The beloved Vera’s diner has undergone a total transformation, and is now open as a pizza restaurant.
The diner on 22nd Ave NW closed suddenly in December after five decades in Ballard. Owner Vasilios Polimenakos’ family bought the restaurant in 1985, but decided it was time for a reinvention to keep up with the changing pace of Ballard.
“Breakfast seven days a week is nice but that trend went away awhile ago,” he says. “The demographic has changed. We did great with breakfast, but needed a makeover and to cater to night business.”
Vera’s is now all about the night business — they’re 21+ only.
The new restaurant will serve pizza by-the-slice — “big slices,” Polimenakos says. “There aren’t many options in Ballard for food past 10 or 11pm,” he points out, which is why they’ll cater to the late-night bar crowd and serve slices until 1am.
Their full pizzas will come in just one size — around 18″ — and will include some specialty pies such as a bacon cheeseburger pizza, and a chipotle taco pizza. They’ll have at least a few pizzas on deck available by the slice, and will have a limited menu for now.
The bar will have six taps featuring all local beer, with Stoup and Fremont on tap now. They’re working on expanding their cocktail menu, but Polimenakos says they’re not trying to be a craft cocktail bar. Rather, think Jello shots and Boilermakers in the future.
The decor has changed considerably: “Ballard needed a little bit of shiny, some sparkles and glitter,” Polimenakos says. Among the changes are zebra tiles on the floor, new shiny booths, a brand new bar, and a big, colorful mural done by local artist Rick Klu.
They also took out the low ceiling (reclaiming an extra eight feet of space), and cleaned up the old stain glass windows, which Polimenakos says makes the space look and feel completely different.
A little bit of the old Vera’s remains: they took the photos off the wall and placed them into the bartop in honor of the restaurant’s long history in Ballard.
“I’ve seen Ballard change four times since 1985,” Polimenakos says. “People who are new here need a new place call home too.”
Vera’s quietly opened over the weekend — their hours are 4pm until close, Tuesday through Sunday (closed Mondays for now).