Mike’s Chili to appear on the Travel Channel

One of Ballard’s longest-running institutions, Mike’s Chili Parlor will be featured on the Travel Channel’s Food Paradise this Sunday.

Four generations of the Semandiris family have been operating Mike’s Chili since it opened out of a cart in 1922 to serve workers along the Ship Canal. The restaurant moved to its current location on NW Ballard Way near the Ballard Bridge in 1939.

“This is a great opportunity to share our history and passion with America,” said Mike Semandiris, great grandson of the original Mike who started it all. Many of Mike Chili’s regulars attended the Travel Channel shoot, which Mike said was a “fun experience for everyone involved.”

Phil Semandaris, the 3rd generation owner of Mike’s Chili, said they enjoyed working with the Travel Channel crew. “They are all a part of the Chili family now,” he said.

This episode of Food Paradise, “Bodacious Bowls,” will air on Sunday at 6 p.m. our time, and Mike’s Chili Parlor will be holding a viewing party.

Duke’s files application for Shilshole restaurant

Last May Duke’s Chowder House and the Port of Seattle announced the plan to open a new restaurant at Shilshole Bay Marina. Duke’s was awarded a 20-year lease to build the restaurant and an outdoor seating area overlooking the marina.

Today Duke’s filed the official land use application to get started on the project.

The location of the planned 3-story building is the grassy area in the central plaza area, just to the north of the Leif Erikson statue and south of the marina building (click for larger):

While the project won’t displace any parking spots, the restaurant’s construction — combined with the ongoing upgrade of the marina’s restrooms and a paving project — will disrupt parking at the marina. Restaurant construction is expected to begin around the middle of this year with the Duke’s grand opening slated for mid-2019.

Lark chef to open restaurant in Old Ballard

Back in November, Kickin’ Boot shut its doors in Old Ballard after a five-year run. In late December, Locust Cider opened in the same building on 22nd Ave. NW and Shilshole, but the sprawling restaurant space (above) was still available.

Thanks to a liquor license application, we now know that award-winning chef Mitch Mayers is planning to open a restaurant there. For the last four years, he’s been the chef de cuisine at Lark, and he was the “Prince of Porc” Winner of Cochon 555 Seattle last year.

“Yes, I’m getting read to open a restaurant in the old Kickin Boot location,” he told My Ballard when we asked about his plans. “We will have more details to share in the next month.”

(Photos from inside Kickin’ Boot when it opened.)

It looks like Jones Brothers has closed

When restaurants open, they send us press releases galore. But when they close, they often disappear quietly into the night.

Back in January, the My Ballard Facebook group noticed an online listing (.pdf) to sell the Jones Brothers restaurant — the restaurant itself, not the building — located at 5449 Ballard Ave. NW (in the old Balmar space.) We emailed the restaurant to see what was up, but heard no response.

Now Yelp reviewers were first to notice that Jones Brothers has apparently closed. Eater, too. We called Jones Brothers, but it appears the number is disconnected. Their website, Facebook and Instagram make no mention that the restaurant is closed. And it appears it’s no longer for sale.

All this adds up to the likely scenario that someone has bought the restaurant, and either it will reopen as itself — or as another restaurant — in the coming weeks.

While it was open — for about a year — Jones Brothers had positive reviews, 3.5 stars on Yelp and 4.5 stars on My Ballard’s restaurant page.

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.

Chef Eric Rivera opening Ballard pop-up space

Chef and entrepreneur Eric Rivera loves to experiment with food, often in the form of pop-up events. His Addo project is already holding events on Capitol Hill, and now Rivera has secured a Ballard location: the Royal Drummer Cafe on 24th Ave NW near 65th St.

While the cafe operates during the day, Addo will take over on selected nights beginning next month, which you can schedule in advance along with his Capitol Hill location right here.

“A whole new set of experiences [are] on the way like movie nights, beer tastings, cooking classes, wine tastings, Richard’s aplenty, new chefs in residence, Leconchito nights with delivery and pick up options, and so much more!!!” he wrote on Instagram.

He told Eater that Addo is more like an “incubator” than a brick-and-mortar restaurant.

“Our dinners range in style from fast food style burger pop-ups to 15 course tasting menus,” explains Rivera on his website. “Our goal is to be accessible at most price points and give our guests unique and fun ways to dine.”

