When Rizzo's French Dip opened on 15th Avenue Northwest in July 2009, it created a buzz with its small space, smaller menu and the larger-than-life family that owned it. Now, the restaurant is for sale as the Rizzo family prepares to leave Seattle.

About a month ago, owner Frank Rizzo moved back to Los Angeles to take care of family business and got stuck there, son and Rizzo's employee Anthony Marks said. Now, the rest of the family is preparing to join him, Marks said.

Though business at Rizzo's has been good, Marks said it would be too difficult for them to continue to manage it from California.

"It's been doing pretty good," he said. "It's just one of those things we can't take care of anymore."

Frank Rizzo said it has been tough to keep the business up to his standards while he has been in California, but he has savored his time at the helm of Rizzo's

"I enjoyed it," he said. "It's not hard work, and we sell a lot of sandwiches."

Rizzo said he is hoping to sell the business, not just the space, in order to make some money and because he believes there is a future in the Rizzo's brand.

Ballard losing newest landmark eatery as Rizzo's for sale
Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

After a little more than a year of serving nothing but its namesake sandwich, Rizzo's French Dip on 15th Avenue Northwest is for sale.

This year, Carter Volkswagen is celebrating 50 years of continuous family ownership and operation, officially making Carter Motors the oldest automobile dealer in Ballard.

Since its founding in September 1960 at 5202 Leary Ave. N.W., Carter Volkswagen has risen to become on of Seattle’s premiere dealerships. Jump-starting the five decades of continuous growth was the infamous Volkswagen Beetle, then selling for an affordable $1,565.

“When my late husband Wade Carter Jr. and I started Carter Motors, we knew that putting our customers first would be the best foundation for our future success.” cofounder Mary Carter said in a press release. “And while car styles and models have certainly changed a great deal since we first opened our doors, that has remained constant. Reaching this milestone can be credited to our loyal consumers and to our employees, who are the cornerstone of our dealership.”

Carter Volkswagen celebrates 50 years in Ballard
Photo credit: 
Courtesy of Carter Motors

Carter Volkswagen on Leary Avenue is celebrating 50 years in Ballard this year. CLICK IMAGE FOR MORE PHOTOS.

After 23 years as the cornerstone of the Ballard Building on the corner of Northwest Market Street and 22nd Avenue Northwest, Lombardi's Italian Restaurant and Bar will be closing its doors for good Oct. 9.

Owner Diane Symms is transferring ownership of Lombardi's, which also has locations in Everett and Issaquah, to her daughter, Kerri Lonergan.

Lonergan will keep the Everett and Issaquah locations open, but Symms is selling the Ballard space to "someone with deep roots in the Seattle restaurant community" who will open a "gastro pub" in the location, according to Lombardi's blog.

Symms is not announcing who the buyer of the space is, but in the past year Seattle celebrity chef Tom Douglas, owner of Lola, Palace Kitchen, Etta's and more, has shown an interest in finding a Ballard location for a new restaurant.

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Photo credit: 
Peggy Sturdivant

Lombardi's Italian Restaurant and Bar at the corner of Market Street and 22nd Avenue will close for good Oct. 9.

After news was leaked to the media in August that Fred Meyer was scrapping its decade-long plan for a sunken, mixed-use Fred Meyer, store officials met with the Greenwood Phinney Chamber of Commerce Sept. 10 to further explain that decision and expand on the new remodel plan.

Tom Gibbons, Fred Meyer director of real estate, reiterated that Fred Meyer moving away from the planned redevelopment is strictly an economic decision. The economy is in bad shape, and the development would have cost as much as two standard Fred Meyer stores, he said.

The scrapped plan was for a $91 million multi-use development, including a 170,000-square-foot, underground Fred Meyer topped with additional retail and residential space, as well as a three-story parking garage.

In addition to the high cost, the project was over budget by as much as half the cost of a new Fred Meyer, said Melinda Merrill, director of public affairs for Fred Meyer.

Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

After scrapping a new, mixed-use Greenwood Fred Meyer development, the company has decided to remodel the current store and expand into the Greenwood Market building.

Music and sports bar is closing at the end of September

During the pursuit of his Masters in Business Administration at WSU, Scott Goerig wrote a business plan that he hoped might become real one day. His plan called for "Coug West", a WSU themed tavern, focused on good food, fun, and of course the Washington State Cougars, and located on the west side of the Cascade Mountains. He made his plan a reality, but now the Redline is closing.


When the building at 4439 35th Ave. S.W became available he launched his plan. It has been the home to a long series of restaurants and bars stretching back to the 1970's when it was a Pizza Haven. Before Goerig got there it was called "Legends" and had developed a poor reputation.

With the enthusiasm of a man on a mission Goerig did as much as he could on a limited budget and opened Redline Music and Sports in July of 2007. That transition was made a bit easier by the previous owner Goerig said, "He was so good to me in actually helping me through the process. I had never owned a bar before. I had never worked in a bar before. I had frequented a lot of bars however so I knew what I didn't like."

