Ballard Pizza Company slices craveable pies and fresh salads
When Seattle chef Ethan Stowell opened Ballard Pizza Company in April of 2011, families were quick to fill the line of tables that form a row in the long, narrow dining room. The restaurateur told the Eater Seattle that he wants to create spaces for "parents that want to go to a place where they don't feel like they're at a kids restaurant, and adults who don't necessarily want to commit to a full fine dining experience." Good news. His Ballard Avenue pizza shop gets it right.
An airy, Northwest-style industrial space featuring an open kitchen, kids will be transfixed by Ballard Pizza Co. staff twirling dough in the air and sliding pies in and out of hot ovens. A large 17-inch cheese pizza is on the menu for $18. The quality of the hand-tossed dough – perfectly chewy and baked until bubbly – justifies a higher price tag. Add toppings, including broccoli, pickled peppers and artichokes to the New York-style pies for a few bucks more.
The nosh may not define healthy eating, but it's fresh, homespun and preservative free. Pizzas like the Whole Hog, topped with waist-expanding amounts of coppa, prosciutto, salami and guanciale, are balanced by the lighter Funghi, sprinkled with assorted ‘shrooms and sage.
Ballard Pizza Co. offers accessibly priced starters and salads on par with plates you'll find at Stowell's other restaurants such as Staple & Fancy and Tavolata. To balance the menu's carbs, order a big bowl of baby lettuces tossed with a simple, satisfying vinaigrette. The lemony arugula and prosciutto salad is piled high, served with wide slices of parmesan balancing across the top. The chickpea salad is deceptively simple. Tender garbanzo beans gently tossed with shaved celery, lemon, sweet sultana grapes and good olive oil transcend. House-made pasta, including baked gnocci, is also up for grabs.
The beverage board includes a house red or white for $7 a glass. Eight beers are on tap, mostly from local breweries like Two Beers in Georgetown. If you're in the mood to indulge your kids, let them pick from a rainbow of sodas, including orange, ginger ale, black cherry and Mexican Coke.
Ballard Pizza Co. is the first in a line of planned casual concept restaurants to come from Stowell and his Grubb Brothers Productions team; the chef launched sibling pie shop Frelard Pizza Co. on Leary Way earlier this month. ballardpizzacompany.com
Editor's note: This updated article was originally published in August of 2012.