IS THERE A RESTAURANT equivalent for that phenomenon where a flurry of babies is born nine months after a big snowstorm? Because something similar is happening on Ballard Avenue. Perhaps it stems from the opening of the Kolstrand Building in August 2010, bringing two much-lauded restaurants—the Walrus and the Carpenter, Staple and Fancy—to the street’s far south end. This time around, new bars and restaurants replace shuttered ones, while other arrivals turned old stores into new eateries: a custom-built smoker in an old rubber stamp shop, retro cocktails in a former T-shirt shop. Navigating the changing terrain on this established restaurant row practically requires a map.
Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery Perhaps you’ve seen Hot Cakes stands at your local farmers market? Or sampled one of the liquid-centered jars of chocolate cake, or those ridiculous oatmeal-raisin-bacon cookies? Come May, owner Autumn Martin will have a home base for all this dessert alchemy. 5427 Ballard Ave NW, getyourhotcakes.com
Urban Family Public House In a few short months, this beer bar has developed a reputation for pouring brews, often Belgian-inspired, you don’t see anywhere else. 5329 Ballard Ave NW, 206-783-2337; urbanfamilypublichouse.com
The Sexton It’s tricky deciding whether to categorize this dispensary of Southern comfort as a bar or a restaurant. But that’s a debate best argued over a sizzling iron pot of mac and cheese and an artful bourbon cocktail served in a mason jar. 5327 Ballard Ave NW, 206-829-8645; sextonseattle.com
Bitterroot BBQ This stylized urban barbecue and bourbon joint is designed like a mullet: businesslike consumption of ribs and brisket up front, and a party in the back bar. Flavor the dry-rubbed meats yourself with one of the four house sauces. 5239 Ballard Ave NW, 206-588-1577; bitterrootbbq.com
Unnamed Hotel Project What is currently an enormous dirt hole around the corner from the Olympic Athletic Club becomes a boutique hotel next year. Weimann and Maclise, not content to have two popular Old Ballard establishments, will create a ground-floor restaurant and a rooftop event space.
The Gerald Seattle has speakeasy-themed bars aplenty, so the Gerald’s owners jumped ahead 40 years to create a destination for cocktails and bites inspired by the Jet Age and its attendant glamour. 5210 Ballard Ave NW, 206-432-9280; thegeraldseattle.com
Macleod’s Scottish Pub Bastille owners Deming Maclise and James Weimann now have a sibling whiskey den down the street. The place is smaller, but imbued with a similar sense of drama, thanks to its wedge shape, cozy mezzanine, and the map of Scotland painted on the ceiling. 5200 Ballard Ave NW, 206-687-7115; macleodsballard.com
Ballard Pizza Co. Ethan Stowell’s New York–style pizza shop will sell slices just up the street from his more polished Staple and Fancy. At press time it was slated to open in mid-April. 5107 Ballard Ave NW, 206-659-6033; ballardpizzacompany.com