Get Stoked for Summer: Outdoor Dining in Ballard

There are few better ways to spend a summer day than enjoying the sun with some delicious food and drinks. Luckily, Ballard has no shortage of excellent places to grab a bite and soak up a little sun at the same time! Here are a few of the top restaurants with outdoor dining patios in Ballard:

Percy’s and Co.

For craft cocktails and tasty Southern-inspired food, Percy’s and Co. is the place to be. Located in the heart of Ballard, Percy’s has apothecary-themed decor and ample indoor and outdoor seating. Be sure to check out their happy hour menu for discount prices on their unique cocktails and delicious small bites!

Ray’s Cafe

Anyone interested in delicious seafood with an ocean view should give Ray’s Cafe a try. With Pacific Northwest favorites such as Dungeness crab cakes, grilled salmon, and other classic items, you can’t go wrong with their menu! Ray’s is the perfect place for a summer afternoon lunch or tasty dinner with a sunset backdrop.

Ballard Loft

If you’re seeking a sports bar with outdoor seating, good food, and a diverse menu of drinks, Ballard Loft is your place. They also offer daily happy hours with great discounts on drinks and awesome deals on plates to share! The Loft also offers trivia on Tuesdays and several flat-screen TV’s for sports fans.

Pono Ranch

Pono Ranch offers Ballard residents a delicious taste of Hawaiian-inspired and Northwest-sourced food. Their outdoor patio is the perfect place to spend a summer afternoon or evening! They also have live music and events on weekends throughout the summer and a rentable space for private parties.

No Bones Beach Club

For anyone seeking delicious vegan food and creative craft cocktails, No Bones Beach Club is the place to go. This is not your average vegan restaurant — their buffalo wings, Northwest nachos, and other menu items will satisfy even meat-eaters. They also donate a percentage of their proceeds to different animal care charities each month!  

For more inspiration for ways to spend your summer days, check out these Pacific Northwest campsites and these ways to get on the water!

Image courtesy of Ballard Loft.

Get Stoked for Summer: Ways to Get on the Water

No Seattle summer is complete without spending some time on the Puget Sound. With lakes and bodies of water surrounding our city, there are plenty of fun water-centric sports and activities to take part in. Whether you are hoping to paddle a canoe or try your hand at stand-up paddleboarding, here are a few ways to get in the water in Ballard and beyond this summer!

Learn to Kayak

The Puget Sound’s smooth, calm waters make it a great place to learn to kayak. Our neighborhood has easy access to the Sound and readily available kayak rentals for all levels. Ballard Kayak offers hourly and full-day rentals for one- and two-person kayaks. They also have punch card deals for regular rentals throughout the summer! If you are new to the sport or would simply like some guidance, their staff is happy to help.

Try Stand-Up Paddleboarding

Ballard is also the perfect place to give stand-up paddleboarding a try! Surf Ballard, located near Golden Gardens, offers stand-up paddleboarding rentals and lessons throughout the summer. They also provide great discounts for multiple boards, wetsuit rentals for chilly days, and expert safety lessons and tips for those who are new to the sport!

Rent a Rowboat

If you would like to get on the water this summer but are interested in a slightly larger vessel, renting a rowboat at the University of Washington Waterfront Activities Center (WAC) is the perfect summer activity for you. With rates of just $12.00 per hour for boats that seat three to four people, this is a fun way to spend the day that won’t break the bank. Just 10 to 15 minutes east of Ballard, the WAC is a fun and convenient activity to add to your to-do list this summer!

Join a Local Group

For those who are interested in spending a lot of time on the water this summer, there is no shortage of paddle clubs, boating groups, and other communities in our area! Some organizations to explore include:

Happy almost summer to all of you Ballard residents. Be sure to check out these top-notch Pacific Northwest Campsites if you missed last week’s article!

Image courtesy of Pixabay.com.

Have “Coffee With Everything” at Café Con Todo

Coffee and Dance, the perfect match!                            Image via Cafe Con Todo’s Instagram (@cafecontodoseattle)

Cafe Con Todo, literally translates to “Coffee with everything”- Now there’s a message we can really get behind!

In a city where Coffee is almost more essential than water to daily life, good coffee shops are paramount, and Café Con Todo more than fits the bill.

Located in Fremont, mere blocks from Ballard in the area known as ‘Frelard’, Café Con Todo is nestled between a hot yoga studio and the dance studio to which it is attached (Salsa Con Todo, or SCT), making it oh-so perfectly Seattle and a fabulous addition to the neighborhood.