Photo credit: 
Patrick Robinson

Redline Music and Sports will close at the end of September but owner Scott Goerig, after decompressing for awhile may find a new home for his idea or try something completely different. " I have a lot of irons in the fire," he said.

Bilingual Books, located in Fishermen's Terminal, has recently released a new tool for U.S. military forces serving in Afghanistan.

"Pashto: A Language Map" is an ultra-thin, lightweight, durable language guide to the dominant language in Afghanistan.

“This release was prompted by military requests for critical needs languages,” Kristine Kershul, president of Bilingual Books, said in a press release. “The current war in Afghanistan started nine years ago, on Oct. 7, 2001, and the majority of our troops have had an extremely limited choice of language tools."

The language map will give soldiers what they need to communicate immediately and work effectively in the field, Kershul said.

The company is committed to helping U.S. forces overseas, according to the press release. Bilingual Books released an Arabic language map in 2003 to assist troops deploying to Iraq.

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Photo credit: 
Courtesy of Bilingual Books

"Pasho: A Language Map" by local company Bilingual Books will help U.S. forces in Afghanistan communicate with that country's residents.

After more than 10 years of working with the city and the neighborhood to develop a satisfactory replacement for the 30-year-old Greenwood store, Fred Meyer has announced it is scrapping plans for a new $91 million, mixed-use development in favor of a much cheaper remodel of the existing store.

The most recent design for the new Greenwood Fred Meyer development, which was approved by the Northwest Design Review Board in September 2009, included a mostly below-ground, 170,000-square-foot Fred Meyer with a three-story parking garage, additional retail space along Northwest 85th Street and 250 apartment units.

The project was $13 million over budget. Melinda Merrill, public affairs director for Fred Meyer, said they knew the project – the most expensive Fred Meyer development ever – would be over budget going in, but $13 million is too much to cover.

The remodeled Fred Meyer, located at 100 N.W. 85th St., will include groceries and apparel and be more high-end than a typical Fred Meyer, Merrill said. When the neighboring Greenwood Market's lease is up, it will be converted into Fred Meyer's garden center and home department, she said.

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Photo credit: 
Courtesy of GGLO

Plans for a new underground Greenwood Fred Meyer topped by residential units and additional retail have been dropped in favor of a simpler remodel.

The freshly occupied and rehabilitated Kolstrand Building represents the newest outpost of the Ballard Avenue commercial district. Situated at that street's southern end among a handful of industrial businesses, the building and its tenants are standing at the retail core's final frontier.

The Kolstrand Building, originally built in the early 1900s and occupied by the Kolstrand Marine Supply Company for 80 years, was restored by evo Properties in the past year. In late July and early August, its first commercial tenants – Staple & Fancy Mercantile, Dutch Bike Co. and The Walrus and the Carpenter – moved in.

Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

The Kolstrand Building, at the southernmost end of Ballard Avenue, is the newest outpost of the neighborhood's retail district

The average computer user likely imagines that software is created by people in cubicles under fluorescent lights in a large office park somewhere in Redmond or possibly Silicon Valley. But one West Seattle based company is changing that notion and rising to the top of some important lists with incredible speed.

Monster Costume Inc. is an iPhone and iPad development company focused on Multi-touch design. They are based on Alki and they have a hit on their hands in the form of an interactive children's puzzle book for the Apple iPad called Bartleby's Book of Buttons. Volume 1: The Far Away Island.

The company, led by Kyle Kinkade, is only six months old but has an impressive resume and more importantly has gotten the attention of Apple itself who put their fresh creation in a featured position on the iTunes store. It's selling rapidly at $4.99 a download. "We're the #2 top paid book app on the app store. The #1 top paid ipad app is a book about the table of elements. This means that:

See video

Monster Costume literally spends time on the beach writing code. If you know how to write programs for the iPhone or iPad, they want to talk with you...that is if you can stand working on the beach.


There's nothing like getting out of town, even for a day, and Magnolia resident Fiona O'Leary is trying to make it easier than ever for Seattleites to get out and explore their city's backyard.

This July, with the help of Fremont's Freelock Computing, O'Leary launched Cool Day Trips, a website dedicated to reviewing, rating and enabling the best day trips the city has to offer.

"The thing that makes Seattle truly unique is the high concentration of great day trips within the immediate area," said O'Leary, who spends many weekends taking trips.

O'Leary said she was inspired to create Cool Day Trips out of a desire to combine her passion for website development with her enthusiasm for exploring the local area.

"You come back to the city feeling rejuvenated," she said. "It's almost like taking a mini vacation."

Day trips can be a great way to relax and unwind, but it is often difficult to know where to go and if it the destination will be worth the trip, O'Leary said. said.

Photo credit: 
Courtesy of Fiona O'Leary

Fiona O'Leary, creator of Cool Day Trips, poses at Mt. Rainier during one of her many excursions into Seattle's backyard.

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