Walter’s leaving Sunset Hill spot later this year

A longtime community hangout in Sunset Hill, Walter’s Cafe has been given until the end of November before it needs to find a new location, the business said.

A few days ago, the deadline was much sooner: the My Ballard Group discovered that Walter’s had been given a notice to vacate their spot at 6408 32nd Ave. NW by the end of the month.

“Nooooooo. We’ve been going there for over a decade. We love Walters!” read one of the many comments. Another commenter encouraged neighbors to email the landlord to ask for more time.

And it worked.

“We are now guaranteed thru the end of November,” said Kim at Walter’s on Facebook last night. “We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support from our friends, family, and community. Thank you for your fast and furious response to the recent notice to vacate.”

With the extension in place, some neighbors are now wondering what can be done to keep Walter’s around beyond November.

“Please spread the word that we will be serving up your favorite coffee, ice cream, and beer as usual for another few months. We could not have done this without you,” said Kim on Facebook.

Just down from Walter’s at the corner, a new restaurant is planning to open in early November. There’s no word what’s planned for Walter’s current space.

We’ll keep you posted.

Update: Walter’s responded to our earlier request for comment: “At this time we don’t have any plans to move to a new location after November. We will continue to provide updates for the neighborhood on our Facebook and Instagram accounts. Stay tuned and thanks again!”

Old Ballard Liquor Co. to shut down and reopen as Nordic bar and restaurant

For the last six years, Old Ballard Liquor Company has been operating a nano distillery on Shilshole Ave. near the Ballard Bridge, specializing on a Scandinavian favorite: aquavit.

Owner Lexi, who goes by her first name, announced this last week that the distillery is shutting down at the end of the month. Old Ballard Liquor’s inventory is now 50% off, and the distillery is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day until it closes for good on July 31st. (It’s at 4421 Shilshole Ave NW.)

But not to fear, Lexi said she’ll reopen in “mid-to-late August” as a Nordic bar and restaurant. After all, Scandinavian food is another of Lexi’s loves. You may have eaten at “Tumble Swede,” a pop-up restaurant, most recently as a booth at SeafoodFest. Last year, she opened a small Scandinavian cafe inside Old Ballard Liquor Company with such dishes as Tunnbrödsrulle (Swedish street food), potato leek soup and elderflower ice cream. Then earlier this year, she announced a collaboration with the upcoming Skål Beer Hall to create the food concept for the Viking bar.

So a restaurant and bar sounds like a nice upgrade.

Lexi wouldn’t tell us why the distillery is closing — she said she’ll post a “detailed essay” on her website in coming weeks — but she did allude on Facebook to challenging regulations for smaller distilleries. She’s also not sharing details yet about her upcoming restaurant.

We’ll keep you updated, and in the meantime, head on down to Old Ballard Liquor Company for the discounted liquor. Everything must go by July 31st.

Katsu Burger opens in old Skillet location

After a series of sneak previews, Katsu Burger and Sushi has opened — with some limited hours — in the old Skillet location at 2034 NW 56th St.

As we previewed back in March, the Ballard menu features several variations of its huge, deep-fried burgers as well as a sushi bar, bento and a full cocktail bar.

During the “soft opening,” Katsu is open from 4 to 9 p.m. during the week and from noon to 9 p.m. on weekends. Katsu says the plan is to open for lunch on weekdays “very soon.” A grand opening is planned for later this month.

Katsu Burger is also in Capitol Hill, Georgetown, Lynnwood and Bellevue. The Ballard location is the first to offer a full bar, sushi and bento.

New restaurant from Lark chef opening soon

In March we discovered Lark chef Mitch Mayers was planning to open a new restaurant in the Kickin’ Boot spot in Old Ballard.

Now we know the name, Sawyer, and a few more details, thanks to Mayers’ interview with Eater.

His approach will be high-quality, creative fine dining that’s “a bit more approachable,” Mayers explained. Like Oxtail nachos with soft-scrambled eggs, cotija cheese, and tomato ragu — or sweetbreads with a pork blood General Tso sauce and crispy fried rice, Eater explains. He’s also a big fan of rotisserie chicken with eight spits in the kitchen.

The restaurant, bar and patio is a big space, seating up to 120 people.

Sawyer’s projected open date is July 25th.

(Photo of the ongoing construction work from Sawyer on Instagram)

New restaurant coming to Sunset Hill

The eagle-eyed members of the My Ballard Facebook Group saw that the “for lease” sign has disappeared from the empty space at the corner of 32nd Ave. NW and NW 65th St.

A little investigation later, they found a new restaurant planned for the Sunset Hill spot. It’s called Samara, “a wood-fueled neighborhood bistro,” according to a calendar post on Addo Ballard.

That’s because Addo Ballard — Eric Rivera’s restaurant incubator that’s running (and expanding) at the Royal Drummer — is hosting Samara chef Eric Anderson on June 21st to try out some of the upcoming menu items.

