Mike's Chili Parlor
1447 NW Ballard Way, 782-2808
Description: A long-standing family-owned chili joint in Ballard, just off the Ballard Bridge.
Celebrity happenings: A scene from 1985's star-studded yet unremarkable Twice in a Lifetime was shot here. Playing an old man in a dirty sweatshirt, Gene Hackman is crumpled up against the pool table while contemplating leaving his lovesome wife (Ellen Burstyn) for some redheaded floozy he just met in a bar (Ann-Margret).
Current happenings: The overhead lighting is bright, which gives a wholesome feel, and nobody appears to have any major drama going down. Brooding in family-owned chili joints just isn't that cool anymore.
Happy hours: Mon–Fri 3–6 pm, Sat 10 pm–midnight.
Happy-hour drink specials: $2 PBR pints, $2.50 domestic pints (Rainier, Bud), $4 micros (509 Style Ale, New Belgium Hoptober), $1 off all pitchers, $3 well drinks.
Happy-hour food specials: None, but order the chili anyway. The recipe blends Mexican, Greek, and Chicago-style ingredients and hasn't been changed in decades. The chili is hearty on its own ($3.75/cup, $4.75/bowl), or you can get it draped over your meal ($6–$12 for chili with hot dog, burger, pasta, steak, or fries).