the rest of it. If you really think the condos in Ballard are attractive, please move back to Belltown (or Bellevue) and take those awful structures with you.

  7. That would be so awsome! I would really hate to see some moron devolper buy it and tear it down to build yet another condos with retail, bland boring box type structure that is ruining our city.

  8. There are already many great burger places in Ballard. Do we really need a lackluster burger moving in? Granted we did lose Lunchbox Laboratory, but Red Mill is just a plain ol’, boring ol’ burger, nothing special about it.

  9. Have you ever had a Red Mill burger? The constant line out-the-door of people at the Phinney location disagrees…

  10. Dick’s has a larger line than Red Mill. Molly Moon’s has a line larger than Red Mill. Large lines don’t mean good food. They just mean that people see a line and think there’s good food in there. Or in Dick’s case, cheap burgers that taste like heaven at 3 AM in the morning.

  11. sorry – gotta disagree with you. I will break out my Ballardia passport and leave the village for a Red Mill burger. Great eats!

  12. Yep, you’re right! Lets just replace Molly Moon’s with a DQ and Red Mill with McD’s. No one will know the difference right! right?! Just plain ol’, boring ol’ burgers and ice cream!

    Seriously? You are trying to contend that popularity is not indicative of quality? Like you said, people go to Dicks because its cheap and not for a quality product. Red Mill is not cheap, and a low quality product would quickly drive away customers. Obviously something other than a self-perpetuating popularity line is at play here…

  13. Again, Molly Moon’s is not cheap and not that great quality, yet people line up. The only explanation is a self-perpetuating popularity line.

    And no need to bring in more fast food chains. We just need to direct people to the actual good burger places around Ballard and break their views that Red Mill is the one good burger place in all of Puget Sound.

  14. Lunch box laboratory sucked, as did Rizzo’s. If I wanted to eat wet bread with a little bit of decent meat or a whole lot of cheap meat/badly sliced with too much fat I would eat dog food. No thanks. Red Mill is a good burger, bring it.

  15. how do you know it was a “kitchy” eye sore in 1939 when it opened? Are you 80 plus years old? I can’t be sure if I trust your statement about trends during past eras.

  16. Dick’s closes at 2. You really don’t have any idea what you’re talking about, do you?

  17. Buy the time you drop $30, hitch a cab, get home, stumble in, it’s pretty darn close to 3. Your move.

  18. They are too obsessed with local places like Molly Moon’s that serve mediocre ice cream, but since they aren’t a devilish chain, people go there…

  19. Red Mill is soooo overated. I just don’t get it. Basic, bland burger! It difinitely makes people feel cool to wait in line. The place fuckin sucks……..c’mon now

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