Geo’s opens a new restaurant in Greenwood

The owners of Geo’s Cuban & Creole in Ballard have opened a second location, Geo’s Bar and Grill, near the corner of Holman Rd. and Greenwood Ave. N.

“When customers walk in for the first time, they are immediately transported in time to an era when Havana was the playground for the world,” explains Kim Gianotti, who owns the business along with her husband and chef Geo Rodriguez.

Geo’s Bar and Grill is much larger than the Ballard cafe, and it features a full bar, original Cuban art and a stage to feature local latin jazz musicians on the weekends. In the bar, “high ceilings, black-and-white checked floors, palm trees, art filled walls and fabulous upholstered furniture fill the room,” Gianotti explains.

The new restaurant features many favorites from Geo’s in Ballard — Cubano Sandwich, Puerco Asado, Palomilla Steak, and El Caribe Sandwich — but there are new additions, as well.

“Chef Geo added several new appetizers such as Hush-Puppies, Ham Croquettes, Fish Croquettes, Medianoche Sliders and and spicy prawns with Yuca Frita,” she said. “Also new are the Smoked Chicken and Garbanzo Bean Salad, Pan Con Bistec Sliders, and Pastelitos de Guayaba for dessert.”

Geo’s Bar and Grill is located at 10515 Greenwood Ave N, and it opens at 4 p.m. on weekdays (closed on Monday) and at 11 a.m. on the weekends.

Briefs: Banned from the gym, Night Out, no parking, Gather Kitchen and more

A few quick news updates from Ballard and Fremont…

BANNED FROM THE GYM – The NW Fitness Project (pictured above at the corner of N 36th St. and Greenwood Ave. in Fremont) has banned a known white nationalist leader from attending the gym. The owner says he’s received some threatening messages — as well as lots of 5-star reviews — after the Stranger ran the story.

BALLARD NIGHT OUT – The monthly neighborhood art event is tonight (Thursday) from 6-9 p.m. Here’s a list of participating venues and artists.

DROP-IN TOWN HALL – Rep. Noel Frame and Rep. Gael Tarleton will hold a “drop-in town hall” this Sunday at Flying Bike Coop (8570 Greenwood Ave N) from 4 to 7 p.m. “We’ll keep it informal and in small-group conversation,” Frame said. “Drop by anytime in the 3 hour window that works for you! We look forward to hearing from you!”

PHINNEY NO PARKING – A new 57-unit development on Greenwood Ave. N does not plan to offer parking, which prompted an appeal from Phinney residents who said it doesn’t meet the “frequent transit” rule because buses didn’t arrive as often as scheduled. The city does not agree.

HOP IDOL – Attention homebrewers: the deadline to enter Reuben’s Brews’ annual “Hop Idol” contest is tomorrow (Friday). Good luck!

GATHER KITCHEN – The Seattle Times reviews Gather Kitchen in Ballard and gives it “hits and misses” — after the reviewer visited three times.

BALLARD HIGH MUSIC – The choral director of Ballard High, Courtney Rowley, will receive the prestigious “Outstanding Educator” award from the Elliott Bay Music Educator Association at the Washington Music Educators Association conference on Saturday. Congrats Courtney!

BALLARD CIVIC ORCHESTRASeattle Weekly profiles Paula Madrigal, who leads the Ballard Civic Orchestra and the Young String Project.

See news? Let us know at tips@myballard.com. If you have a community event, submit it here.

Skål Beer Hall is coming to Old Ballard

Over the years, Ballard has slowly lost Scandinavian mainstays like Olsen’s Scandinavian Foods, the Scandinavian Bakery and the Viking. New apartment complexes appear with Scandinavian names, slogans and design flourishes — which the city’s design review board likes to see – but it has little to do with our neighborhood’s Scandinavian roots.

That’s why we, the Geeky Swedes, are happy to hear about a new Scandinavian establishment called the Skål Beer Hall that’s coming to the old People’s Pub space in Old Ballard.

“I’m a veteran of the craft beer industry and my Nordic heritage is of great importance to me,” explains Ballard resident and Skål founder Adam McQueen. “We aim to honor the Nordic roots of our neighborhood through a relaxed, communal beer hall experience – what we envision a Viking mead hall would be like today.”

In ancient Scandinavia, a Viking mead hall was the center of the community and a welcoming spot to gather or to host visitors from afar, McQueen explains.

