60 thoughts to “Il Giardino restaurant now closed”

  1. I wonder if this is a recession driven closure? Certainly the timing for the extensive remodel of that house followed by the opening of a nicer, pricier restaurant was ill-fated.
    It's too bad. I really liked eating there.

  2. Huh. I wondered how they were doing. I went there a month or so after they opened, and they seemed to have some kinks to iron out. Never got around to trying it again.

    The location is not too far from Pasta Bella, which in my opinion does pretty much the same thing better and cheaper.

  3. I'm not in the retail/restaurant biz, but I've often wondered about locations like this one. If you're a pricier restaurant (by Ballard/Greenwood standards) how do you get the draw if you're out of the core? I can see how a small, cheap eats kind of place could make a go based on repeat business by the immediate locals, but unless you're so good that people will make a special trip how do you pull this off?
    In no way is this meant to disparage the owners of Il Giardino, I'm just curious about how this works.

  4. Location, location, locations…sorry, but that corner is just far to scuzzy to want to go out for a romantic dinner and plop down $100 and then walk out to see Murder Mart across the street.

  5. If Ballard had supported the place it still would be open.
    Restaurants in residential districts have higher than normal
    failure rates (and the norm is quite high).
    Too bad, I never got around to trying it.

  6. I wouldn't consider that residential. It was one a fairly main street (8th) and surrounded by bars, stores and other resturants. Now the Barking Dog, that I would consider a residential resurant.

  7. The Murder Mart is the deli (and I use the term deli very loosely in this case) on the corner of 8th and 65th. The parking lot and surrounding corners are always occupied by various hoods flashing gang signs. I haven't heard the Murder Mart term but it is very appropriate. Probably a pretty good drug trade going on, wish the owners would do something about the unsavory loiters.

  8. There are always hoods hanging around convenience stores. And yeah, I've seen them at this one on my way to and from Molly's. It still doesn't qualify this place as a Murder Mart. A Junkie Mart, maybe.

  9. I think I started calling if the Murder Mart on here
    because that's what we call it IRL. We can never
    remember the name of it, and from the outside,
    it is the worst looking corner store around.
    It's not meant to be disparaging tho, we go
    there all the time. The clerks are nice and they
    actually have some things you can't get elsewhere,
    but ppl are shitheads and tag that place and basically
    shit all over it.

  10. Oh, I was making any judgement about the Barking dog. I just don't think that I would call Il Giardino a residential resturant.

  11. What you refer to as “Murder Mart” is called Choice Deli.

    But the people who really know what's up call it “The Hesher Mart”. Why?…figure it out for yourselves.

    Never had the $ to try out the restaurant, but they did a nice job on the outside, it's a very pleasant house/restaurant to have in my 'hood.
    I hope it works out better for the next occupants.

  12. I live right around the corner, and the reason this restaurant failed was quality, not location. There are several extremely successful neighborhood eateries within 2 block is this, Barking Dog, and The Dray come to mind.

    When I visited, the food was good, but expensive – and the staff and atmosphere felt faked and overdone.

    Let's hope we get another restaurant more suited to our 'hood in this location next time.

  13. were these not the same people who owned the place where the Matador is now, and where the Hamburger Harry;s is now…(Se Breeze?) I think there is a message her..they never did well…not engaging and not very good food…great intentions but no hutzpa..and no flavor!

  14. This is VERY sad and shocking as my son and I went there for the first time last week. The food was just okay but the staff was so friendly and we had a such a lovely time on the deck on a beautiful Seattle evening. I even wrote a Yelp review for them (I guess deep down I realized they weren't doing well). But the night we went it was very well attended.

    I'm sad for them. :(

  15. Was it the same people? They used to run Luna Rossa up on Roosevelt (years ago) and it was great. Cheap and yummy – not pretentious at all. But their other restuarants (La Romantica, Il Forno – aka Sea Breeze) just didn't match up.

