After a quick re-do of the small restaurant’s interior, the new owners of the charmingly named the Fat Hen set up shop in the former A Caprice Kitchen space in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle. The horribly named former restaurant was a bit quirky and rustic, an interesting and comfortable space not especially known for a stellar menu. Things have changed. The Fat Hen recently took up roost in Ballard. — Photo courtesy of The Fat HenKitschy minimalism is now the theme of the décor, with exposed beams overhead, wainscoting, a bookshelf and news rack with reading material, a small pastry case, simple marble tabletops, and a counter and stools near big windows up front. The understated interior is just interesting enough, leaving the focus on the food. When Linnea Gallo and her Italian-born husband Massimo recently took over, it was his menu of simply prepared, fresh Italian dishes (with French in the mix) that immediately caught on at this already popular neighborhood café. The bistro-café hybrid serves breakfast and lunch during the week, brunch on weekends, and dinner on Friday nights. Old-school café culture gets a comeback with the Bialetti stovetop espresso makers lined up behind the counter, but plan on a 15-minute wait for the preciously prepared brew. As you’d expect at a breakfast place with an Italian cook, one of the standout dishes from the kitchen is eggs “in carrozza,” eggs Benedict with prosciutto, catto, and scamorza in hollandaise on a house-made English muffin. Yum.
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