Skål (which rhymes with “bowl” and means “cheers” in Norwegian) will feature an open hall with a “huge central fireplace to gather around on dreary Seattle nights,” he says. “We’ll have large ale horn mugs and Norse mythology inspired touches.”

The front will be getting a makeover, including a “heavy wood door fit for a Viking.”

Not only will Skål feature local craft beer, cider and regional wine, but also mead (fermented with honey) and specialty cocktails – including the Scandinavian favorite, aquavit.

“We’re looking forward to featuring some of our terrific but hard-to-find local products as well as some Scandinavian imports,” he says.

The open kitchen is inspired by the idea of a Viking butcher shop. McQueen explains: “Imagine (if you will) gathering near a roaring fire at the edge of a fjord. Here is where you’d find our food. There will be Nordic influences, traditional bar snacks, and a whole lot of meat (but meatballs are unlikely, sorry Grandma)!”

McQueen says he’s collaborating with Lexi, the chef/owner of the Old Ballard Liquor Company, to create the food concept. With a Swedish family heritage, she has “a wealth of experience with contemporary Scandinavian cuisine and aquavit,” he said.

And if it can’t get any more Scandinavian than that, long-time Ballard residents may remember a Scandinavian restaurant called Vasa Grill that occupied the same space in Old Ballard before People’s Pub (5429 Ballard Ave NW.) “We’ll pay homage to both the Vasa Grill and People’s Pub through details that recognize their former presence in our space,” McQueen says.

Skål Beer Hall will be opening in “early summer.” In the meantime, you can sign up for updates on Skål’s new website and social accounts. 

Briefs: Esters, Roux, Brewery District, RapidRide, Solstice poster and more

Lots of quick updates from Ballard and Fremont…

ESTERS – The owners of Piccolo in Maple Leaf, which shut down last year, will open Esters Enoteca soon in the old Homegrown spot at 3416 Fremont Ave. N. “Grab a quick panini to go or stay and enjoy a glass of wine, local beer or one of our house-made sodas,” reads the sign on the door.

RESTAURANT ROUX – Speaking of Fremont Ave. spots, Restaurant Roux will close on February 18th. “After some soul-searching, we decided to accept an offer to sell Restaurant Roux,” explained owner Matthew Lewis. (No word on the identity of the incoming restaurant.) For fans of Lewis’ food truck, Where Ya At Matt, don’t worry: it’s not going away.

LUCKY ENVELOPE – The Ballard brewery is launching five specialty beers for its Chinese New Year celebration on Feb. 16th and 17th. “Last year’s celebration was such a great success that we decided to extend the event to two days this year,” said Raymond Kwan, co-founder of Lucky Envelope. The beers include Buddha’s Hand Citron IPA and Lychee Sour.

BREWERY DISTRICT? – What do you think about the growing use of “Brewery District” to describe Ballard’s industrial neighborhood? That question is from FreeBallard in the forum, which is now in working order — so head on over and chime in. (To create your own username and avatar — which also displays in comments — you can register quickly here. Once you’ve created your account, click your profile to upload an avatar.)

RAPIDRIDE TO UW?Over at the Urbanist, Doug Trumm wonders why there isn’t a RapidRide route that connects Ballard and UW along the water. He breaks down the idea in maps, and he adds, “I’m just a guy who wants his commute to the UW in the morning to be more dependable.”

SOUND TRANSIT – The Ballard-West Seattle light rail advisory group met for the first time on Thursday night, and the West Seattle Blog was there.

SOLSTICE POSTER – For those designers and artists out there, the organizers of the Fremont Solstice Parade are looking for proposals to design this year’s parade poster. If you win, you get $250 bucks and lots of bragging rights. Proposals are due March 19th.

FISHING VESSELS – A bill by Rep. Gael Tarleton (D-Ballard) that provides “temporary incentives to support the rebuild and replacement of aging fishing vessels” has won state House approval. “This bill gives badly-needed support to one of our most prosperous industries, while also accelerating our transition to a clean-energy future,” Tarleton said. The bill now moves to the Senate.

FISHERMEN’S TERMINAL – The Port of Seattle announced this week that Delmas Whittaker is taking over daily operations at Fishermen’s Terminal. He replaces Kenny Lyles, who was recently promoted to director of Fishing and Commercial Operations, a department that combines Fishermen’s Terminal and Terminal 91.

Have news? Let us know by emailing tips@myballard.com. Have an event? Submit it here.