Picolinos deploys patio tent

After nearly a year of working with the city and designers, the green and white tent at Ristorante Picolinos is now up.

The 30-foot aluminum pole was installed in the garden of the Italian restaurant last month so engineers could get exact measurements for the tent, which was deployed today. The all-weather tent covers the first level of the patio creating essentially another indoor eating space when the weather doesn’t cooperate. The upper level of the outdoor area is uncovered except for some small red umbrellas. The large tent can be opened or closed in about 20 minutes, owner Tom Bailiff tells us.

A look at the tent from underneath.
This is only the second tent of its kind to be permitted in the city. The first being at Teatro ZinZanni. (Thank you Dan for the tip!)

Geeky Swedes

The founders of My Ballard

48 thoughts to “Picolinos deploys patio tent”

  1. Wow. Once again the owner of this place takes his buzz kill mastery to a new level. Want to truly do our neighborhood a favor? Hand over your Olive Garden circus to someone who’ll do something cool with the space. This is just horrific.

  2. I enjoy the food, love what he’s done with the property, find the staff friendly and don’t mind the tent. Other than being periodically impacted by parking issues, I’m glad Pic’s is in the neighborhood.

  3. Something tells me some people would be happier if hobos put up a tent in the neighborhood, rather than a local, independent business that employs people, fills city tax coffers and serves food some people apparently enjoy.

  4. Picolino might limit its offensiveness if it wasn’t hogging the entire side of the street with its mediocrity. With so little space for business in this neighborhood, why not divvy it up for some diversity? That place is the mega church of independent restaurants. You could cram at least one more restaurant in that space. Then maybe you’d end up pleasing a greater portion of residents who incidentally enjoy giving their money to quality local businesses.

  5. “why not divvy it up for some diversity”

    What a great idea Charolastra an when we’re one dividing up their property, can we come over to your place and do the same? I’m sure you have more space than you need.

    “pleasing a greater portion of residents who incidentally enjoy giving their money to quality local businesses.”

    It seems the greater portion of people are already giving them money, hence they can afford to expand.

    What is it about capitalism and free markets that confuses you?

  6. “That place is the mega church of independent restaurants”

    What is it about Seattle that as soon as you become successful everyone lines up and starts complaining. This town worships failure like a disease.

  7. Charolatra …. One portion comprises their main dining room and bar, one portion is often used for parties and special events, one portion is used for their cafe and the back garden area is used for outside dining. Given how busy it gets there, I’d say they’ve done a nice job “divvying it up for diversity” and are “pleasing” many “local residents.” I’d have to count my family and several of my friends and neighbors in that group.

    Oh, wait. You just hate that they’re there at all. O.K., I get it.

  8. Apparently Charolatra thinks they should allow another restaurant onto their property to compete with them.

    I mean, it’s such a brilliant idea I’m amazed Charolatra hasn’t become a restaurant mogel herself!

  9. Like many here, I’m confused by HOW they stay in business…. Finally ended up there for a friend’s b-day celebration, and the food was AWFUL. Bland bland bland. Made me wish we’d driven the 5-10 minutes to the Classic in Fremont instead… Needless to say, we won’t be going back…

  10. The sun has been setting on this intersection for a long long time as the buildings fall further and further into disrepair.
    Perhaps now we should name the neighborhood “Sunrise Hill”.
    My congratulations to Bailiff and the 50some employees he supports!
    Wanna go camping?

  11. If you have family members visiting and you want them to see “Sunset Hill as it used to be”, take them over to 24rh Ave. NW and NW 65th St. I’m sure they will appreciate the flavor.

  12. I have to agree with the comments about the food being bad. We really wanted to like the place but with the exception of one entree of our four visits it was awful. The last straw was when the maitre d’ told me the reason I didn’t find the flavorless, crunchy risoto with a sauce the consistency of melted velveta appealing was because my palette was not familiar with true Italian cooking.

  13. “I have to agree with the comments about the food being bad.”
    Excuse me. You HAVE to agree or do you WANT to agree?
    The article was about the tent. How do you feel about that Ballard Neighbor?

  14. why is everyone against the people who work hard and succeed? if you don’t like it, don’t go there. i love picolinos, i love what they have brought to the neighborhood, and i love their food. take your prius the 1.5 miles to fremont.

  15. I really wanted to like this place – it is 2 blocks from my house. But, the service was pompous and the food was low mediocre. And they smashed bottles in the back the entire time we were eating (that was a nice touch – great ambiance). I can’t get psyched to go back. So I don’t consider them a positive part of the neighborhood. Last time I jogged past Piccolinos I heard the tuneless piano banging away and felt sorry for the patrons trapped inside. It would be nice to have a restaurant there – hopefully they will fail and sell their fixtures to a tasty, less pretentious restaurateur. The kooky tent is pretty funny though.

