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

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.)

Fred Meyer raises age to buy a gun to 21

Joining Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart, Kroger-owned Fred Meyer is raising the minimum age to buy a gun in its stores to 21.

The company said it had already stopped selling assault-style weapons several years ago (except in its Alaska store, which will now stop selling them.)

Kroger said “recent events demonstrate the need for additional action.”

Fred Meyer has stores in both Ballard and Greenwood.

Frankie & Jo’s opening on Friday

Capitol Hill’s popular vegan ice cream shop Frankie & Jo’s is opening its Ballard location this Friday, March 2nd, just in time for spring.

The small shop is located right next door to Rosellini’s along NW 70th St. near 14th Ave., joining other Ballard hot spots Delancey, Essex, Rosellini’s and Brunswick & Hunt.

“Frankie & Jo’s Ballard is on one of our favorite streets in the city! It is also the street where owners Kari Brunson and Autumn Martin first met,” their website explains. “This shop will have all of your favorite flavors from Capitol Hill, a secret succulent garden and lots more pints to take to go.”

Autumn is the founder of another Ballard establishment, Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery on Ballard Ave., which happens to be across the street from the new ice cream shop, Salt & Straw.

Frankie & Jo’s makes everything from scratch (this old Kickstarter video is a great introduction), and unlike other ice cream shops, their small-batch, plant-based ice cream does not contain milk, egg or gum stabilizers. They use gluten-free, vegan ingredients like chewy brownie chunks, tahini fudge, fluffy cakes with ganache, shortbread cookies and activated charcoal caramel.

Flavors include Salty Caramel Ash, Brown Sugar Vanilla, Jamoca Chaga Fudge, Chocolate Date and Beet Strawberry Rose sorbet, to name a few.

The waffle cones are made from scratch using maple syrup, oat flour and brown sugar.

It’s interesting to note this narrow stretch of 70th St. has become a foodie destination, especially with the addition of Frankie & Jo’s — which often attracts lines in Capitol Hill.

Starting Friday, Frankie & Jo’s will be open 7 days a week from noon-11 p.m.

Dockside Cannabis coming soon to Leary Way

Conveniently located across the street from Giddy Up Burgers on NW Leary Way, Dockside Cannabis is hard at work on its third location in the Seattle area.

The building at 4601 NW Leary Way is getting an extensive makeover, but co-owner Maria Moses tells My Ballard they’re hoping to open as soon as April. Dockside Cannabis already has stores in Sodo and Shoreline (pictured below).

“Dockside started out as Dockside Co-op, a medical marijuana dispensary, in March 2011,” explains Moses. “Our first location was just down the street on 36th & Greenwood in Fremont. Also, two of the three owners (me included) have been Frelard area residents for over 18 years. So we’re really excited to be back in the neighborhood.”

On its website, Dockside says it’s active in its communities, sending out a “green team” to pick up trash and a “street team” to work to “promote health relationships between our business and neighbors.” It also offers free Cannabis 101 classes, and it hosts talks at local senior centers.

If you’re interested, Dockside has just posted job openings for the new store.

It looks like Crooked Nail has closed

The neighborhood bar Crooked Nail, which is a bit off the beaten path at the corner of NW 56th St. and 17th Ave. NW, has apparently closed its doors for good.

The news first appeared in the My Ballard Facebook Group, and the business is not answering its phone or email. Its Facebook page has been removed.

We discovered a liquor license application for the same address for a new establishment called “Corner Shot” under the name of Kacy Fitch, co-owner of the Zig Zag Cafe in Pioneer Square. So there’s a good chance Crooked Nail will become Corner Shot, just in time for the big Valdok development to open across the street.

Neighbors in the My Ballard Group had only good things to say about the Crooked Nail, which had been developing a steady clientele since it opened last year. However the location has been challenging for former tenants over the years.

Heritage Distilling to open Ballard location

Ballard isn’t just about beer. The most awarded craft distillery in the country, Gig Harbor-based Heritage Distilling is planning to open a space in Ballard.

“It’s true, we are opening a production facility, tasting room and retail space in Ballard in late spring 2018,” said Hannah Hanley, Heritage’s chief marketing officer when we spotted the company’s application for a liquor license.

They’ll be opening at 1836 NW Market St., right next to Ballard Blossom.

Heritage sells hand-crafted, small batch spirits — vodka, whiskey, gin and bourbon. It’s Brown Sugar Bourbon (BSB) is especially popular.

“We manage the entire process of making our spirits by hand – from identifying and working directly with the farmers growing our grains, to ensuring the purity of our water source, to milling the grain, making our own mash and wort and running our own custom made stills,” explains the Heritage website.

The company already has locations in Gig Harbor, Roslyn and Eugene, and it also plans to open a Capitol Hill location this spring.