  16. Oh man! That used to be a Hoagies! Gosh I miss Hoagies Corner. They still have one at a gas station in Lakewood that we found by accident looking for a pit-stop on the way to Portland. Loved me some Hoagies!

  17. I did (recently laid-off) work in retail/restaurant biz as a manager and a consultant…your question is one of the biggest problems facing new businesses. A big mistake with a lot of new start-ups is that they don't look a the demographics, market spread, and traffic flow. It makes me sad.

  18. I was just thinking that it was Hoagies Corner when I was kid…and I am only 30 now…but then again that Goodwill was our Safeway!!

  19. A shame. Stopped and looked at the menu once or twice. I guess I'm just not in to (what I recall to be) $16 pasta dishes that probably aren't going to fill me up.

  20. OMG, I have so been wondering if there were any Hoagies Corners lingering around because I also remember the “Murder Mart” as a Hoagies Corner!
    I used to go there all the time, I loved that place.

  21. We went once and had a good experience — although it was pricey. Somehow never seemed to think about it though when we were looking to go out for Italian, or we didn't want to spend that much. My take on their “problem” is that they didn't have enough tables to really make a go of it. A few small rooms, with a few tables packed into each. It made for a cozy feel, but not enough volume to turn a profit.

  22. If you're ever headed down south – there is a gas station in Lakewood, it's right off the exit, the same exit for a restaurant called Galloping Gerties (I think?).

  23. I've been longing for a really good neighborhood Dim Sum place. We have too many Thai/Sushi/PubGrub places. Although I tried this place once, other Italian locales are better. Any Dim Sum chefs out there willing to put down roots in Ballard/Phinney? If it is good Dim Sum, the whole north end of the city might flock to the location!

  24. If these are the same people that owned La Romantica, they are very nice but into selling restaurants. They open a place, run it for a year or so and sell. Not the best economy to do this in right now.

  25. Are you SURE it is the same people who used to run Luna Rossa on Roosevelt? I used to eat there on average two or three times a month. I went into Sea Breeze 3 times and we were the only people there; I wasn't impressed. Considering Lombardi's was just up the street, I thought Lombardi's was much better, and cheaper. So is Pasta Bella. (have not tried the Italian place on Ballard Ave , Volterra <used to be Burke's Cafe,> because it is out of my price range.)

    I'm always sad to see a restaurant go out of business. My brother used to be a restaurant manager (Daniels) and he said the two best ways to loose a lot of money quickly are to start a restaurant or buy a racehorse.

  26. I am sure that the same people who ran Luna Rossa were the same people who ran La Romantica and Il Forno (changed name to Sea Breeze).

    It was a family and I used to practice my Italian with the mom (Antonia) way back when. I moved away from the N. Gate area and was devastated when I returned to find them gone. Then happy to find them again at La Romantica (but the food just wasn't as good and the service was annoying there – too smarmy). Then they disappeared again (they go back home apparently) and turned up again at Il Forno. Food was okay but still not great and most dishes I loved they didn't make anymore (the one with the chopped spinach and a prawn dish they used to make at Luna Rossa and wasn't on the menu but would make for me when possible). I found this online:


    However, I have no idea if they were affiliated with Il Giardino

    Personally, I don't like Lombardi's or Pasta Bella very much either

  27. I've said it before, but it bears repeating…


    Not in this location, though if you did open a good one here you wouldn't be able to get me to leave.
    Fly a few guys over from Japan and open one in Belltown, Fremont, or even Ballard and just watch the money roll in. Don't believe me? Go up to Vancouver and where there was one authentic yakitori joint a few years ago is now a whole yakitori district and they're all doing well.

  28. That place was aweful, especially for the vegetarians around. I ordered raviolis and they were, as far as I could tell, the frozen kind from costco. They charged me $16 for frozen raviolis. The service was also very bad. I hoped they'd get their act together but it appears they didn't…

  29. I know a couple good ones in Osaka and one in Tokyo that I think we could just pack up and ship over here…might have to kidnap the staff though, you with me?

