You'll be hard-pressed to find another restaurant in Seattle proper that's full of kids without looking (or sounding) like it. With tables spaced far apart and tucked into nooks and crannies, The Ridge opened last January on Greenwood Avenue as a family-friendly, neighborhood-centric pizza and sandwich shop.
Four partners are behind The Ridge, including Nickerson Street Saloon owner Chris Gerke and Chris Navarra, owner of several German-themed bars, including Feierabend in South Lake Union and Die Bierstube on Roosevelt Way.The clean, light wooden interior is reminiscent of Navarra's other bars, with a large front room separated into booths and tables on one side and the bar on the other. There's also a long back "family room" with additional seating, shuffleboard, and a handful of video games.
The Ridge is all about paying homage to Phinney Ridge proper. It's a formula that could work for any restaurant anywhere--there are oversized vintage black and white photos of local spots on the walls, a short history of the hood on the website, and a roster of pizzas and sandwiches named after area businesses. Cases in point are pies like the Ken's Market Combo with salami, sausage, and mushrooms, and the Oliver's Twist with red potato, bacon, and truffle oil.
On a recent Sunday night, five out of six occupied tables contained at least one minor, but from the space's smart layout you wouldn't know it. Flatscreens played football at a volume that's high enough to drown out toddler din and shouts from kids wrapped around the shuffleboard table. Service was exceptionally friendly, with a wait staff that promptly delivered crayons and dared to stay and work up a conversation with adults and kids--a real rarity in Seattle.
Pizzas like the classic pepperoni True Value arrive with heaping helpings of toothy red sauce. Crust is pillowy on the inside, crispy on the outside, and just thick enough to manage the weight of copious amounts of cheese and toppings. Sandwiches and a few salads round out the menu. The spinach salad with tomato, crumbled bacon, and fresh mushrooms is tossed with a simple vinaigrette. It's nothing more than a nice way to balance out forthcoming pizza dough carbs, and that's fine. The small is enough to share with one or two other diners.
If you'd prefer eating out when kids are sure to have arrived in la la land, take heart. The Ridge is open until 1 a.m. every day of the week.