Skillet in Ballard closes down

A little off the beaten path — and still recovering from a flood last year — Skillet has closed its Ballard restaurant for good.

“After 5 years, we sadly announce the closing of our Skillet Ballard location,” the restaurant posted on Facebook yesterday. “Thank you to all our family, friends, customers and employees for all your support over the years. And a big hug for Ballard – thanks for the opportunity to be part of the fabric of the neighborhood.”

In August of last year, Skillet and next door neighbor Parfait were forced to close after a flood in the Greenfire building on 56th St. Skillet was shut down for over a month before it reopened.

“Despite our best efforts, our business did not recover from the flood and we have decided it is in our best interest to close this location,” said Ann Downs, president of the Skillet Group, in a statement. Meanwhile, Skillet still has restaurants in Capitol Hill, Denny Regrade and the Seattle Center — as well as its food trucks.

Skillet said its doing its best to relocate its Ballard employees to its other locations.

Geeky Swedes

The founders of My Ballard

28 thoughts to “Skillet in Ballard closes down”

  1. It’d be great if a restaurant catering to a better diet and not so grease and pork heavy could open in that beautiful space. I never ate there because I’m veggie and there was nothing zero zip nada I could eat there. Compare skillets failure in Ballard to the consistent hour-long waits at No Bones and future restaurants might see a market opening with skillets closure. I sure hope so!

  2. @ Lily May_ you obviously don’t know Skillet or the Ballard community very well. I’m vegan and have frequented this establishment. They were more than accommodating to come up with something within my chosen dietary restrictions without hesitation. The staff is amazing, the atmosphere is fun and family oriented and I recommend them out all the time.

  3. @ Matt: I hope you the are making “moderate wages”. Us that have been here for years now just sit back and scratch our heads. WTF isn’t now “expensive” around Ballard? So you work for government or in tech and don’t mind that $ 6.00 latte. I read something recently stating 1/2 of city employees are making over $100K/year. Between this and tech it’s NO surprise everything costs more. And more regulations and fees keep being throttled onto these places, making it tougher to simply feed people. Why not have these ultra-smart liberal politicians run a business, instead of their mouths and campaigns. After all, they know it all. Perhaps this is simply THE market, working.

  4. Maybe a state income tax would help hold down the fees for small businesses?

    Have to say that I only ate a Skillet once. The food was not good. Very flavorless chicken. Could have been fluke because people seem to like the place. However, I could never get up the enthusiasm to go back. Also ate at No Bones (even though I am a carnivore) and it was great! Can’t get in through the door though to get back. So yes, I do think there are market forces at work.

  5. Lets get back to some basic math. The primary cost for restaurants in Ballard isn’t ingredients, staff, or benefits. It’s rent. If you are paying $4,000 per month for 1,000 sq. feet you aren’t going to make it selling hamburgers for $5 or even $10. Unless you own the property or have an amazingly nice landlord the survival rate for restaurants in Ballard is dismal.

    I lost count of how many “American” cuisine restaurants we now have in Ballard but Skillet was at the bottom of that list in terms of the quality of food. They need to go back to their food truck roots and focus on a few things they do well that they can offer at a reasonable price – without the rent premium.

  6. Ate here a few times, and usually had a 30+ minute wait – then another long wait for the food. The servers seemed to be doing a decent job but then the check arrived and wow, chicken thigh and waffles for 2 with drinks will run over $50. I get the high overhead in Seattle but these prices are ridiculous considering the wait times AND the fact that most breakfast/brunch food is pork (cheap) potatoes (cheap) and eggs (cheap-ish). These hipster Americana places serve decent stuff but charge like it’s haute cuisine. Comedy.

    Tried Asadero last week – or rather I tried to try it – the wait list was an hour long and they don’t take reservations. I’m not waiting an hour plus cooking time for a high priced meal. Thanks.

  7. @Lily Mae:

    “Compare skillets failure in Ballard to the consistent hour-long waits at No Bones and future restaurants might see a market opening with skillets closure.”

    Um, not only is the food at No Bones mediocre at best, I have never seen or heard of an hour long wait, and I very close to it. I’ve maybe seen a larger group of 6 – 8 waiting for enough small tables to open up to accommodate them, but hour long waits?

    I’ll give No Bones some credit: they’ve lasted longer in that cursed spot than I would have expected, but the niche leather jacket wearing vegan crowd can only sustain an overpriced vegan restaurant for so long.

  8. Ballard is just full of whiners now. Wah wah things are too expensive. When things get tough you can either change with the times or just sit back and be old and bitter. We know which path the people on here chose. No wonder all your little bratty kids are complaining about having to take a slightly longer bus ride.

  9. Uh uh, sounds like Common Sense’s blood sugar is low. You better hurry up and order a $15 cocktail and a $30 entree now because it’ll be an hour before the almost-warm food is dropped in front of you.

    Careful, or you might end up tipping even after paying a 20% “living wage” surcharge hidden in the fine print.