  16. Wow, apparently I am opposed to a local business succeeding since I think their food sucks?!? I thought the point to a local blog was to share news about the neighborhood. I.E. – I support plenty of local businesses, try to buy from small/local places as much as possible (and thanks, but can’t afford a prius…) and YET – I try to eat at places where the food tastes GOOD, not bland. My post said nothing about their role in the neighborhood; how exactly is legitimate criticism of a product being “against the people who work hard and succeed?”

    Great that you love it, you should spend as much money there as you want. I just won’t be spending any of mine, and wish I’d taken the neighborhood reviews more seriously before I wasted what I did spend there.

  17. This street is for small quiet businesses, not a big block long Italian restaurant (with a circus tent)! loud outdoor music, loud drunks, and parking nightmares. Disrupts 4 blocks of the neighborhood with the noise and parking problems!! Out of place!!!! Does not fit!!! anywhere up on Sunset Hill!!

  18. My husband and I also wonder how they stay open. If we were still in New York, we’d assume they were a front for the mob. They have so little to offer in the way of atmosphere or cuisine, that the silly tent will do nothing to draw us back.

  19. We had a lovely family meal there about 6 weeks ago. The service was great and they did not go to pieces when we shoed up with an extra person in our already large group. Plus we were able to walk from our daughter’s house.

  20. I just live up the hill a bit, I have been into eat there a dozen times now and I think they are a wonder addition to the neighborhood.

    The people who work there are all very nice. They have a lady who walks around playing the accordion and she is a fabulous player.

    The food is great, They have the Tribunali dudes doing pizzas. I would recommend the polleto all salvia or the spaghetti carbonara.

    Judging by how busy they are every time we go I would say the hater trolls on this thread are far outnumbered.

  21. Jeff’s right …Lot’s of cranks and haters as usual on the comment thread. Though that’s standard for MyBallard. Seems like they have nothing better to do.

    Picolinos had a rough start as we all know. I haven’t been there in many months until recently for lunch. They were hopping in terms of # of tables. Lamb Salad was excellent. The limonata was refreshing. Service by the maitre’d was attentive yet discrete. It’s time to give these guys another go. They seem to be dialed in. They’re here to stay and haters can always just stay away.

    The Patio Tent looks fantastic. Can’t wait to eat on the patio.

  22. I have eaten there foften and have always enjoyed the experience. Some folks may not appreciate the difference between Italian cuisine and Itlain-American food. Piccolino’s is real Italian food and the ambience is like being in Italy…..as my Italian guest this winter confirmed.
    Thank you Piccolinos for being a welcome addition to our neighborhood.

  23. Unbelievable….what a bunch of asswipes commenting, who would want to associate with you folks, let alone share a restaurant with you. Glad you hate the place…pleeeeeeze keep your promises and stay away while I’m enjoying my food and drink at Pic’s…

  24. People can like or hate this restaurant. So be it. Personal choice. I think the salient issue is the 3-ring big-top that moved into the neighborhood. I think it is lame and they could have done much better.

  25. I’m sorry, Name, but our experience has been such that I honestly feel that anyone posting anything positive must be a shill. Everyone I’ve spoken to, asswipes and gentlepersons alike have had a bad experience there.

  26. Gotta agree with B-Basement about the shills/zombies posting nice things . . . and yeah, it DOES look like a money laundering Op. Like, two years to remodel, tons of site improvements … “owner” Tom Bailiff is an accountant who was Trustee for the estate of a very kind woman who owned this building. Dunno what happened . . . anyway, the neighborhood could use some shops there, not a destination-mega-restaurant-bar-parking fiasco. Makes it hard to get to my beloved Rain City Video, too.

  27. Sorry to break it to all of you fans, but I *lived* in Italy. Picolino’s food is BLAND, and any real Italian – cook or not – would be offended beyond belief to have that paste described as “Italian cuisine”.

  28. What a surprise, a varying degree of opinions concerning food! The next thing you know some people in Ballard will actually have differing opinions about music as well….

  29. This thread is hilarious.

    The reference to the mob connection..cracks me up. Is it the Italian mob or the Bulgarian mob this time?

    Then we have the same old tired zombie comments (which seem to come from the same old two or three disgruntled goats) who never miss a chance to bad mouth the place about the food being mediocre, bland, the owner is evil, its too big for the neighborhood etc.

