Lots of new businesses opening this month

The Nordic Museum and New Seasons Market aren’t the only new businesses opening in Ballard this month. From a distillery and a cannabis shop to a travel boutique and a Golden Gardens snack shack, May has been big month for new businesses. Here’s our roundup:

HERITAGE DISTILLING: As we previewed back in February, Heritage Distilling has opened at 1836 NW Market St. (above), right next to Ballard Blossom. This is the company’s fifth location in the Northwest — you may recognize Heritage’s popular BSB on store shelves — and the Ballard tasting room offers “an extensive selection of barware, cocktail supplies, memberships, merchandise, customizable gift packs and of course, spirits.” You can even fill up a growler. Hours are 12-8 p.m. on Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m.-7 p.m. on Sunday.

DOCKSIDE CANNABIS: With two of the three owners from Frelard, Dockside Cannabis’ third Seattle location is closest to home. The new recreational marijuana dispensary just opened a couple days ago at 4601 NW Leary Way (above), near the Bev Mo and New Seasons. Dockside Cannabis Ballard features “a full range of carefully curated cannabis products,” and co-owner Maria Moses told the My Ballard Group that “awesome specials happening right now.” Hours are Monday-Saturday from 9 a.m.-11 p.m. and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.

ATLAS TRAVEL WEAR: Slated to open on May 26 at 5337 Ballard Ave NW (above), Atlas Travel Wear “aims to dress women for adventure, whatever adventure means to them,” says owner Jeannine Kempees. Named after her dog Atlas — who has been helping get things ready over the last few weeks — the Old Ballard store will feature quality travel apparel, travel bags, accessories and will also showcase local jewelry.

MIRI’S SNACK SHACK: Miri Plowman and her partner Gabe Skoda had their first date at Golden Gardens a few years ago, and now they’ve opened Miri’s Snack Shack in the concession stand area near the bathhouse. The rotating menu includes such things as poffertjes (little yummy Dutch pancakes), kebab sandwiches, chocolate dipped Full Tilt ice cream bars and a fresh fruit piña colada slushie (above). The shack has been open a couple weeks now, as Seattle Magazine reports, they sold out quickly last sunny weekend. They’re currently open Thursday-Sunday from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. with plans to expand to 7 days a week in June.

As always, if you see a new business opening, email us at tips@myballard.com.

(Photos from each respective company’s Facebook and Instagram accounts.)

Ballard New Seasons celebrates grand opening

Ballard’s newest grocery store, New Seasons Market opened its doors today on Ballard Way with speeches, protests and plenty of eager shoppers.

We arrived at lunchtime, and the store was packed with neighbors navigating the aisles and admiring the amenities.

Among all the staples, New Seasons features an expansive meat and seafood counter, wok and ramen bar, burrito bar, in-house made sushi, grab-and-go meal kits and an indoor and outdoor seating area, to name a few. Some local vendors handed out free samples.

“We are excited to open our doors to the Ballard community,” said Kerri Hunsley, Ballard store manager. “We are honored to have partnered with local nonprofits and hired amazing staff from local neighborhoods. We have sourced a variety of products from more than 175 vendors across all departments, and many of them are hyperlocal vendors from the Ballard area. We look forward to being your neighbor and serving the Ballard community for many years to come.”

One of those vendors is extremely local: Fremont Brewing’s production facility is right across the street from New Seasons. Named after a shingle mill constructed in Ballard in 1888, Fremont created “Shingle Town Hazy India Pale Ale” exclusively for New Seasons.

“From the windows of our Ballard production facility, we watched the demolition of the old building and the construction of New Season’s first Seattle store on that site with great anticipation,” said Matt Lincecum, Fremont Brewing Founder and CEO. “We’re excited to welcome New Seasons to the neighborhood with Shingle Town Hazy IPA.”

