Opening Dispatch

Hear Ye, Hear Ye: Sawyer Opens in Ballard

Mitch Mayers brings oxtail nachos, rotisserie porchetta, and fancy choco tacos.

By Cassie Sawyer August 1, 2018

A pretty space for nachos and a beer. Photo courtesy of Brooke Fitts. 

It's here, folks: Welcome restaurant Sawyer from the mind of Mitch Mayers. It officially opens in Ballard on 22nd and Shilshole today at 4pm.

The name is a nod to the building’s past life as a 1920s sawmill. Mayers picked the location, mostly because of its close proximity to his home (can't beat the commute), but adds, “I love Ballard and the restaurant row mentality, and I love that I can come to work and open up the windows and smell the sea breeze.” The space was previously home to the Kickin’ Boot Whiskey Kitchen and has seen an intense remodel. Expect a light and airy room with floor to ceiling windows facing west, exposed beams, and booth and bar seating for up to 115 guests.

Chef and owner Mitch Mayers, most recently the former chef de cuisine of Lark, is bringing a conglomeration of his experiences to the menu—his time at the Herbfarm as an intern, his family's concession stand at the state fair, and his love of whimsical pairings and fine-casual dining. “There’s a side of me that loves fine dining," says Mayers, "but I came from a family of carnies, so I also love fry food.”

And a combination of those two elements are apparent on his menu. Nachos have oxtail, a Wagyu beef burger is “animal-style,” matzo balls involve bone marrow, and cheesy bread comes stuffed with nduja. Chicken and porchetta are rotisseried over a pecan wood fire and served with seasonal sides like creamed corn, summer squash, and housemade brioche flatbread and pickles. Elegantly reimagined choco tacos star on the dessert menu with a graham cracker waffle cone shell wrapped around peanut butter ice cream and Italian meringue. 

The bar menu is designed by Tony Ramos, who hails from Percy and Co. and Mbar, so we’ll see fanciful cocktails like this little mezcal number: The Lobo with cantaloupe, lemon, Douglas fir, and chef's tears (aka saline), also local beers and a thoughtful wine selection.

Sawyer is open seven days a week for dinner, Sunday through Thursday 4 to 10 and Friday and Saturday 3 to midnight, with eventual brunch on Saturday and Sunday.


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