Ivar’s set to close after 34 years in Ballard

ivarsIvar’s Seafood Bar Ballard (6000 15th Ave NW) will be closing for good this Sunday, April 13. The Ballard landmark is closing after being unable to come to a lease renewal agreement with the building’s landlord.

Check out the statement below from Ivar’s Management regarding the closure:

The Ballard Seafood Bar is closing at the end of business on Sunday, April 13. After many attempts to stay at this location and renew the lease, Ivar’s was unable to come to an agreement with the building’s landlord.

Ivar’s thanks its many fans for their loyal patronage over the years, and is directing customers to nearby locations, including the Pier 54 Fish Bar, Salmon House Fish Bar, Northgate Mall and Aurora.

Ivar’s Seafood Bars is a growing, local chain and it wants to re-open to the Ballard community as soon as it finds the right location in the coming years.

The Ballard Ivar’s location opened in 1980 and has been a landmark in the local community through an intense period of growth and change.

Ivar’s employee and local resident Sara Ducharme was sad to hear that the location was closing. “I grew up in Magnolia/Ballard and this Ivars is just another place on the list of places that we loved going to as kids. We are losing all of the major landmarks to gentrification and it is very sad,” says Ducharme.

According to Ducharme, staff were notified about the closure at the beginning of March, with the date then set for March 30th. Signs were put up and subsequently quickly taken down due to the closure date being changed. “The last I heard was the end of April, that was until I saw the notice yesterday that the new date is now this Sunday,” says Ducharme.

Ducharme reports that staff have been promised positions elsewhere, but she has not had a chance to speak to the management about it as of yet.

“We just plain and simply lost our lease, due to not enough business and rent increases. Probably much like what happened to Azteca,” says Ducharme.

This closure is yet another to add to the list of long-term Ballard businesses (Azteca, Great Harvest Bread Co., Savour and B&O Espresso) that have been forced to permanently close their doors this year.

Ivar’s will be open before the closure from 10:30 a.m. – 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, from 10:30 a.m. – 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and from 10:30 a.m. – 10 p.m. on Sunday.

Photo courtesy of Sara Ducharme.

31 thoughts to “Ivar’s set to close after 34 years in Ballard”

  1. Isn’t this playing a bit fast and loose with the word “landmark”?? This building looks just like any other fast food restaurant. The Taco Bell down the block is more architecturally distinct. I could see calling the Dick’s on Holman or the Red Mill/Totem House a “landmark” but not this. i also think it’s a bit of hyperbole to call Savour and B&O “long-term Ballard businesses”. Savour was only around for less than 5 years. B&O was only in Ballard for 2 years. Don’t get me wrong, I really liked both of these places and hate to see them close. Ivar’s seemed like just another fried fish place but I know it’s a local institution so I can see how some people would be nostalgic for it. Azteca I completely don’t get. Truly mediocre food. Also if these places were the great landmarks people make them out to be they would have had enough business to keep the doors open or to find a new place. Not like there’s a shortage of commercial spaces in Ballard. All the times I went past Ivar’s I don’t think I ever saw more than 1-2 cars parked in the lot. I also don’t see how Azteca could compete in the same area as El Camion, Carta de Oaxaca, Senor Moose, Malenas or Matador any one of which is vastly superior.

  2. Sad to see this go, it was a great local business that had a good amount of customers. Hopefully it won’t just sit as an empty lot.

  3. There goes Ivar’s in comes Ross, I see a trend to looking like every other place in America without character or personality, scary. Ivar’s is good to its employees and supports the community, I am sad to see them go. Maybe they will find another location locally, one can hope.

  4. Oh goody!
    I hope it’s the future home of more “luxury” apartment homes…with inadequate parking and vacant retail at street level! :(

  5. FYI, I’m fairly certain that this property has been for sale for some time now. It’s therefore slightly odd that Ivar’s didn’t just purchase the property outright, and keep the restaurant, if the business warrants… so that brings one to the obvious conclusion, they probably aren’t doing enough business to making purchasing the building make sense.

  6. Always makes me happy everything this place, interior decor, clam chowder, cute window painting and many other things….I will be so sad. This place

  7. I have lived in Ballard for almost 20 years and did not even know this place existed.

    I agree with others that the particular building is not particularly special. Clearly the waterfront locations (ship canal and down by the ferries) are more the flagship locations.

    I personally don’t mind seeing a not-very-healthy fast food joint close.

  8. I feel the tone of the article at the end comes across as misleading. Ivar’s lost their lease, but the others chose to close for other reasons. I’m not sure it was intentional, maybe it’s just a mix of a hot-button issue & the words “..forced to permanently close…”.

