Former Chef de Cuisine of Lark, Mitch Mayers, is opening his first restaurant venture—Sawyer—in the heart of Ballard tomorrow. The full service restaurant and bar, which together seats115, will occupy the significantly renovated space at the corner of 22nd and Shilshole Avenue, just off Ballard’s main hub.
Sawyer will offer eclectic new American food with a focus on technique, whimsy, and comfort. Chef Mayers is willing to draw his inspiration from anywhere, from fast food to his childhood at the state fair (his family has run concessions there for generations), to more traditionally fine-dining fare (drawing from his experience at Lark and the Herbfarm). Choosing from a wide array of innovative yet approachable dishes, guests can enjoy creative eats like bone marrow matzo ball soup, oxtail nachos, reuben tartine, rotisserie porchetta, and pork belly steam buns. Designed for family style sharing, Sawyer’s large and small plates evoke a community experience.
The bar menu, created by general manager Tony Ramos (formerly of Percy’s & Co and MBar) will mirror Sawyer’s unique dishes, with a curated wine list, extensive beer menu of local brews, classic cocktails and a number of fun signature drinks.
The name Sawyer draws on the building’s history as a sawmill in the 1920s and Ballard’s roots as a prominent hub of the early lumber industry. Guests will enjoy a casual yet chic, industrial modern vibe designed and crafted by award-winning architects Graham Baba and general contractor Dovetail. With a rustic vaulted ceiling, exposed beams, bright décor, open kitchen with wood-fired grill and rotisserie, and huge west-facing windows, the ambiance is open, airy and welcoming.
“We’re excited to be part of Ballard’s growing restaurant scene,” says Mayers, “We aim to be a place with the level of creativity and quality that you’d come to expect from some of the best restaurants in Seattle, but with the approachability of a neighborhood staple. The food will be inspired, whimsical, light-hearted, and tasty. At the end of the day, I am most interested in serving food that people crave.”
Sawyer will be open seven days a week for dinner and will soon serve brunch on Sundays. Hours are Sunday through Thursday, 4:00 to 10:00 pm; Friday and Saturday, 3:00 pm to midnight.
ABOUT MITCH MAYERS
A Washington native, Mitch was named by Zagat in 2018 as one of “Eight Under the Radar Chefs to Know in Seattle” and he’s the consecutive winner of Seattle Cochon555 in 2017 and 2018, and competed in Grand Cochon in Chicago against finalists from 13 cities. From 2014 to 2018, Mitch worked at Lark under James Beard Award winning Chef John Sundstrom. Mitch graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park in 2008, and received his B.S. in Hotel Administration at Cornell University in 2009. After a summer internship with chef Jerry Traunfeld at Washington’s famed Herbfarm, Mitch was recruited by Hillstone Restaurant Group and took over the kitchen at Cherry Creek Grill in Denver, then became the executive chef at Denver’s Black Pearl – an intimate restaurant known for seasonally inspired fine dining. When not in the kitchen, Mitch enjoys spending time with his wife, Ellie, their son, Micah, and their dogs, Sage and Juniper.