Countdown to Burger Town
Shake Shack is coming to Seattle. This much we knew. But the beloved burger chain has confirmed that it's opening at the end of September, though an exact date has not yet been shared. (Stay tuned.) Still, ready your urban camping skills because the countdown to ShackBurgers, cheese fries, and hand-spun shakes inch ever closer to its new home at 2115 Westlake Avenue. Side note: Shake Shack founder Danny Meyer was in town last week and dropped by the Little Fish popup inside JarrBar. We're counting the day until the Little Fish opening with just as much anticipation. Speaking of fish...
A Friend to the Orcas
Sea Creatures, Renee Erickson
Yes, a new General Porpoise outpost in Laurelhurst has opened. Yes, Renee Erickson's latest spot, Willmott's Ghost, inches towards opening too. And yes, Sea Creatures' compassion for our region's orca whales abounds this week: In a newsletter the restaurant group said that it "cares deeply for our oceans and aquatic life," noting that they couldn't turn away from southern resident mother orca whale, J35 aka Tahlequah, whose public mourning seemed to be attempt "to call our attention to our beloved orcas and the sad state of their environment." And food supply. The whales are starving, confirmed Dr. Sam Wasser, director of the Center for Conservation Biology at the University of Washington (who also launched the university's canine scat detection organization that finds and analyzes whale feces), in a Seattle Times report. Orcas feed on chinook salmon, so, at Sea Creatures, that means saving more of those king salmon for them. Erickson goes into more detail about how they're using their dollars to support the whales in this Seattle Times article.
Boozing in Ballard
Fair Isle Brewing
Farmhouse brewers Andrew Pogue and Geoffrey Barker have finally announced that they've signed a lease for a space in Ballard—the brewery capitol of Seattle. The cofounders of Fair Isle Brewing have been on the receiving end of much buzz for last couple of years, and come 2019 Seattleites can taste what the mixed-fermentation farmhouse ale hype is all about. Seattle Met's Stefan Milne wrote a beautiful article last year all about their Fair Isle and how "farmhouse is like the rustic sourdough of beer." Stay tuned for more updates on the forthcoming brewery as we have them.
Old Ballard Liquor Co.
After exactly one month (the aquavit distillery shuttered on July 31), owner Lexi—no last name, just Lexi—will reopen as a Nordic bar and restaurant on Friday, August 31. As a distillery, liquor regulations were often hard to contend with: tiny pours only, Washington's privatized liquor sales meant aquavit made it onto fewer shelves. "It decimated our craft distilling industry," Lexi said in a newsletter last month. Well, the distilling operations are no more, but OBLC will remain a go-to for the Scandinavian spirit (the alcohol and the enthusiastic mindset). And it's former cafe offerings, charcuterie and the like, have leveled all the way up. Some things to look forward to: dill aquavit martini, Swedish sangria made with chilled glögg and aquavit-plumped raisins, lutefisk handpie (!!), herring board, Nordic charcuterie, and—why not?—"just a hot dog," reads the menu. Lexi also helped develop the menu at another Ballard watering hole, Skål Beer Hall, opening this fall.
85ºC Bakery Cafe
Huzzah! After the beloved Taiwanese bakery chain expanded first to Tukwila, then Lynnwood and Federal Way, Seattle can finally claim one for ourselves. Soon. Right now, in the International District, an old corner store (formerly Union Station Market) at Jackson and Fifth sports papered-up windows and sign declaring its soon-to-be inhabitants. No word yet on 85ºC's opening timeline, but expect that day, when it arrives, to come with a long queue down the block.