Old Ballard Liquor Co. now does food. And their crayfish party, pictured here, is bout ta be lit.
Old Ballard Liquor Co. now does food. Their crayfish party, pictured here, should be lit AF. More details on that in a second. But first... Courtesy of OBLC

Mollusk Has a New Chef

After losing original chef and co-owner Travis Kukull rather abruptly, South Lake Union restaurant Mollusk was left in the lurch chef-wise. No longer. They've hired Seamus Platt, who was most recently sous chef at Girin. He's taking over dinner service now, with plans to expand into lunch and brunch once he's settled.

According to an email from Mollusk general manager Cody Morris, he's hit the ground running. Or at least gardening. "We finally found our way through the chaos of Travis' sudden departure and are really excited about our new chef," he wrote. "He's been a great fit in his love of fermentation and making things from scratch. He started a garden within his first week and has been making stunning vinegars using our beer." Consider me intrigued.

Old Ballard Liquor Co.'s New (Tiny) Nordic Restaurant

Old Ballard Liquor Co. (OBLC), makers of deliciously proper Aquavit, decided that the spirits business wasn't quite gonna cut the mustard, so they decided to start putting mustard on plates. Charcuterie plates, specifically, among other delectables. OBLC's owner Lexi, who goes only by her first name, quietly converted her tiny distillery's tiny tasting room into a New Nordic cafe in June, opening to the public July 1. They're open whenever the tasting room is. The menu is as small as the space.

Having recently had the pleasure of dining at one of Lexi's inventive, far-flung pop ups—punnily named Tumble Swede—I can wholeheartedly recommend her food. The first Tumble Swede wasn't perfect, but the second, which got an abysmal amount of press, was straight up fire. The cafe is open this weekend with its full menu, despite OBLC also hosting a traditional Swedish crayfish boil at Pacific Fisherman Shipyard and a booth at the Nordic Heritage Museum's Viking Days. As an avowed herring lover, I am eagerly anticipating a moment alone with Lexi's Herrings Bord.

Chop Shop Got the Axe Last Week

Chop House, the flagship restaurant in Capitol Hill's eponymous Chophouse Row, shuttered its doors last week, leaving only a simple paper sign on the window. According to an interview that owner Ericka Burke gave to Seattle Met, the place was underfunded and overextended. Burke also blamed the area's near constant construction for limited foot traffic, although plenty of restauranteurs have bet big on the area, and many seem to be succeeding—on the same block, Renee Erickson's Bateau is consistently packed nowadays, and Pettirosso has managed to establish itself as a neighborhood staple.

Then Again, Two Blocks Away, Meat and Bread Just Closed

Canadian sandwich shop Meat and Bread's Capitol Hill location also fell victim to the lack of lunch traffic in the Union/Pike Corridor, running their last day of service on Saturday. Makes sense, as they were targeting a burgeoning but not yet established clientele of Capitol Hill 9-5 lunch-seekers, and doing it in a pretty cavernous space in a pretty hot shit building. I'll miss their commitment to $2 Rainiers and porchetta, but Meat and Bread's South Lake Union location is still going strong.

ICMYI: La Bodega Has Taken Over Former Little Uncle Window

For the last three weeks, the walk-up window formerly occupied by Little Uncle on E Madison (at 15th) has been serving up Manu Alfau's delicious Dominican sandwiches, having been converted to a new outpost of his Pioneer Square lunchtime success story, Manu's Bodega (formerly known as La Bodega). When I worked in Pioneer Square, I ate at that original location as much as possible, and was never disappointed. Now, he's got this new outpost on the Hill, and it's open 7 am-9 pm Mon-Thu, 7 am-1 am Fri, and 9 am-1 am Sat. Before 11 am, it's breakfast tacos only, but afterwards it's the whole thang.

Send restaurant tips, press releases, news, and gossip to tobias@thestranger.com. Food porn is more than welcome, but please no actual porn. This column is published right before lunch every Monday.