Where are your Ballard brothers?

I have none. The business was actually founded in the 1980s by several drinking buddies who wanted to have a food booth at the Ballard Seafood Festival. They decided to offer blackened salmon, which became a huge hit with everybody. I was friends with one of the guys and bought the franchise in 1987. We've been doing festivals for 20 years now, and we're also the exclusive food vendor for Dawg Days at UW and the Rat City Rollergirls bouts at Magnuson Park.

When did the restaurant open?

In April of 2005. Before that, no one could get our blackened salmon burgers—which are our claim to fame—except at weekend festivals around Seattle. We'd have people buying 12 burgers at a time at Issaquah Salmon Days, which was our last festival of the year. They'd take them home and freeze them.

What makes the blackened salmon burger so addictive?

We use six-ounce fillets of wild salmon, my homemade blackening seasoning, and then grill them in a cast-iron skillet like they do in New Orleans. The meat is charred and spicy on the outside, and moist on the inside. Our burgers are delicious, too—they're made with natural Angus beef.

So what's in the blackening seasoning?

Lots of good stuff, including oregano, which people usually mistake for weed when it's being cooked. One year at Bumbershoot, the cops hazed us because they thought we were all potheads. They checked our booth out and put an officer out front the entire weekend.

Support The Stranger

Besides the delicious smell of burning weed, what do your burgers go well with?

They taste great with a cold beer. We don't serve beer and wine yet, but we're adding both to the menu soon.