I was brought home from the hospital to my family home on Burke Ave in 1971, and have been connected to Wallingford my whole life. Growing up in a craftsman bungalow certainly helped develop my love for the pre-war homes that dominate the neighborhood. When I was young, Wallingford was a very different place than it is today. The train tracks that ended at Gas Works Park brought migrant workers from all over the country, and the Dirty Shame Tavern at 40th and Wallingford was known for its rowdy crowd of locals — watching fistfights break out on the street outside was a regular part of my childhood. I remember delivering the local paper, the North Central Outlook, to the Gypsy Jokers biker gang who had a home on Ashworth. They were the archrivals of the Hell’s Angels.
It’s safe to say the area has changed a bit. Today, Wallingford is more mellow in some regards, but the heart of the neighborhood still beats strong. The main drag on 45th has developed over the years, and I love walking up and down the street, grabbing a bite to eat and checking out the shops. If you have a chance to explore, here are some of my top recommendations:
Having lived in Japan for an extended period, I think I have some authority when I say this is a quality restaurant. Yoroshiko is a Japanese Izakaya (bar) with wonderful Ramen and traditional bar foods. They also have a great selection of sake and whiskeys.
Who doesn’t love a scoop (or two) of ice cream? Opened in 2008, this their original location, and all the ice cream is made in the back of the shop. Molly Moon’s serves classic flavors year-round, including cookie dough and melted chocolate, and offers a rotating selection seasonally. Current summer flavors include s’mores and lemon blueberry custard.
A Seattle staple, Archie McPhee has moved locations a few times over its 30 years, but set its roots in Wallingford in 2009. The novelty store is your one-stop shop for strange gifts and all your rubber chicken needs. You’re bound to have a few good laughs while perusing the shelves.
Once home to Interlake Public School, Wallingford Center is a Seattle landmark. It’s a great place to support local shops and grab a bit to eat at the Chutney Bistro, an organic Indian restaurant, or pick up a cupcake to go at Trophy Cupcakes’ original location.
While the park isn’t right on 45th, it’s only a few blocks off, so it still makes the list. Located at the Home of the Good Shepard, another Seattle landmark, Meridian Playground is a great place to go relax in a quiet environment.
Alright, this one isn’t on 45th either but it had to make the list. Sitting on the corner of North 35th Street and Stone Way is the unassuming Pacific Inn Pub, and if you love a good dive, this is the place for you. They serve microbrews and toss a great basket of fish and chips.
With everything it has to offer, Wallingford is truly the center of the Seattle universe. If you’re ever looking for more stories of the past or information on living in Wallingford, give me call; I’m always happy to share!