  30. I went there about a year ago and the waiter told me that the the owners also owned Burrito Loco (over by Dicks on Holman RD). Odd mix I thought.

  31. I generally refrain from endeavors that involve human trafficking but I'll make an exception in this case. Got my passport in hand.

  32. I live a block away and never tried it because a) The ambiance was pretty uninspiring – a patio on the corner of a busy street with no screening? It didn't really scream quality. and b) The few neighbors who walked down to try it reported that the food wasn't that great and the prices were too high, so we never tried it.

    And regarding the murder mart: my friends and I call it the “Ghettoest Kwik-E Mart in Ballard”. Where else can you buy incense and plastic dipped roses for fifty cents? It's a fabulous cultural departure from the rest of the neighborhood.

  33. The minimart isn't the most inviting, but I can't say I've ever seen a gang sign flashed there. We are talking about 65th, not 85th, right?

  34. Though “MurderMart” is a pretty awesome name, its official name is “Death Metal Deli®”. Why? Because the night manager used to play Scandinavian Death and Black Metal at “11” when he was on shift. It was kinda cool and also a good strategy when you're working night shift by yourself at a convenience store. No one wants to mess with a guy blaring the most terrifying metal you've ever heard. Same guy is still there, but the metal has been lacking recently.

    I was there one night with a friend and called him over to the “hot food” unit, next to the perma-broken ATM, where there were burritos and hotdogs that appeared to have been there for weeks, possibly months. I asked my friend, “Dude… how hungry would you have to be to eat that?” The manager, death metal blaring, said “I wouldn't let you guys buy that stuff.” But there they still sit, dripping grease and rotating slowly on the rollers. Hilarious.

    As a “deli” this place is an absolute disgrace. But if you need beer or smokes or porn… they got it all.

    I am sad to hear about this restaurant closing. I run a small business myself and was nervous for them trying to make a go of it there.

  35. I had extraordinarily delicious meals and happy, memorable times at Il Giardino. I was looking forward to another great meal on Saturday, showed up with two friends and was heartbroken to see they had closed. This is not only a great loss for Ballard, but for Seattle. I live on Queen Anne and considered it one of the yummiest Italian restaurants in the city. Already miss the bolognese and frozen mango dessert.

  36. Yikes! Murder Mart? Junkie Mart? Said in a polemic sense and with all due love and respect, but if you can't handle suburban Ballard, maybe it's time you headed for the housing tracts in eastern or northern King Co. For me, for the last 13 or so years, the Choice Deli on NW 8th and 65th NW is a nice little place for beer or sundries one may have forgotten at the Ballard Market. The owners are funny and sassy and tease regular customers. I prefer that to the “Have a nice day” thing. As a deli, well, it's not very choice, but I think that's funny in its own right. Flat walk or ride for those times you're too lazy to head down from 65th NW down to market. Sure, some characters hang out there, but just be nice. My experience is that they're all harmless and very down on their luck and some in need of mental health care.

  37. Even before it was a Hoagie's Corner it was a Trebor's Deli, a small chain of convenience store/deli's scattered around the city. I remember they made a decent sammy.

  38. Uhmmm, the title “Murder Mart” is already taken. It is what the Ballard residents call the Pit Stop on 15th.Why? Because an actual murder occurred there a few months ago. Anyone who has lived in this neighborhood for more than a week would know that.

    The establishment you are referring to is actually called the “Death Metal Deli” or “Heavy Metal Mini-Mart” for the reasons listed above, and many more.

    So, before you go trying to give names to the local establishments around here, take some time to learn your new neighborhood. I know it's hard to get to know the neighborhood when you are locked away in your gated community in the sky, and all of your friends live in Capitol Hill. But get out of the condo and actually walk (gasp!) around Ballard and talk to people.

    If you can't do that, then move back to Arizona or wherever you are from.

    Oh, and Jonathan is correct. The unsavory characters that lurk outside the Death Metal Deli are harmless and probably in need of mental health care. I like to refer to them as Trolls, since what Scandinavian community doesn't have a few trolls lurking around?

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