Ballard has such a rich history and many neighborhood dining establishments have preserved the history of the building or have carried on many elements of the location's original function. Even with this recent wave of gentrification and population increase in Ballard, some places remain fixtures such as: the Salmon Bay Café, Ballard Smoke Shop, The Lockspot, Hattie's Hat and The Sunset Tavern.
Many of these restaurants' walls could tell quite a few stories if they could talk and Hattie's Hat is no exception. Originally t
he Old Home Saloon, beckoned patrons with a chance to get a shave, haircut, food, drinks and some gambling all in one convenient location. The Old Home became Ballard's fine dining restaurant in the 1950s as Malman's Fine Food, until it became Hattie's Hat 1967. Hattie's is named after the previous owner, George Evans' mother-in-law.
Current owner of Hattie's Hat, The Sunset Tavern and Al's Tavern (Wallingford), Max Genereaux describes his ownership of these long-time establishments as, "a steward, as opposed to an owner. The bars own themselves and I am just here to guide them for a short while."
Each new concept and owner brings their own flare and creativity. When Max remodeled The Sunset in 2014, he said he was inspired by "
the pictures and memorabilia from the basement of my great-great uncle Clint. He served as an aircraft mechanic on the USS Enterprise in the Pacific during WWII. There's a lot of classic imagery and iconography that comes from that specific point in history."
There are still elements of the previous design, inspired by Chinese restaurant lounges, in the back area where patrons enjoy bands from all over the world and many local favorites.
As Ballard evolves as a neighborhood, we are witness to so many of the layers of its history that remain on display or are woven into a modern context. New concepts and cuisines are married into what made Ballard unique - mill workers, maritime and a whole lot of Nordic influence.
We'd be remiss not wishing the owners of The People's Pub the best of luck in the future. What are your favorite neighborhood restaurant/bar icons? What stories have you heard the walls tell? Please share them with us on @visitballard.