Image courtesy of  Mariah Whiteman, Cafe Con Todo

Café Con Todo has been a labor of love for the owner and the dance family from SCT behind him, taking nearly 2 years to get up and running, and it shows. There is very obviously a lot of thought and care that has been put into every corner of the room and every shot of espresso. The positive energy is palpable- the place just *feels* good.

The space is beautiful- open and bright, with plenty of natural light from over-sized windows and skylights in the ceiling. The café doubles as dance studio space, regularly hosting classes after business hours and on weekends, and bares the same beautifully polished wood floors and floor to ceiling mirrors along one wall that you would imagine in such a space, matching the look next-door at SCT (they are joined by a set of French doors making both spaces easily accessible to one another). Depending on the time of day, expect to see dance students milling about, getting their caffeine fix before class, or a beer afterwards.

Cafe Con Todo’s bright and beautiful interior                         Image courtesy of Mariah Whiteman, Cafe Con Todo

Serving local favorites Slate Coffee, Dry Sparkling soda, a variety of teas, and more, Café Con Todo is serious about quality and originality.  Try a unique twist on a blended drink with their signature Greek Frappe, created as an homage to the creamy yet light concoctions the owner grew up with in Greece.  If you’re not in the mood for caffeine, wet your whistle and get a different type of buzz with a glass of wine, a beer or kombucha, both of which are available on tap.

Left image via Cafe Con Todo’s Instagram (@cafecontodoseattle), Right image courtesy of Mariah Whiteman, Cafe Con Todo

The food menu is focused more on savory with a sprinkling sweet, currently offering a selection of pastries and a few gluten free goodies from Flying Apron Bakery. Their intent is to expand the selection of treats, add sandwiches and savory waffles as well as gluten/dairy free and vegan friendly options to the menu shortly.

Having just opened the first week of April, they are still getting their feet wet and their name out there, but it’s already clear that Café Con Todo is one of the good ones and is poised to become a neighborhood favorite. After all, who doesn’t love supporting a local small business, a damn fine cup of coffee and good vibes?

Stop in and check them out Monday-Friday* 7 AM – 6 PM and get your fix, and follow them on Facebook and Instagram (@cafecontodoseattle) for updates and the latest on their development!

*Weekend hours dependent upon studio events and will be updated on social media.

Café Con Todo
Located in Fremont, right next to Salsa Con Todo at
213 N 36th St
Seattle, Washington 98103-8610
(206) 412-3301

Image via Cafe Con Todo’s Instagram (@cafecontodoseattle)

New Ballard Tool Library

The new Ballard Tool Library.  Photos: Alethea Myers

The new Ballard Tool Library is officially open. Occupying the street level of a residence just south of 77th St. on 15th Ave. NW, the new tool library, as of this writing, has about 900 tools to choose from already. Membership to this library is one option when you become part of Sustainable Ballard, which currently has 1,500 followers. The yearly fee is $35 per individual, $60 per household, plus a suggested donation of $1-$5 per tool, depending on its size and popularity, for the week that you use it. At BallardToolLibrary.org, you can click on the “Inventory” button and view what’s in stock. (But no holds are placed online—preference is given to those who come in-person.) After becoming a member, receiving a tool use policy, and signing a waiver, you can borrow to your heart’s content.

JB Harmon, Ballard Tool Library manager, and Jenny Heins, Sustainable Ballard president, on location.

According to Jenny Heins, president of Sustainable Ballard, it took four years to find a location for the BTL, due to the lack of affordable space in Ballard. Jackson Design Build, a green building business which owns a number of buildings on the block, stepped forward and suggested their space might work as storage space. But after looking at it, they realized that it would definitely work for the tool library itself.

Here, tools are defined in the broadest sense: DIY supplies and other items that you won’t need to buy or store at your home, including those that are only rarely used. Such as a juicer, standard sewing machines, a table grinder (to sharpen tools), a dehydrator, garden tools, floor buffer, post-hole digger, automotive, high-end dishes/cutlery for party entertaining, tool books, and in the future, bike repair tools, among others. And let’s not forget shop tools. There are also a fun games and puzzles section, which is “take one, leave a different one”, according to Jenny, or can be borrowed and brought back as usual. There are also “take permanently & no need to return them” items: 100s of donated sewing patterns, fasteners, paint brushes, nails, and paint, for example. Some inventory is overflowing, such as many, many hammers.