As shoppers drove into the parking lot, they were greeted by protesters demanding better worker conditions at New Seasons, which is not a union workplace. We talked with Chris Heim, a longtime employee from the Hawthorne store in Portland who drove up to take part in the protest.

“I’ve seen a lot of things deteriorate and degrade, as far the quality of the job,” he said. “I’m trying to get as many people together to show solidarity with Seattle. There’s a worker network that’s coming together to fight back against corporate greed for better wages, better benefits, better staffing. Under-staffing is one of our biggest issues.”

Some protesters also claim that the store has “retaliated against Portland workers who spoke up about working conditions,” a claim that New Seasons refutes. “The National Labor Relations Board investigated two claims of retaliation and dismissed both claims as having no merit,” New Seasons spokesperson Nicole Brooks told Seattle Weekly. In February, New Seasons announced CEO Wendy Collie is stepping down in a “strategic shift” in the organization.

New Seasons opponents, who are supported by UFCW 21, are also protesting against the company’s planned expansion into the Central District.

New Seasons is entering an increasingly competitive grocery store market in Ballard. Ballard Market, Safeway, Fred Meyer, Trader Joe’s and Amazon Fresh are just a few blocks away, and a new PCC will open early next year in the Ballard Blocks II development.

In the days to come, New Seasons has several events planned, including wine and chocolate tastings and store tours with nutritionists.

(Both New Seasons Market and its opponents, New Seasons Stories, are advertisers of My Ballard.)

Target is coming to Ballard next year

Updated: For years there have been rumors of Target coming to Ballard, but now it’s official.

My Ballard has learned Target has signed a lease to take the first floor of the new office building at the corner of 15th Ave NW and NW Market St., according to real estate developer Martin Selig.

Target will join Polyclinic, WeWork and Equal Exchange coffee in the new 200,000 square-foot office building that’s under construction where the Shell gas station was located. It’s slated to open in the first quarter of next year, Selig said.

Given the available square footage, it’s unclear if the new store is a CityTarget — a smaller, urban version of the discount store, like the one in downtown — or an even smaller TargetExpress store. When we reached Target this afternoon, it provided this statement:

At Target, we continuously explore possible locations for new stores, including in the Seattle area. We are currently focused on new store growth with our small-format stores, which are smaller than our general merchandise Target stores and are located in dense urban and suburban neighborhoods as well as college campuses. I can tell you we are pursuing the opportunity to reach guests in the Ballard neighborhood, but at this time, we’re not at a point where we can share any new store plans.

The building is located on Ballard’s busiest corner, right next to the proposed location of the Ballard elevated light rail station. One of the few office buildings in the neighborhood, it has has underground parking for 253 vehicles.

“There really is no office space market in Ballard,” Selig told us, explaining they’ve had to work hard to lease the 5-story building, which is now 80% leased. “All that’s left is floor 3,” he said.

(Our thanks to K and Scott for their tips that led to this story.)

New burger restaurant coming to ‘The Terminal’ across from New Seasons

If you’ve wondered what’s planned for the new retail-restaurant space under construction across from New Seasons, you’re not alone. After we asked for tips earlier this week, My Ballard reader Stephen pointed us to The Terminal At Ballard at 907 NW Ballard Way.

“The Terminal” is the name of the CenterCal Properties development that includes New Seasons — which is opening on May 9th — and “14,000-square feet of restaurant and small shop retail space” on the other side of the parking lot:

So far, AT&T is the only confirmed tenant, but The Terminal’s Facebook page shared a post by The Habit Burger Grill. “We can’t wait to welcome The Habit Burger Grill to the neighborhood,” it said.

Since its humble beginnings in Santa Barbara in 1969, Habit Burger has grown into a national chain of over 200 restaurants. Its closest locations are in Shoreline and Tukwila. Here’s the menu.

We reached out to both CenterCal Properties and Habit Burger, but neither has responded so far.

The Terminal’s open date is scheduled for sometime next month.

(Thanks Stephen for the tip!)

