NFT Seattle Ballard / Loyal Heights

Ballard / Loyal Heights

The residential focus of Loyal Heights means family green areas like Salmon Bay and Baker Parks and a half-dozen learning institutions, including Seattle's coolest, Ballard High School. But one blockbuster drive from 85th Street (where Mt. Rainier looms over the city like a giant ice cream cone) down the ever-active 15th Avenue Northwest, and Ballard's long-lost neighborhood brother is found again.

The eateries here are as eclectic as anywhere in town. Try Larsen's for great Danish pastries. Chuck's Hop Stop has dozens of beers on tap and a rotating lineup of food trucks outside.


On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Karen Watson
Photo:  Karen Watson

I'll admit it. I eat a lot of pizza. And by a lot I mean both in frequency and that I can house an entire pie by myself. A new pizza joint always gets me drooling so I couldn't wait to get in Delancey and devour a wood-fired fourteen-inch. And wait I did--two hours on a Friday night. But oooooooh, it was worth it. Each pizza is given individually crafted, artisan attention like the chefs are writing a little sonnet just for you. The crust is rolled to delicately thin perfection and topped with house made tomato sauce, Grana, fresh mozzarella, and things like homemade pork fennel sausage or Crimini mushrooms. If you are in the mood to split a pizza (really?) don't miss out on starters like blood orange and beet salad or organic beef carpaccio. After repeat visits trust me when I tell you that whatever you try, you won't be disappointed. Delancey is the "pizza project" of Orangette blogger and author Molly Wizenberg, along with her husband Brandon Pettit. Belltown and Pike Place can have Tom Douglas. There's a new celebrity chef in town and she's set up shop in Ballard.

Posted By:  Karen Watson
Photo:  Karen Watson

Smokin' Pete's BBQ
The catfish po'boy sandwich is extraordinarily huge, the Mac-n-cheese is the good simple southern kind, and the hush puppies have just the right hint of crab boil spice. Unfortunately the star of the show is a bit weak--the BBQ sauce is unexpectedly flavorless. It's missing the essence, the bite, the tang that separates it from plain old ketchup. For a BBQ joint that's like Van Halen without David Lee Roth. My boyfriend did think the brisket was cooked perfectly and gave the ribs high marks as well. But without a worthy sauce for the meat to mingle with, it comes up a bit short. However, all the sides were great and the cooks at Smokin' Pete's seem to put as much love into them as they do the meat. Here the potato salad and slaw aren't simply an obligatory sloppy addition to the BBQ combos but hold their own, tempting you to stray from your meat of choice. And I mentioned the hush puppies right? Those little fried cornmeal delights are unheard of in these parts so thanks Smokin' Pete's for adding them to your menu. For a Maryland girl that is HUGE.

Posted By:  Karen Watson
Photo:  Karen Watson

Wild Mountain Café
Oh, Wild Mountain Cafe, why did it take me so long to find you? I drive by your lovely eggplant facade every day on my way to work but it took a serious breakfast craving for me to stop. If I had known about the stellar potato goodness you keep hidden inside I would have been calling in late every day for the last year. Along with the delicious roasted garlic potato cakes, you serve slices of homemade coffee cake bigger than my head. Not that I can realistically eat all that sugar, but it's important to never give up. Something called a Piggy Patty Pile (French toast layered with sausage and fried eggs) makes me want to eat meat and gets me giggling over the name. Even though you made me wait (not too long though), you kept me content with your self-service coffee bar. I am already anticipating my next visit and this time I plan on conquering a cinnamon roll. Although you don't like it, your cozy eating spaces make me want to linger. But I suppose I could relinquish my seat and share your culinary wonders with the masses.

Posted By:  Karen Watson
Photo:  Karen Watson

Larsen's Danish Bakery
"Dude this kringle is amazing." This was the unanimous response among my friends at a recent Sunday brunch. We were all spraying buckshot crumbs of it while trying to talk and shove more buttery goodness into our mouths at the same time. Larsen's has been supplying the same breakfast treats to office break rooms and holiday brunches for over fifty years. Around Ballard this corner bakery is a multi-generational wonderland where grandparents take the little ones to enjoy the same Danish they ate as a kid. Even faraway Vikings can tame their cravings by ordering over the internet and having their kringle delivered to their door. The overwhelming cardamom aroma that greets you at Larsen's takes me back to baking day with my German grandmother. My world is definitely a better place because I have butter horns within walking distance.

Posted By:  Karen Watson
Photo:  Karen Watson

The Original Pancake House
Is anyone else in Seattle tired of the privilege of waiting 45 minutes to indulge in a ginormous helping of breakfast foods on a Sunday morning? I don’t care if it is free range, organic, vegan, or wheat grass infused. For fuck sake it’s breakfast: I want grease-tastic, carb-loaded, diner fare. The Original Pancake House is a godsend for an old-fashioned girl from Baltimore like me. Gingham curtains shade the windows, pine paneling casts a yellow blush across the room, and collector plates loom down from on high. Pancakes are obviously the showstoppers here, although they do have competition from the skillet-sized omelets. But these babies know how to work it with a fluff index of at least a quarter of an inch and fifteen options to choose from. Next Sunday morning, pull your disheveled self out of bed and head down for some medicine because nothing cures a hangover faster than a gut full of bacon pancakes. Now I’m a vegetarian, but back in the day I could eat the hell out of some pig pillowed in buttermilk batter. The best part is it won’t require endless waiting to receive your fix.

Posted By:  Karen Watson
Photo:  Karen Watson

With the amount of time I spend here, I am beginning to worry I will one day be featured on an Oprah episode about hoarders. But the delight procured by discovering a dainty English tea cup or cashmere sweater is simply too pleasurable to resist. For people who love bargain shopping would call this Goodwill a hotspot for serious thrifting. Those people are wrong. Come for the furniture, the kitchen gadgets, the books! A well-seasoned cast iron pan, a foosball table, or a Turkish phrasebook can all be yours for the taking. The staff is a bit surly, the checkout line is normally hideously long, and good luck finding someone to let you into the dressing room. Well organized shelves, clean bathrooms, and good lighting make this store seem like Nordstrom compared to some of the other Goodwill locations around town. On the weekend, be prepared to fight for that rust orange shaggy wool sweater.

Posted By:  Jessica Baxter
Photo:  Jessica Baxter

Copper Gate
If you aren’t descended from the Vikings, it’s sometimes easy to forget that Ballard is the Little Scandinavia of Seattle. But the Copper Gate, with its unpronounceable menu and décor, is a potent reminder. The walls are adorned with paintings (some of them black light!) of Nordic beauties in the buff. The bar is a freaking Viking Ship, the sails of which are papered with a busy collage of the aforementioned nubile Norsewomen. Even the ladies room is decorated with naked ladies (along with an inspired diorama of Barbie Dolls). Sadly, I can only imagine what the men’s room looked like. My only design complaint is about the furniture. The walls and bar scream dive, but the tables and chairs are all Belltown. Once you order, the Belltown implications make a bit more sense. Beers, meats, and cream soups say “feeding the famished dock-workers,” but small portions and specialty cocktails say “Scandinavian Porn bar! How kitchy! How delightful!” The food is pretty good (Blomkalsuppe and Grill Ribbe hit the spot) and the walls are fun to look at. (Did I mention the bar is a ship?) I just wish the place were a little bit dirtier.

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