Newcomer Geo’s Cuban and Creole Is Bringing the Heat to Ballard
Two cuisines known for big flavor come together in spicy sandwiches and hearty gumbo.
If the name didn’t already give it away, the menu at this cozy cafe down the street from Ray's will be a combination of Cuban and Creole cuisine. Both food traditions have a strong Spanish influence—heavy on spice, seafood, and comfort-style dishes.
Chef-owner Geo Rodriguez moved to Seattle from Cuba about eight years ago. Since then he’s been working in kitchens around the city—I last saw him at Serious Pie in 2007. He and his wife Kim Gianotti, a front-of-house restaurant alum herself, searched for a space to buy for some time before landing in the old Purple Cow spot at 6301 Seaview Ave NW.
Geo's will be open for breakfast and lunch hours. Espresso and pastries will be common morning fare with a few egg dishes as well. A traditional Cuban sandwich with house-roasted pig, ham, melty cheese, mustard, and pickles should be a favorite for lunch. Rodriguez also mentioned a spicy tuna sandwich and gumbo; heat and spice will apparently be a strong component to his cooking.
The layout is set for counter-style service with seven tables inside and about the same on a white-latticed front deck. There's no way to miss the bright traditional Cuban colors like sunny yellow with blue trim, and that vivaciousness continues inside with lime greens, sky blues, and overall tropical delights. The 600-square-foot cafe has high ceilings with exposed wood beams; proximity to the water helps with that island feel.
When I asked Gianotti about their vicinity to Paseo, known for its obsessive following of Cuban sandwich devourers and mile-long lines, she proclaimed her love for the Caribbean joint. And from the sound of it, both spaces are excited to help each other out and share the business of the neighborhood. The couple hopes to open Geo's sometime this week, barring any of the normal setbacks. Look for updates here on Facebook.