‘Corner Spot’ opens in Central Ballard

Back in February, we reported that neighborhood hangout Crooked Nail had closed at the corner of NW 56th St. and 17th Ave. NW. According to a liquor license, it looked like a new establishment called “Corner Shot” was in the works.

We were close. It’s called Corner Spot, a new bar and restaurant that has quietly opened over the last week or so.

Corner Spot is owned by Loyal Heights resident Kacy Fitch, who used to be the co-owner of the cocktail place Zig Zag Cafe near Pike Place Market. “I was tired of the commute,” he told us. “And I wanted something small that I can manage myself.”

Fitch says Corner Spot aims to be a friendly neighborhood bar “away from the craziness of Ballard Ave.” with quality food, drinks and service.

From chef Mario Pujals, the menu ranges from small plates (i.e. charcuterie) and soups and salads (i.e. balsamic caesar) to sandwiches (i.e. smoked turkey) and a couple heartier options (i.e. creole mac & cheese.) Pujals said more tapas-style food is coming.

Fitch is known for his craft cocktails, but he says he has “something for everyone” at the bar — including a good selection of wine (and even champagne) by the glass. The beer taps include local favorites Maritime, Reuben’s and Fremont.

Corner Spot is currently open from 3 to 10 p.m. (to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday), but it plans to add a lunch menu on Friday and Saturday soon. The bar is 21-and-over for now, but Fitch said he’s working on a city permit for a bar railing to make it kid friendly.

(Our thanks to Henry and Alex for the tip!)

Ballard McDonald’s plans to rebuild restaurant

McDonald’s has filed plans to rebuild its 36-year-old facility on Market St. from the ground up.

If the project is approved, the new McDonald’s will be slightly smaller, still feature a play place and will provide two drive-thru lanes instead of one — which will reduce those occasionally long drive-thru lines. The new facility will offer 41 parking spots instead of 49.

The details appeared in a land use filing (.pdf)

Motivated to bring back more customers, McDonald’s has been offering big incentives for franchises to upgrade and modernize, according to a WSJ story last year. Potential upgrades go beyond the building itself to self-order kiosks and table-locator technology, new employee uniforms, enhanced desert counters and more.

If for some reason a complete rebuild is not approved, McDonald’s plans to remodel the facility.

In either case, the work will likely close the restaurant for an extended period of time once the project is approved. No word on any timeline.

New Seasons sets opening date for May 9

New Seasons Market is set to open at 951 NW Ballard Way one month from today.

The 25,000 square foot facility will feature a full-service meat and seafood department, deli, local and organic produce, fresh sushi, made-to-order sandwiches, pre-packaged meal kits, floral department and a large variety of local beer, wine and spirits.

“We are excited to open our doors to the Ballard community,” said Kerri Hunsley, Ballard store manager. “We hope to become a favorite a gathering place for our new neighbors and friends and be an active part of the community. We’ve partnered with local nonprofits, sourced products from local vendors and have hired staff from local neighborhoods.”

When we peeked in the windows this weekend, we saw shelving, signage and cash registers in place (above). As we reported earlier, the mural along the back of the building is complete.

New Seasons says it’s been working with local producers and artisans, and the store will feature Parfait Ice Cream, & Tonic, Fidalgo Coffee, Iris & Poppy’s Kitchen and Fremont Brewing (which will offer an exclusively brewed Hazy India Pale Ale.)

“We’re honored to join the wonderful Ballard community and have spent time over the last year listening to understand the needs of our new neighbors, local vendors, producers and community partners,” said Kristi McFarland, Co-President and Chief People Officer. “It’s important that we reflect all the great ideas we heard from the residents into our Ballard store offerings.”

New Seasons will join Ballard Market, QFC, Safeway, Fred Meyer, Trader Joe’s and Amazon Fresh in the Ballard area — as well as the new PCC, currently under construction a short distance away at Ballard Blocks II.

