Ballard Coffee & Culture
Since we first moved to Ballard in 1989, to 2001 when True North was born, and onto the present we have witnessed Ballard morph from a sleepy Scandinavian fishing village, with beautiful views of the Sound and Olympics, into a thriving hotbed of acclaimed bakeries, restaurants, coffee shops and breweries. Ballard is the neighborhood where independently owned businesses come to put down roots and thrive.
We are fortunate enough to work in one of the centers of the US coffee industry. Located just blocks away from True North is La Marzocco USA, importers of the finest Italian espresso machines and just a few blocks closer is Espresso Supply, who supply a vast number of the city’s restaurants and cafes with all the coffee related equipment they could ever need.
If you are in the area or planning a visit, here are a few of eateries and cultural landmarks that embody what makes Ballard such a unique Seattle neighborhood:
After living in Mexico for 25 years, owner Kathleen Andersen returned to Seattle to care for family, but it wasn’t long before a hankering for traditional Mexican cuisine led her to open Señor Moose. If you love shrimp, the Camarones Enchipotlados have been one of our favorites since they first put them on the menu and are definitely worth a try.
Don’t miss this fantastic oyster bar, where chef Renee Erickson whips up maritime munchies from scallops to sea urchin. Go early—we mean 4:30 early—to secure a seat.
At True North we tend to be very choosy about pies, but Hot Cakes is one of those few places in Seattle that know how to make a truly outstanding piecrust. Not a pie person? Try one of their “adult milkshakes” or an oatmeal cookie with bacon. Trust us, it’s worth it.
We love to eat this ice cream, even when it's cold and wet outside. Owner Adria Shimada and her crew make all of Parfait’s delicious ice-cream from scratch and all their flavors spotlight the best in local, seasonal ingredients, including our own True North Coffee. Other highlights include homemade fudgsciles as well as several vegan options.
Unique to Ballard...
Meander down historic Ballard Avenue any Sunday year-round for fresh produce, food, and crafts from local farmers and artisans.
Take a stroll through the lush botanical gardens toward the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks. People of all ages enjoy the engineering magic that lifts boats up the 22 foot difference between the saltwater of the Puget Sound and the fresh water canal leading to Lake Union and further onto Lake Washington. During spawning season, the salmon ladder on the southern side of the locks is a great way to watch an integral part of Washington’s ecosystem in action.
Learn about Ballard’s Nordic history through fine art, Nordic fashion, and rotating modern exhibits. Keep an eye out for the semi regular Swedish pancake breakfasts at the museum.
If you happen to be in Ballard on the 17th of May, you won’t be able to miss the Norwegian Constitution Day Festival. Join Ballard’s Nordic celebration for a colorful parade, delicious traditional cuisine, music, fashion, and fun. Insider tip: Seattle parking enforcement is strict and unforgiving on this day, so pay extra attention to parking signs near Market St. and 24th Ave.