Long-time native Kevin Johnson, right, drops off donations for the tool library. Left: manager JB Harmon.

JB Harmon, manager of the BTL, puts his former mechanical engineering skills and time in the Peace Corps in Ghana to good use here. “I also worked in a machine shop for 5 years, so it’s a really good combination of my prior experience and my values as well.” He answers what questions he can (it’s a large inventory) and beyond that, he said YouTube is a great how-to resource. A Repair Café is held once a month there by volunteers in the community who have knowledge to share.

Puzzles and games area

Jenny Heins mentioned people in the community have responded well, even before the library opened. “People in Seattle are so generous, and I think are very interested in the sharing economy model.”

Location: 7549B- 15th Ave. NW
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ballardtoollibrary
Hours: Tuesdays 11 am- 1 pm,  Thursdays 5 pm-8 pm,  and Sunday 12 pm-5 pm

Get Stoked For Summer: 5 Must Visit Pacific Northwest Campsites

Summer is right around the corner! In preparation for the long Summer days and warm star-filled nights, our team is launching our first ever “Get Stoked For Summer” series. Each week, we’ll be highlighting some choice summer activities in Ballard and beyond that you can plan for now! This week, we’re zooming in on some of our favorite campsites within a few hours of Seattle. Pack your bags and consider booking one of these favorite campsites this summer!

Moran State Park, Orcas Island, Washington

If you have always wanted to check out Orcas Island but never made the trip, consider booking a campsite this summer! Moran State Park is centrally located, in close proximity hiking trails, kayaking, and amenities including bathrooms and running water. This campground also situates you perfectly to explore the towns, waterfalls, and other charm Orcas has to offer!

Mora Campground, La Push, Washington

No Pacific Northwest summer is complete without a trip to Olympic National Park and the Washington Coast. Mora Campground gives you the perfect opportunity for beachside camping and viewing some of the unique and beautiful beaches in this area. Be sure to catch a sunset from Second Beach and eat some delicious seafood at River’s Edge while you are there!

Cape Disappointment, Ilwaco, Washington  

Contrary to the name, this cape will not disappoint! Situated at the southern tip of the Long Beach Peninsula, this campground is an optimal spot to get some summer sunshine. Friends and family can enjoy this choice beach town, excellent surf, and a well-deserved sunny weekend.  

Nehalem Bay State Park, Nehalem, Oregon

Nehalem Bay State Park is an optimal camping location for anyone hoping to explore the Northern side of the Oregon Coast. This campground will put you in optimal proximity to bike trails, watersports, miles of beautiful beach, and more. Plus, you will be able to easily explore many of this areas beaches such as Cannon Beach, Rockaway Beach, and more!

Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park, Florence, Oregon

No list of Pacific Northwest Camping destinations is complete without Honeyman State Park! This park offers optimal access to all that Florence, Oregon has to offer including sand dunes, coastal walks, beautiful beaches and more! This site is fully equipped with everything you’ll need for an optimal camping weekend.

Images courtesy of Pexels.com

Seattle Restaurant Week Is Back And Better Than Ever!

Today marks the start of the tastiest week of the season- the triumphant return of Seattle Restaurant Week!

We here in Seattle are so blessed with an abundance of fabulous dining options, ranging from simple and inexpensive to exotic, lavish and extraordinary, which usually doesn’t come too cheap. Seattle Restaurant Week is an opportunity for people to explore many incredible restaurants they may not normally spring for by offering fabulous deals you won’t want to miss out on.

Every Sunday through Thursday from April 2nd to April 19th, over 165 restaurants across the city will be offering up $33 three-course dinners, with many also offering $18 two-course lunches as well. These restaurants range in price, type of cuisine and location, giving you tons of options to choose from, in every department!

To maximize your SRW experience, check out a list of participating restaurants here (click on the name of the restaurants to see their location and view their SRW exclusive menu) and be sure to check out The Seattle Times lists of best overall value, best ambiance, neighborhood favorites and SRW newcomers.

If you are going to explore SRW (which we highly recommend you do!), remember to be patient, make reservations and tip your servers well! While SRW is a great opportunity for diners, restaurants do tend to get swamped, and the nicer and more understanding we are as patrons, the better the experience for everyone!

Now, go out and get a healthy dose of YUM, before it’s too late!