Ethan Stowell’s Latest, Chippy’s Fish & Drink, Now Open in Ballard

By: 
Julien Perry

At long last, Ethan Stowell’s new fish and chips joint, Chippy’s, is open for business on Ballard Avenue.

It’s located directly next door to his other restaurant, Staple & Fancy, in the former Dutch Bike Co. space inside the Kolstrand Building (also home to Walrus and the Carpenter and Barnacle). 

“We wanted to have obviously fish and chips, and then have a couple of sandwiches; the idea of having things that people recognize, like a Crab Louie and a crab cocktail,” Stowell told me last night, over a grapefruit Radler at Chippy’s bar.

It’s a friendly spot, for sure. The fact that, until today, it’s been in soft-opening mode and the place was packed (granted, there are only about 30 seats), either says something about Stowell’s magic touch or our love affair with fried foods.

Fun fact: The Dungeness crab and avocado dip is a nod to Stowell’s first original signature dish—the crab and avocado salad at Union.

The menu is heavy on classic seafood dishes: Dungeness crab roll, fried oyster sandwhich, both shrimp and crab cocktails and five types of fish and chips that includes true cod, halibut, salmon, oysters and east coast clams. All range from $14 to $19.

The tagline of Chippy’s is “A Great Plaice to Eat!” Plaice refers to a group of flatfish and was originally the genius idea of Kent Stowell, Ethan’s dad. 

"Years ago, when we were opening Anchovies & Olives, we were trying to come up with a name, and…you know how there’s first place, second place, third place? You can come in first, you can place, which is second, or you can show, which is third. So my dad—he’s kind of a goofball—he had this idea to name it Fin, as in first, Plaice & Sole. So, Fin, Plaice & Sole. I said, ‘no’ and he’s like, ‘You’re missing out!’ so it’s a little bit of a nod to him."

Director of Food & Beverage, Sennen David, curated the booze menu that highlights local microbrews (Peddler, Fremont Brewing, Populuxe, Reuben’s), novelty beers (smoked pilsners, sour beers, Belgium triple ales) and a whiskey menu that is more than 50-percent Scotch (around 35 bottles compared to Staple & Fancy’s roughly five). 

There are also cocktails. “Most of my input was giving them really snarky names,” says David, referring to ‘Craig the Merman,’ ‘Violette Femme’ and ‘Monkey Knife Fight.’

“That’s the episode of the Simpsons where they go out on international waters on Mr. Burns’ boat. It’s our best selling cocktail so far. If someone tells me what the monkey’s name is, free cocktail on me.” (probably not really). 

The decor is very Stowell-esque. Lots of clean lines, brick, simple design. But the main attraction is a neon ‘Fish’ sign hanging in the bar. David tells me it came from an old catfish restaurant Texas. “They sold off the word ‘cat’ to somebody—hopefully not a cat restaurant.”

If Stowell were to order off his own menu?  

“I think fish and chips is so rich, I would come in here and between two of us, I’d have a Crab Louie, maybe some smoked clam dip and a true cod fish and chips to share. Or else I’d come in and have a crab roll and a salad and call it a day.”

As for Noyer (noy-AY), Stowell’s high-end prix-fixe restaurant behind Red Cow, his steak frites place in Madrona, “We’re debating whether we want to do Noyer there. It might be too small.”

Chippy’s is open Mon-Fri, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m and 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.