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May 14, 2014 05:08 PM

Pono Ranch?

This afternoon I stopped merely to check this new eatery in the shadow of the Ballard Bridge. Didn't have time (or the appetite) to grab a bite, but what a unique place!

The place is about 70% courtyard/sculpture garden (the sculpture being an homage to heavy industrial tools and equipment), and the outside seating is very-well-thought-out wood benches, stools, and even a worm-eaten drift log. There's an enormous steamshovel looming over one whole corner of the "garden". Large sail-type awnings provide shade/shelter. IMO, this might be a beer garden for the Ages.

The remaining 30% is interior space that I can't quite find the words to describe the decor... except to say that this place got all of Jolly Roger's (and most of the rest of New Ballard's) feng shui and then some--*extremely* welcoming and comfortable.

There are options for sit-down, walkup, AND DRIVETHROUGH. The genius of the design is that patrons sitting outside and inside are completely isolated from the drivethough.

The menu, strangely enough, has nothing the faintest bit Hawai'ian on it--fairly pedestrian pub fare.

Anyone been there?


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  1. Hey, I think I can see it from my porch..

    1 Reply
    1. re: mrnelso

      Hi, mrnelso:

      If you're willing to risk a negligent driving charge, you can see it low to your right just as you roll south onto the Ballard Bridge.

      I haven't been this stoked about a deck/beer garden for... well... ever. Caveat Imbibor: the tap list looked short and timid.


    2. Our first visit had a lot going on, but I will borrow Kaleo's 70/30 and say the exitement was 70% about the space and 30% the food.
      The HH menu looked very like the usual, though a few items stood out. House-fried potato chips were deeply caramelized with just enough incompletely cooked potato to actually taste like potato. Caramelization was good on the fries, too, though I thought them under-seasoned. Fried mushrooms were the dark-horse of the field served with a shot of peanut oil dip that worked. The well-presented $10 "Artisan Plate" included decent gouda and gorgonzola, modest slabs of ham and a nice sliced chorizo, crudite of olives, peppers, carrots, and broccoli, with a bowl of ranch. The space is tremendous. Dropped right into maritime-industrial Ballard, it's bones speak of the neighborhood (if cleaner). The aforementioned steam shovel suspends a huge dredge as a fire-pit for the courtyard and big industrial metal is everywhere. Loved the forge hard-by the titanic forged (!) anchors and the steel planters with Arbutus. A great space. We are dying to see it work on a summer night with music.

      2 Replies
      1. re: mrnelso

        Did I really type it's for its - egad I am infected

        1. re: mrnelso

          Hi, mrnelso:

          Made it back tonight with an appetite...

          That Artisan Platter ($10 for Happy Hour) was very good and generously provisioned. Wahine and I didn't need any more food for a light dinner, but we got the chicken wings anyway--also great. They're done with what tasted like pineapple jerk seasoning; if they only used a better grade of wing, they'd be near perfect.

          Additional pluses in my book:

          --The demographic there didn't include the Desperately Seeking Somethings who now choke Ballard Avenue;

          --It's dog-friendly; and

          --Heck, there was abundant parking!


        2. Can anyone provide an update on this establishment? Would like to take someone there for a "send-off" dinner, however I'm hearing they are having service/staffing issues. Can someone weigh in with a recent experience? I really want to like this place.