Stowell’s ‘Staple & Fancy Mercantile’ opens Sunday

This Sunday, Chef Ethan Stowell will open his new restaurant, Staple & Fancy Mercantile, in the Kolstrand building on Ballard Avenue.

“Everyone wants to know about the name,” says Stowell. “At some point, the building was home to a mercantile that offered both staple and fancy products for Ballard residents. The contractors uncovered a brick wall with a hand-painted sign during the renovation. The bummer is the sign is on the second floor, but we liked the history.”

Stowell will be in the kitchen most nights of the week and encourages people to try his $40 four-course chef’s choice dining experience, which will be off-menu items served family style. He will also offer an a la carte menu printed daily. “The two menu options showcase his restrained style of Italian cooking that focuses on clean flavors, stellar products, house-made pastas, and seasonal ingredients,” Kirsten Graham writes in the press release.

The 35-seat restaurant (with a small bar that seats eight) will be open seven days a week from 5 to 11 p.m. Reservations can be made by calling the restaurant at 206-789-1200 or booked online at

Geeky Swedes

The founders of My Ballard

76 thoughts to “Stowell’s ‘Staple & Fancy Mercantile’ opens Sunday”

  1. Are they a member of the Ballard Chamber of Commerce?

    Before dropping $40 a plate I'd like to know if they are part of the business group that's suing Seattle to stop the missing link trail extension.

    I wouldn't expect the GeekySwedes to included this information, given that they are Chamber members themselves.

    Progressives in Ballard should NOT support any Chamber business!!!

  2. @Foodie, I'm relatively new here so pardon my ignorance, but hasn't this blog covered the Burke-Gilman trail extension story pretty thoroughly? I could be wrong, but I've noticed a pro-trail slant rather than supporting the Chamber of Commerce's point of view, of which as you mention, they are members.

    Also, and with respect, $40 a plate is different than $40 for a 4-course meal, no? That's $10 a plate.

  3. I love that he used the text from the sign in the name. A nice little nod to some Ballard history.

    I absolutely hated Union, but in fairness, I have not tried any of Stowell's other restaurants, all of which look more up my alley.

    Can't wait to give this one a shot!

  4. Mmmmm… grilled asparagus with a fried duck egg and parmesan ($12).

    Stay away, old industrial Ballard types! This place is not for you.

  5. The slant has clearly been pro-Chamber, anti-trail.

    The GeekySwedes are here to make money and membership in the Chamber is more important to them then taking a principled stand against the lawsuit.

    By remaining in the Chamber, they are lending their name and credibility to the lawsuit to stop the trail. That's why the director of SeafoodFest touts their support and chides anyone who dared to raise the issue.

    Nice to know where their loyalties are. Now where are Ethan's? Hey Ethan did you join the BCoC?

  6. They're all essentially the same. It's a franchise model applied to expensive food. If you hated Union you are not going to magically love any of the others.

  7. Foodie
    Unintentionally, you and your Cyclonaut buddies are becoming Salmon Bay's greatest asset. Your constant yammering about BCC members (on-and-on-and-on-and-on for chry'sakes!) isn't winning any “swing” votes for the trail. You all sound like dickheads trying to extort support by the public hanging of BCC members. BCC members don't all support the stand on the trail, but nor are they single issue voters (as you appear to be.)

    Peddling a bike is something that many of us do. It just isn't our personal identity. Sorry. We're busy trying to run businesses and raise families, which is an environment the BCC is trying to foster in a balanced, reasonable way.

    I support the trail, in principle. Keep acting like a child and you won't find that support lasting any longer.

  8. For crying out loud, why does every issue have to turn to the trail??!?!? If you want to go on and on ad nauseum about the trail, go to the Forum and do it there.

    THIS article is about an interesting new addition to the community, so turning attention back to the topic at hand …

    I like the architecture and concept and am looking forward to try this new place in the 'hood. Welcome!

  9. Unless you are a Superior Court judge, your support for or against the trail makes no difference to me or anybody else.

    Many people in Ballard refuse to patronize Ballard Chamber of Commerce members. That's our right.