In February Portland-based New Seasons announced the departure of its CEO and a “strategic shift” to invest more in core stores and communities. The company’s employees have been working toward unionizing and filed a labor complaint against the company in December.

By the way, there’s no word of what’s coming to the new office/retail space located directly across from the New Seasons parking lot. If you have any tips, please let us know.

(Full disclosure: Both New Seasons as well as the “Good Jobs Coalition” — which opposes New Seasons opening in the Central District — have been My Ballard advertisers)

Briefs: Google, upzoning, PCC, new food truck, March For Our Lives and more…

Here are some quick stories from around Ballard and Fremont…

GOOGLE FREMONT – While work is underway on its new South Lake Union campus, Google is expanding in Fremont. GeekWire reports it has added two more floors at 837 N. 34th St., which is to the east of the Fremont Bridge in the old Tableau space (above).

THE HELM – Speaking of Fremont, the bar and small plates spot The Helm has closed its doors after a year in business at N 36th St. and Palantine, according to Eater.

UPZONING MEETING – Here’s an important event coming up on Monday: the city is holding a public meeting for input on plans to “upzone” parts of North Seattle. It will be held at 6 p.m., March 12, at the Northgate Community Center, 10510 5th Ave. NE., in the multi-purpose Room.

PCC DOWNTOWN – After announcing a new Ballard location and an upgrade at its Fremont store, PCC announced today it will open a downtown store in the big Rainier Square development.

NEW FOOD TRUCKBella M’Briana is the name of a new food truck in Ballard, positioned at 5401 17th Ave NW. On the menu: house-made meatballs, spaghetti pie, bucatini pesto and more. “It’s delizioso!” says Linda in the My Ballard Facebook Group.

MARCH FOR OUR LIVES – Ballard High student Emilia Allard is one of two young people organizing Seattle’s “March For Our Lives” rally on March 24th. “Be passionate about your views,” she told Q13. “At least for myself, there’s been so many issues I’ve felt passionate about, but I didn’t act on.”

HOP IDOL WINNER – Reuben’s Brews has announced the winner of its annual Hop Idol Homebrew contest: Alex Kuyper and his “Dwayne IPA” won the top prize out of 116 entries. Starting in May, Reuben’s will make Dwayne IPA available in the taproom and distribute it across the Northwest.

BREWERY PARTIES – Don’t forget, both Populuxe and Peddler are celebrating their 5-year anniversaries with respective parties this Saturday.

WINNING PERFORMANCE – Last week we told you about Ballard High’s chamber orchestra winning first runner-up in the country. Now there’s video of their winning performance.

There’s a lot more going on in the My Ballard events calendar (where you can submit your own community events) as well as the My Ballard Facebook group (which just hit 3,000 members and keeps growing fast.) Have a news tip? Email us at tips@myballard.com.

Nix Auto site will get cleaned up, child care facility planned

The longtime site of Nix Auto Wrecking, the lot at the corner of Leary Way NW and 14th Ave. NW will be getting an environmental makeover.

The city approved plans today to demolish the buildings on the site, remove contaminated soil and replace it with fresh fill.

Once the new soil is stable, the plans call for the construction of a “2-story, 13,000-square-foot child care building (Kiddie Academy of Seattle at Ballard), including new 4,000-square-foot outdoor play area and 20-stall surface parking lot.”

This would make Kiddie Academy’s fifth location in the Seattle area.

Nix Auto Wrecking has quite the history in Ballard. As documented in Vintage West Woodland, original owner Edward Prestek bought the lot in 1939. Over the years, the Seattle Municipal Archives has 36 photos of Nix Auto, some documenting violations that include parking junkers around the neighborhood. Like this one from 1958:

There’s even a story about Prestek — back in the 1950s — driving a car backwards all the way from Ballard to Shoreline and back. Those were the days…

(Photo from Seattle Municipal Archives. Top photo is from Google Maps in August.)