“Get your first taste now, before this future Ballard restaurant gets it’s home just down the street,” explains the Addo listing, which says Samara will open in “early November.” The cost for the Addo event is $50 per person.

So there you go. By the way, the My Ballard Group has been growing like wildfire lately, now approaching 5,000 members.

(Archive photo from last year.)

Crown Hill Broiler quietly opens on 15th Ave.

Back in January, the Original Pancake House along 15th Ave. NW just north of NW 80th St. closed its doors for good. In the last couple weeks, the Crown Hill Broiler quietly opened in its place.

The new kid-friendly restaurant and bar is starting out with burgers — 12 different options — along with sandwiches and salads for its soft opening. Early reviews in the My Ballard Facebook Group and Yelp are positive with special raves for the onion rings.

Here’s a look at the burger side of the menu.

The interior was designed by Sue Gentry Interior Design. Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

Briefs: Home prices, Addo, Mae Ploy, Yak’s, secret map, bikesharing and more

A few quick stories from around the neighborhood…

SOARING HOME PRICES: The median home price in the greater Ballard area has risen 9.9% in the last year to $851,500, reports the Seattle Times. For comparison, the Seattle-wide median price is $830,000. In the Queen Anne-Magnolia area, the number is an astonishing $1,135,500, which is up 26.2% this year alone. Just incredible.

ADDO MOVES IN: Chef Eric Rivera’s pop up project Addo at Royal Drummer is becoming permanent. Seattle Mag reports that the Royal Drummer folks will still provide the coffee, and Addo will serve up breakfast, lunch and happy hour beginning next week. Then starting next month, they’ll add brunch and dinner, too.

MAE PLOY IS BACK: Mae Ploy Thai Cuisine at 15th Ave NW and NW 65th St. has re-opened nearly three months after a driver rolled a car into the front of the restaurant. “It more than exhausted their insurance,” said Ted in the My Ballard Facebook group. “Let’s support ’em!”

YAK’S TERIYAKI: The Fremont fixture Yak’s has shut down, and Palmi Korean Cuisine & Teriyaki has moved in the corner spot on Fremont Ave. to take its place. “You’ll find a variety of Korean BBQ dishes, hearty spices in soups and stews, and classic Teriyaki favorites,” explains the website.

SECRET SOVIET MAP: The Seattle Times has a great piece about a secret Soviet Union map of Seattle from 1976. At the end of 24th Ave. NW at Salmon Bay, the map shows the label, “Explosion mechanisms and radio electronic devices.” And it turns out, Honeywell Marine Systems Division was operating there at the time — with high security — possibly on torpedo homing systems.

BIKESHARE REPORT: Today the city council heard a preliminary report on bikeshare use in Seattle. As you might imagine, Ballard over-indexed in use compared to most neighborhoods. One tidbit: 70% of bikes were parked correctly, 26% were partially blocking a walkway and 4% were fully blocking a path. It’s still too early for stats on the new bikeshare parking spots.

BHS ON SEATTLE CHANNEL: Nancy Guppy and her Seattle Channel show, Art Zone featured talented Ballard High School choir teacher Courtney Rowley. You can watch it here.

By the way, the Ballard community calendar is PACKED with summer events in our area, and you can submit your own events, too.

‘Super Bueno’ restaurant opens in Fremont

Ethan Stowell’s latest creation is not just bueno, it’s Super Bueno — a new Mexican restaurant that just opened this week at 3627 Stone Way N. in Fremont.

Super Bueno wants the best of both worlds: a family-friendly restaurant that also attracts the 20-something crowd. The lower level features a full bar with 65 tequilas and mezcals, and the upper level has a play area for kids. There are also two large heated patios right on Stone Way, and a happy hour that runs from 4-6 p.m. every day.

It’s also a cafe that serves espresso, breakfast burritos and sandwiches during the day. Then a restaurant that offers a full range of tacos, nachos, salads and flank steak in the evening.

“We’re not trying to be crazy serious about it,” Ethan Stowell told Seattle Met. “We expect to serve a lot of cheese quesadillas.”

The cafe is open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day, and the restaurant opens at 11 a.m. on weekends and 4 p.m. on weekdays.

Lockspot Cafe temporarily closed after reports of norovirus outbreak

The King County Health Department is investigating an outbreak of norovirus associated with four restaurants, including the Lockspot Cafe in Ballard.

“Since May 16, Public Health has learned of 3 people from two separate meal parties who became ill after consuming food and beverage from Lockspot Cafe between May 12–13, 2018,” the health department said. “Environmental Health investigators visited and closed the restaurant on May 17. At this point, investigators have not identified any risk factors that are known to contribute to the spread of norovirus.”

The other restaurants are Anthony’s Homeport in Des Moines, Italianissimo Ristorante in Woodinville and Okinawa Teriyaki in downtown Seattle.

Lockspot Cafe is required to thoroughly clean the premises. When we called on Saturday, the restaurant said it hopes to reopen in the next few days.

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!)