  10. then why do you read this site and post complaints on it? you're accomplishing absolutely nothing towards your goal of getting the trail built, nothing.

    instead, why don't you write a petition to the BCoC, Ballard Oil, etc. and go around and gather signatures to show how much community support there is for your cause? ballard seafoof fest would have been a golden opportunity, as evidenced by petition signature gatherers that have been there in the past. i would sign it.

    maybe because you know that the overwhelming majority of ballard – including owners of non-BCoC-member businesses – either don't know about the trail or care about more important issues like crime, schools, and keeping community centers open.

  11. “your support for or against the trail makes no difference to me or anybody else.”

    Since neither MyBallard nor the BCoC are “superior court judges”, why does their stand against the trail matter so much to you? Your own statement above says it shouldn't.

  12. What are the rules Geeky Swedes? I suggest that you do remove Foodie's off topic, repetitive, inflammatory and harassing posts.

    From the Forum and Classified Rules:

    1. … You may not post … any material that could be considered … abusive, insulting … harassing …

    7. Do not disrupt a forum thread with repetitive, inflammatory posts.

    Whether a Ballard business owner is or isn't a member of the Chamber of Commerse is off the topic of the blog post which announces a new restaurant opening.

    The repetitive, persistent use of this blog entry to highlight the issue of the bike trail is disruptive and inflammatory. Foodie has posted at least four off-topic comments on this comment thread alone.

    References to how the Geeky Swedes don't care about the trail or are anti-trail and suggestions that they are slanting their posts to shield other members from identification or criticism is reasonably considered insulting and harassing.

  13. They are the plaintiffs so obviously their stand matters sorry if that was not clear.

    MyBallard should do the right thing and leave the Ballard Chamber, at least until the lawsuit is over.

    And still no comment from “Staple & Fancy” HEY ETHAN, if you're going to open your latest franchise in Ballard you owe us an answer whether you support the Ballard Chamber of Commerce or not.

  14. Absolutely nothing?

    I can reach more people here and it's much easier than walking around Seafoodfest annoying people with a petition.

    Pesky commenters like me even got the GeekySwedes to add disclosures to all their stories about the Ballard Chamber of Commerce. So that's something.

  15. Define many. How about some quantitative data? Have any merchants dropped out of the BCC because of pro-trail pressure? Answer: no. (I called the BCC to verify this. It isn't an assumption.)

    Go get some data to support your arguments. My definition of many consists of a broader sample than just the people you do hot vegan yoga with.

    And if only the opinion of a Superior Court judge matters, and thus persuading us one or the other will make no difference, then it would appear you're wasting your time here. With that in mind, you might consider finding some windmills to harass.

  16. It is a legitimate issue whether new businesses in Ballard are members of the Ballard Chamber of Commerce or not.

    I don't think I've been abusive, insulting, or harassing.

    There is a boycott against Chamber businesses. Of course, as Chamber members, I would not be surprised to see the GeekySwedes remove any discussion of the issue.

    But so far, they haven't. And I hope they don't.

    Any word on whether Staple & Fancy joined the Chamber?

  17. I envy you, Foodie: clearly you have so much money in the bank that the Dow dropping 350 points in two days has no impact on you at all.

    Only someone whose life is devoid of “real problems” would get so fired up about this issue in times like these.

    I assume you're just a troll and the kick you get out of doing this is that you enjoy getting us all riled up. Otherwise, you wouldn't ignore the argument that aggressive tactics on behalf of the trail do more harm than good to your cause.

    Do you even want the trail built? Are you focused on your hoped for outcome at all? I doubt it. A real activist sets a goal, the interim goals along the way, and ways of measuring whether or not those interim goals are being reached. For example, if the tactic for posting on here is intended to put pressure on Ballard merchants, you need a way of measuring whether or not you've succeeded in putting pressure on the merchants. There should be some way to quantify that pressure and it's effect on the BCC. No merchants have dropped out. We now that for a fact. So, what's your metric?

    Like most activists, you don't really care about winning, you probably don't even care about reaching your political objectives: you're just in it for the party, a moral victory's good enough for you because that's enough to pat yourself on the back for civic involvement and persuade hot hippie chicks to part with their virtue.