    However, the place is packed all the time and they get good reviews from the foodies and food critics alike. Sorry old goats the majority doesn’t buy your downer point of view. You’ll just have to get used to people having a smile on their face, the sound of laughter and people enjoying life.

    It’s a great addition to the neighborhood. We love it. The garden and new tent are way kewl. We’ve already booked our birthday party there. Woo Hoo!

  30. Wow, I make my first ever comment about Picolino’s or ANY restaurant in Ballard, and my comments are described as “the same old tired zombie comments (which seem to come from the same old two or three disgruntled goats)?!?”

    I find the obsessive & aggressive support for this place just weird, and honestly suspicious. If you were just “neighbors” (with no vested interest), you wouldn’t react so passionately to others opinions….

    I fee sorry for your guests; bad mouth others all you want – it won’t make the FOOD taste better.

  31. samkin…three posts yipping and complaining about the restaurant.

    Isn’t that, how’d you put it– just weird, suspicious or are you just being obsessive and aggressive?

  32. Yes Samkin, as you suspected most of us on this thread are plants. We get paid by the Bulgarian mafia in day-old scones to talk up Picolinos (and diss Walter’s – he’s mean!) in online forums.

    And in the spirit of this thread, it is difficult to take your food criticism seriously when you compare the low quality of this food to a restaurant that has been closed for two years:

    “Made me wish we’d driven the 5-10 minutes to the Classic in Fremont instead… Needless to say, we won’t be going back…”

    Sorry man, Fremont Classic Pizzeria & Trattoria shut down in 2008. I think you need to get out more.

  33. I watched Fremont turn into a nasty bar neighborhood (there are something like 19 bars there now) and now I’m seeing the ‘hot bar scene’ has moved to Ballard. It’s sad. And i’m just wondering. . .i’ve seen so many restaurants open and fold here since 2007, but at Pico’s the money just keeps on flowing into the place. And it’s not that busy there. Just sayin’.

  34. Actually, the Classic changed name because it partially changed ownership but kept almost all the same staff, menu, setting, etc. I still think of it as the Classis because of years and years of eating there and because of my affection for the old owners. But thanks for your concern for my social life .

  35. Samkin, that is very good news! I loved the Fremont Classic and went there for years and years. I have not been back since they closed but will do so shortly.

    And sorry for the snarky comment. This forum makes it way to easy.

  36. No worries. :)

    Best thing ever about the Classic – years ago, two good friends of ours got engaged on the bench out front. A few months later, we noticed it had been replaced… We asked what had happened to it, and the owner explained they’d replaced it, but taken it home & someone (I think her dad?) had fixed it up again for them & put it out in their garden. I told her the story about our fiends, and without hesitation, she volunteered that she was sure they’d be happy to give it to us… We gave them some $ to buy a brand new one, and we able to give our friends an excellent wedding present… That bench has sat in their garden ever since as a sweet reminder. The Classic will always hold a special place in my heart!

  37. I throw my support behind Samkin and others who claim the food is bad and bland. When we moved to Sunset Hill about 3 years ago we loved the neighborhood but longed for a nearby bar we could stroll to for a beer or glass of wine and a light meal. Then along came Picolinos. The prospect thrilled us. Sadly, the food did not live up to any kind of standard. We love love love good food but will tolerate mediocre food in exchange for convenience and lovely ambiance. Picolinos is intolerable. We’ve tried it about 4 times and can’t bring ourselves to go back. We also found the service to be hit or miss, but mostly miss. Pleasant staff, but not necessarily good service. A good, or certainly great, restaurant would be welcomed. I don’t wish for others to fail, but I understand the sentiment expressed that if Picolinos went under perhaps a better quality restaurant would open.

    That block has a lot going for it. We fully support Chuck’s green market, Rain City, and Walters (we go for the ice cream, but the coffee sucks so we make it at home or go elsewhere.) A restaurant worth eating at would be the icing on the cake.

  38. late to the party, but I took my mother to Pico’s about 6 weeks ago. We arrived on a Saturday evening around 6pm, told them we had tix to the theater, they seated us right away and suggested items that would not take long to prepare.

    We both enjoyed the food, the service was good. My one and only complaint was that the tables were so tightly packed together, that it was difficult for the service staff to maneuver dishes around the occupied tables (and for us to be seated).

    I have traveled all over Italy, and yes, this it the “real deal” italian food. People also have “culinary movies in their head” of what “real” italian food tastes like. I guess it makes them feel better than the dirty underclass that eats at McDonalds.

    The only thing worse than a wine snob is a food snob!

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