  9. that list of businesses had varied reasons for departing. “forced to close” is a phrase designed for page views, and it’s working.

    good job?

  10. This location for an Ivar’s always seemed out of place to me. Hope they get a better location closer to the water and with an out-door service bar… similar to what they have in other waterfront locations.

  11. Totally sucks in my book. That’s been there, in Ballard, since the grunge days. It’s part of the culture of pre-happening Seattle. Bum deal. Yet one more notch for Seattle, the generic city. And I’ve been here for 26 years. Hope they relocate somewhere close in Ballard–somewhere east of 24th and north of Market.

  12. @Anon

    We didn’t have In N Out where I grew up but nice of you to make an assumption. Also if you read my whole post (and obviously you didn’t) you would see that I very clearly stated: ” I know it’s a local institution so I can see how some people would be nostalgic for it.” What part of this sentence can’t you comprehend? Why don’t you try reading an entire post before making knee jerk reactions to it.

  13. I have eaten here a lot and it is one of the few places you can actually get a piece of wild salmon cooked well. Just because something looks one way on the outside doesn’t mean that on the inside. I feel like that is a life lesson. I noticed the many times I have been business was good, lot of take out. I notice that the staff was recognized by a lot of the locals that came in, and were very friendly. Sorry not everything has to be $45 for dinner! Sigh… Sorry Ivar’s I did more than my share! I will miss your Salmon Caesar!

  14. Skippers on 15th?? Last time we was there for allyoucaneatfish and beer the boys were subteens and I was driving a B210 with Nirvana in the tapedeck – Dude! Ivars 15th West was a great family place like that, and will be missed. In meantime, go to Ivars Northlake takeout, or Fishermens Terminal for tempura F&C.

  15. @Chris Yeah, I saw that single phrase, I was responding to the rest of your comment, which was berating the people who are lamenting the lost of a beloved place and listed many reasons why they are stupid. Just because you added that one phrase in the middle does not take away that fact.

    The California reference was in response to you elevating a foodie dump like Savour above a long standing fish and chips business, so maybe you should read and interpret MY whole comment before making a knee jerk reaction.

  16. The best part of My Ballard are the comments. Whenever I need some descent entertainment I head here. Always good for a chuckle or two and usually some pretty good contrast between old and new Seattle. Darn good insightful observations too. At least as good as local TV or print media (ex-newspapers). Yeah, Ivar’s an icon. Especially if you ever knew Ivar Haglund, part of the good old Seattle culture that is quickly disappearing now. It’s OK, give me a knee jerk right in the ribs if you want. ;-) Just remember what Ivar said about smoking salmon… the hard part is keeping it lit.

  17. It makes me really sad to read this, but not nearly as sad as some of the comments on this thread which illustrate the lack of connection to what makes Seattle a special place, and part of the reason why so many people want to move here.

    Ivars is a true old quirky Seattle business. It started in 1938 and always served fish from the the waters of the Pacific Northwest. If you grew up in Seattle, you always took visitors and anyone else you want to impress for fresh salmon at the Salmon House.

    While the building might not look special, Ivars is part of the old unpretentious Seattle that seems to have mostly faded away. I believe Ivar Haglund was Swedish, and his family had roots in Ballard. Ivars has always supported the community through donations and sponsorships of 4th of July fireworks and other events.

    As a center for fishing industry, its ironic that Ivars would be closing in Ballard, where you can now find almost any kind of specialty foodie joint, but no more fish and chips.

    I guess there’s always pork chops made by a guy from LA.

  18. @Cat Ivar was actually born in Seattle. His parents actually bought Alki Point from Doc Maynard. But that doesn’t matter, since people like Tom Douglas (Delaware) and Ethan Stowell (Germany) have moved in recently and dictated that we pay mucho dinero for mediocre food.

    It’s very sad to see Ivar’s losing out to Tom Douglas’s mediocre, overpriced empire. But that’s what the foodie zombie want, and if you disagree, you’re wrong.

  19. Interesting and somewhat ignorant comments. People will eat healthy or unhealthy food not because a joint exists or not. Its a free country brother! A better location would be better but it was a convenient location for a large number of seniors that frequented the place. Other sit-down restaurants are highly expensive for what they are worth (on Ballard Ave and Shilshole). Big plates, small servings, long waits, no parking, customers packed so close to each other, sometimes I fear the guy sitting next to me might sneeze into my salad. does not have to be that way, this is not NY or San Fran. Ivar’s provided (in my opinion) consistent quality food at reasonable price at a decent and clean location.

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