    If you're going to fight for something, the first step is to take it seriously enough for other people to take you seriously.

  18. None of which has done anything to further your cause. The awareness you and your fellow trolls have created is really more of a backlash.

  19. So everyone who supports the bike trail must do “hot vegan yoga” ?

    WTF is that supposed to mean. The trail has huge community support.

  20. Don't think the opinion of individuals matters? Foolie?

    You think the Superior Court judge is the only one who matters now?

    I'm going to the Chamber (riding my bike!) and making a $50 targeted donation to the litigation fund. I'm encouraging others to do it. I'm making the donation in “Foolie's” name.

    Keep stirring the pot Foolie!

  21. You are sounding and acting like good old doug11 – repeatedly, tirelessly and insistently calling out a business – and the business owner – by name to reveal whether there any connections to the BCC. Stop it. You're annoying. Chances are the business is so busy getting ready to open and get up and running that it doesn't have time to sit here all day reading these endless missives from you. So stop. Please. Really.

  22. Thanks for proving that trail-supporters have no sense of humor and throw around words like “huge” and “many” without a shred of quantitative data to back them up.

  23. I think he's doing a great job. Keep the pressure on, Foodie/Pho !!

    It's obviously causing some “agony” and phone calls to the Chamber from Walter!

  24. Maybe enough fancy-dancy expensive restaurants will cause all the bitter industrial people to leave Ballard.

    And then we can have our trail!!!

    Bring on the oysters and fried duck eggs with parmesan, I say.

  25. so you got geeky swedes to add a disclosure about their BCoC membership. so did they see a drop in web site traffic or ad revenue as a result? did any non-BCoC members stop advertising on the site?

    so how did that further you cause of getting the trail built?

    “annoying people with a petition” is actually how you effect change. your pesky comments do nothing. just ask tim eyman, or the people who got medical marijuana legalized in Washington, or any of the other number of organizers of petitions that have resulted in legislation over the years.

  26. What's funny about yoga, exactly? Or being a vegan?

    Thanks for proving that your sense of humor is based on the needless derision of others.

  27. Someone around here should occasionally check the record before stating an assumption as fact. And that agony you're referring to is called a backlash, when people who previously didn't care one way or the other about the bike trail react negatively to your tactics instead of your cause.

    But, I digress. If you are, in fact, trolls, I've made the mistake of feeding you. Just as your whining won't get the missing like built any faster, my whining about your whining won't delay it.

  28. if it has such “huge community support” as you all claim, then it would seem to be a no-brainer and take little effort to write a petition to the BCoC and get people in the community to sign it. go knock on doors instead of trolling on this web site.

    even though i can't stand him and never signed any of his petitions, that's exactly how tim eyman leveraged community support to get the changes he wanted enacted.

  29. Walter – I agree with everything you say but please don't paint all cyclists and liberals with such a broad brush.

    I voted for Obama and I'm an avid cyclist who would very much like to see the trail built.

    However, I think people like Foodie and the other “cyclonaut” trolls are nothing but a nuisance. Their methods do nothing for their cause.

    Like I said, I would sign a petition to the BCoC to get them to drop the lawsuite in a minute. But I'm not going to boycott BCoC-member businesses, many of whom have been in Ballard for decades and helped build it into what it is today.

  30. I know plenty of cyclists whose vinegar to water ratio is much lower than that of Pho, sailor, or Foodie; and I support the trail in principle. It's going to get built eventually. That's fine by me.

    I just object to the tactics, as do you.

  31. I think you should just realize Ethan Stowell doesn't care about your abrasive comments. He is a little busy opening a restaurant to care about some guy who has too much free time on his hands. My guess, he hasn't even look at the post yet. Congrats Ethan, your restaurants are all great and I am excited to have on in our neighborhood.

  32. It's very easy to do once you see the name and can choose to not read it rather than perpetuate the nonsense. Don't give in! Be brave! Be strong!

  33. He better start caring about the communities in which he operates.

    If he is going to join the business groups that fight for what most upper-class, educated, liberals in the neighborhood want then he's going to have plenty of empty tables at his little restaurant.

