Ballard's in the midst of a barbecue boom: Recent newcomers Bitterroot, RoRo (which took over the old Zesto's location), and the Boar's Nest (which replaced the short-lived Seattle Burger Co.) join long timer Smokin' Pete's.
The newest, biggest and likely swankest one is yet to open: Kickin' Boot Whiskey Kitchen will debut in the 1920s Henry Whyte Building, on the corner of Shilshole Boulevard and 22nd Avenue, in June. Zak Melang and Nathan Opper, owners of the Matador restaurants, promise a menu of "awesome Southern food," like house-smoked meats and barbecue, wood-fired prime steaks, seafood gumbo, spicy shrimp and grits, fried chicken, and fried Louisiana catfish. There will be peach cobbler. There will be sweet potato pie. (No word yet on hushpuppies!) I've also been assured that Kickin' Boot won't be "another purveyor of gussied-up comfort food." Hey-o!
The whiskey portion of the program will have all your favorites and then some; worry not, Southern Belle: there'll be mint juleps for your summertime sipping pleasure.
The 4,000+ square foot restaurant and bar (plus view patio!) will sport high ceilings, exposed trusses, reclaimed barn wood, metal accents and custom-built chandeliers. The dining area will seat 48, the large bar will accomodate 58 at tables and 24 at the bar itself, and the enclosed patio, with garage doors that open in warm weather, has room for 24 lucky guests.