My first question for Ethan Stowell at last night's media preview of his casual, late-night, pizza-by-the-slice stop-in joint was, “Ethan: Are you ready for an onslaught of drunk Ballardites?”
Ethan: “Well, we'll see. That's the question. Is it going to be slow? Is it going to be busy? I have no idea. I can't make any predictions.”
Oh, ok. But I can. It's going to be busy. Really busy. The pizza slices are hot, fresh, simple and deliciously-made with local and natural ingredients, they start at $2.50 per slice, and are twice the size of your face. If you think I'm exaggerating, see the photo below. Plus, if the rumor that nearby Snoose Junction is closing is true, Stowell will be the only late-night pizza game in the neighborhood -- and one that delivers, to boot.
With the first installment of his Grub Brothers Productions, which is intended to ultimately include fried chicken, fish and chips, burgers, hot dogs and the like, Stowell is aiming for accessible and affordable on-the-go dining options for bar-hoppers and parents alike, from 11am-11pm daily and until 3am on weekends. If all goes well over the next couple of soft opening nights, he expects to open to the public within a few days.
At Ballard Pizza Company you'll be able to grab a slice from the daily specials, or craft your own whole pie, starting with a cheese base ($15) and adding any number of additional toppings, from the full spectrum of Italian cured meats (pepperoni to speck and mortadella) to pineapple, pickled peppers, potato, arugula and garlic confit ($1.50 each). He's not going for any Neapolitan fanciness – just thin crust, East Coast-style pie meant to be eaten with your hands (although you'll definitely need both of them).
Salads and soups will also be available, as well as two versions of spaghetti: Spaghetti No. 1, with anchovy garlic and chilis ($12) or Spaghetti No. 2, with tomato sauce and parmesan ($11); and two gnocchis: with tomato sauce and mozzarella ($11), or Italian sausage, tomato and oregano ($12). There's a small selection of local beers and Italian and Northwest wines on tap.
It's quite a departure from the typical Stowell experience one would find at Anchovies &
Olives, How To Cook A Wolf, Tavolata, etc., where you leave a lengthy meal feeling satisfied, sometimes dazzled, maybe a little poorer (but that's okay) and always romanced. With an assuredly lively crowd and a steady stream of '80s power pop, this may be the first Stowell establishment you leave thinking, “that was just plain fun.”
Ballard Pizza Company, 5107 Ballard Ave NW, 206.659.6033, ballardpizzacompany.com