    Ethan, welcome to Ballard… now what Ballard are you a part of? Industrial anti-bike Ballard? Or progressive finish the trail now Ballard?

    And yes, it really does matter. Please let us know.

  34. It sounds like you have your hands of some very interesting poll data. Could you post the raw data that supports your notion of what most upper-class, educated liberals in Ballard want? This could be very useful in my run for city council.

  35. Hey, this sounds like a neat place. I'll have to check it out. Nothing else like it in the neighborhood.

    I won't go if they feed trolls there, though. I won't go to any place where they feed trolls. In places where they feed trolls, the place starts getting more and more unpleasant, and then the good stuff about the place starts to be outweighed by the bad stuff, and then it's just no fun.


  36. guess what pho? i'm an “upper-class, educated liberal” and I can't wait to try out this restaurant. and I couldn't care less if it was a BCoC member or not.

    and for the record, the “missing link” is not a bike trail. like the rest of the burke-gilman, it's a multi-use recreational trail.

    instead of trolling on this web site, maybe you should properly educate yourself about what you're fighting for.

  37. oh yeah, pho, i forgot to mention that none of my “upper-class, educated liberal” friends who live in ballard even knew what I was talking about when I mentioned the “missing link” lawsuit and debate. none of them. and guess what else? one of them owns 3 separate businesses in ballard which are not BCoC members.

    but like walter suggested, you probably have some data that will prove that my friends and their views are just an anomaly, the exception to the rule. plesase do post this data.

  38. Wow, those are the only choices? For us, or against us? It's not possible to appreciate the good things the BCC does AND be in favor of the bike trail? How delightfully unambiguous it must be in your world.

    And I see no reason why MyBallard has an obligation to state the BCC affiliation of every business it reports on, any more than they have to reveal the gender, ethnicity, religious affiliation or political views of the business owners, unless it is germane to the story. Activists, do your own homework. Ask the business directly if they are a BCC member before you spend your money there. Don't expect the GeedySwedes to do it for you.

    Next you'll be wanting MyBallard to report on who the owner of each business voted for in the last election, or whether they believe in god. Your demands are inappropriate to say the least. As well as really, really annoying.

  39. well said, ABtm.

    you can actually look up all businesses in ballard in the BCoC's business directory…a free download from their web site. it includes both member and non-member businesses.

    regardless of whether this place is a BCoC member or not, the BCoC will list it in its directory

  40. Is Pho and Foodie the same person? They write similarly and seem to have the exact same point of view with no nuanced difference? Did I miss something?

  41. Well said! I've been a cyclist for 30 years and while I support continuing the trail development I also have to admit I just don't see it as the defining issue of our times and I'm not going to let it influence my every little decision.

  42. Simple solution folks, just go on the lower left side of each of Foodies comment and click 'flag'. '

    Maybe the Swedes can block his ISP and Foodie can go back to what he normally does: torturing kittens for their lack of support for the trail

  43. Yes, the person formerly known as doug11 apparently now has “Pho” and “Foodie” and others as his smokin'-hot sockpuppets.

  44. You may think I'm old and I could be considered as industrial.
    But I am looking forward to visiting the new place.

    If your pricing information is correct the grilled aspargus with fried duck egg and parmesan (yum as long as the yolk is runny and I have good bread with it ) based on my wage I think I can afford it, but thanks for the heads up Kelly.

    Tell you what, if I go there and think the 5.5 minutes I worked wasn't worth the price I will let you know.

  45. “and it's much easier than walking around Seafoodfest annoying people with a petition.”

    Yes it is and there is the pesky truth the the majority of people you would ask to sign would decline to do so. So much easier to sit at home trolling and dusting your Star Wars figures… what's that noise – oh just mom coming downstairs to put the laundry into the dryer.

  46. Wow! how about that new restaurant opening on Ballard? No joke, i am excited to have another great restauranteur on the street. I've been to HTCAW and am looking forward to eating at Staple and Fancy. As a business owner on Ballard Ave and a member of the BCC I say the more the merrier

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