Gather Kitchen + Bar Graces Ballard With a Big Octopus
A giant mural of one, that is, not an actual live cephalopod. They are serving dead ones, like the one in the photo above, and they look delicious. The new tapas joint officially opened over the weekend in the Ballard Commons development, with a made-for-fall menu from chef-owner Ryan Donaldson. Though fall food in Seattle is pretty much drowning in pork product, I have to admit I am still intrigued by his fried pig ear fries. And his pork belly preparation—with clams, piperade, sherry, and potato—sounds like a slightly lighter take than most.
Everything at Gather is as locally sourced as possible, with ingredients from Farmstand Local Foods and heirloom grains from Anson Mills, and there's a shitload of white tile everywhere, so you know it's a 2017 restaurant debut. While the whole "dining in a subway station" thing does nothing for me, the fact that buying from local, sustainable food hubs is pretty much industry standard for nice restaurants nowadays is pretty cool. Change starts at the top!
If you're curious, MyBallard has some photos of the interior for you. Hours will be 5-10pm Sun-Thu, and 5-11pm Fri-Sat.
Queer/Bar is Here
And, obviously, queer. Joey Burgess' latest venture is in the former Purr space, it's officially open as of last Saturday, and it's intended to be a bar that welcomes everyone from the LGBTQ community. Gay, bi, trans, uncertain, or even just allied, everyone is welcome. Except bigots, of course.
Additionally, Burgess told me recently that his goal is not just to open a really fun place for queer folk and allies to go dance and drink, but also a place for the community to gather and get political. As he put it, "Pride isn’t going to be about parades anymore. We have issues that we need to get out in front of, and we need the space to be able to facilitate that."
On top of fighting back against whatever the latest Trump administration affront to human dignity is, they'll be keeping a heavy focus on the local queer arts scene, which spans everything from guest DJs to drag queens to chefs, Burgess says. Indeed, food will be a focus, as Burgess bemoans the lack of a distinctly queer culinary scene. There will be a base menu, but also an ongoing series of pop-ups from queer chefs.
"Come in here, and if you’re looking to hone an idea, come for a two-month residency," he urged local chefs. "Do your thing!"
Tchau, Tempero do Brasil
Probably the longest standing Brazilian restaurant in the city, Tempero do Brasil, is calling it after 18 years. The north-Ave stalwart hid out in the ground floor of a funky yellow house about a half a block down from Ravenna Blvd, serving up Bahian delights and plenty of Caipirinha to it's adherents. I have to admit, I haven't been since my 9th grade exchange student Leandro introduced us to the wonders of acarajé. After about a decade of assuming it would always be there, I'm kicking myself. And planning one last visit, as they're open until the 28th.
Good Weather Bicycle & Cafe Comes to Chophouse Row
Good Weather has been quietly fixing bikes in a space above Purr since 2016, before Purr became Queer/Bar, but now they've evolved into a chic, airy cafe in the Chophouse Row. CHS Blog has some nice photos of the space and food, which will trend towards chic, airy cafe fare. Danielle Hammer is responsible for that, while the original duo behind the bike shop, Jason Marqusee and Brandon Waterman, round out the partnership. I don't think I'll ever get one of their "beautiful, long-lasting frames," as my shitty old Rockhopper refuses to quit, but I'm excited to stop in for a quick repast. It looks lovely in there.
Seattle is Finally in the Dough Zone
The first Seattle location of the popular eastside dumpling chain Dough Zone is now open in the International District, Eater reports. Stranger food writer Angela Garbes considered it an inexpensive answer to the insane popularity of Din Tai Fung, and she's got a heckuva palate, so this is a win for Seattleites.
Babirusa Will Close With a Bang
Seattle Met's Rosin Saez has the scoop on the eclectic Eastlake hole-in-the-wall's end. Chef Charles Walpole and his front-of-house partner René Gutierrez have decided not to renew the lease, apparently. Their other venture, Blind Big Bistro, shuttered last year. Babirusa's official last day is December 2.
This isn't the end of their collaboration, they told Saez, and they're actively searching for a new location near Eastlake, so as to keep in touch with their regulars. For now, they've got a bunch of big send off dinners planned, so there's some silver lining to this news.
In October, they're doing a seven-course pop-up in Blind Pig for $65, on the 21st and 22nd. The menu will include "lamb tartare with smoked tomato, quinoa, and sunflower seeds; poached oysters; ricotta dumplings with chanterelles and rainbow chard; goat shoulder with date mole, coconut, and pumpkin, plus more," according to the Met.
After the official closing date, there'll be "a series of all-out bon voyage dinners" from Dec 7-10. They're $75 with an optional wine pairing. Reservations are available for both right now. Call the restaurant at 206-329-2744.
The Ruins is Also a Wrap
The fancy, weird private dining club is up for sale after 24 years, reports the PSBJ. And they're also seeing themselves off in style, with a last hurrah on January 2. No word on the fate of their animatronic elephant, but I can't wait to see whose yard it graces if there ends up being an auction.
The Cell Phone Lot is About to be Lit
SeaTac has been shaking up its food offerings quite a bit, recently pissing off a bunch of people with the news that the airport Ivar's was out and a whole slew of newer, more eclectic places were in. Now, they're experimenting with food trucks, which will soon grace the cell phone waiting lot, per The Seattle Times. Because nothing enhances the experience of chainsmoking and obsessively checking Find Flights like some Ezell's chicken tenders, right? There will be two shifts daily, from 9:30am-12:30pm and again from 5pm-11pm. You can check out who's serving here.
Lastly, a Couple More Closures
Elsewhere, Eater reports that Lake City's Mo & Lu Pasta Co. is kaputt, as is the popular Fu Man Dumpling House in Bitter Lake. Apparently, Fu Man's owners are headed back to Taiwan to visit family, but plan to return and relaunch at some point.