    Uff Da!

  10. I got a biz idea, Common Sense:
    You and i open an overpriced gastropub called “Snarks” and we hire nothing but the most passive aggressive, sarcastic masters of “banter” we can find to serve $20 bowls of pork and beans to the rubes -er- New Ballardites.

    I smell success!

  11. I think Skillet had its moment pass. Their food was heavy, dense, and artery-clogging. Even their Kale ceasar salad was too much (non-stop kale). So, for me, it was fine for a visit or two on a quieter side street, but not a ‘must-visit’. That, combined with the long wait to reopen makes this news unsurprising.
    It seems that places have to be on Ballard Ave or specific blocks on Market to survive. Especially if they might be out of the ordinary. I’m not sure how long Gather (next to the ‘ballard library’ bartell’s) will survive at their spot.

  12. i know its the internet and all, but someone is closing their business – sure they have other locations/avenues of income, but this is likely very hard for the owners. what is the point of stabbing at the dead horse with negative, fairly mean spirited comments? the service industry is not an easy life, even for a successful business…

  13. Welcome to the world of:
    — $15 Now
    –Secure scheduling
    –Sick leave and soon paternity leave
    –increase L&I and Employment Security rates
    –more and more regulations.

    While it all sounds great…it comes with a thumping cost, not only to the business owner, but now the consumer. :

    Higher menu prices, fewer choices and a general decline in service….not to mention many places now treat the customer to a mandatory or indirect tax of 20%. service charge…which is also subject to sales tax and b&o tax.

    It also has decreased the number of min wage jobs and hours worked and ultimately the net earnings of minimum wage earners.

    $15 Now was supposed to lift people out of poverty and set things right…..I respectfully submit, glancing at the record number of homeless and lower earnings that it did nothing of the sort.

    High prices, limited menus, poor service…… business moving out of Seattle or limiting expansion.

  14. @Econ 101: You might need to go back to Econ 100. How do other countries offer livable wages, sick leave, vacation, p/maternity leave, L&I, workers rights, etc and yet food and general living is still affordable?

    I think America is doing something horribly wrong and it’s not $15 minimum wage. The $15 minimum wage is also not causing the homeless crisis; even the tiniest bit of research (read: Google search) would enlighten you.

  15. @ Truth

    Other countries have income tax rates of 50% to achieve the objective you set forth. You get half a pay check.

    Try reading the UW study on the $15 Now. It clearly shows that:

    a) Total minimum wage hours worked dropped (in an expanding economy)
    b) Total net min. wage earning drops (again in a booming economy)

    In fact the study was so damming that Mayor Murray halted the 5 year study.

    I submit, if this isn’t a problem, why did the City of Seattle halt a 5 yea study in year 2 and now seeks to censor the study and results out of existence?

    Where is the honesty and TRUTH in that as your moniker would imply?

  16. @Econ 101:

    “Other countries have income tax rates of 50% to achieve the objective you set forth. You get half a pay check.”

    Yet they have ample jobs, great healthcare, well funded education, investment in infrastructure and transportation, pensions, retirement assistance, safety nets, affordable housing. Europeans vacation all around the world, with their 4 weeks REQUIRED vacation.

    In fact, when you add up all the things Europeans automatically get with their 50% tax, Americans may actually end up having more come out of our paycheck. We just don’t see it as a tax, so ignore it.

    “In fact the study was so damming that Mayor Murray halted the 5 year study.

    I submit, if this isn’t a problem, why did the City of Seattle halt a 5 yea study in year 2 and now seeks to censor the study and results out of existence?”

    I don’t know and I’m guessing you don’t either. But you seemed to have jumped to the conclusion that it’s some massive coverup. Occam’s Razor would suggest that the study wasn’t showing anything significant in the positive or negative and the City decided to spend money on more pressing issues.

    Do you have any evidence to the contrary?

  17. @ truth.

    Perfect. Then lets all pay 50% income tax and remove the burden of these social benefits “min wage, sick leave, paternity leave, health care, pensions, transportation, housing, vacations etc” and quit transferring the burden on the backs of a business owner. It is deceptive, dishonest and inequitable to lay these burdens there and not pay the taxes to cover the benefits.

    Your solution appears to be abandon our economic system and and live as Europeans. I sincerely doubt most Americans would follow your proposal.

    The point of the UW – 5 year study was to monitor the effects of the increase in min wages on the economy. The then Mayor Murray bailed on the study when it showed the first signs of negative effects. That is a fact. The results were so negative, the Mayor then ordered a contra-study from USC Berkeley to cover up the stink.

    I guess we can simply speculate as to why…but unless you are a little prince no-nothing…it is fairly clear this is a “political move”.

    But if we really want to know….then the study should be reinstated. Why guess and why abandon the study?

  18. Ballard is the new Bellevue just without the diversity. Skillet was a fine place but the location was awful. As for t he discussion about price, it was spent for *advanced* diner food but yeah, rent, rent, RENT.

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