Zayda Buddy’s Pizza & Bar

Written by on February 5, 2011 in I Eat Seattle, I Eat...Out with 0 Comments

( – Ballard 

How I heard of this place: I first heard of Zayda Buddy’s when a friend told me I had to try it…specifically for their tater tot casserole. It didn’t happen on this visit, but the menu was just too enticing to limit myself.

Type of cuisine: Claiming to be, “Ballard’s only Minnesota-style pizzeria! Our thin crust pizzas are made with 100% Wisconsin mozzerella cheese and fresh California tomatoes. We proudly boast a righteous selection of Midwest beers including Old Milwaukee, Blatz, Leinenkugels, Grain Belt Premium and more! Zayda Buddy’s is a full scratch bar – ALL our drinks are made fresh – no pre-mixes. Try our amazing Klement’s brand bratwurst and natural casing hot dogs from Wisconsin, and our totally awesome tater tot hotdish.”

Ambiance: A bit of the 1950s meets a 2010-Ballard pub. Framed pictures of drawn or printed birds line the walls, as do photographs of the owner from the 1920s, 30s and 40s. Exposed brick walls also host neon signs boasting the brands of a plethora of ales available at the bar, the area to the left as you enter the establishment. Seating at booths ranging in size from spots for two to spots for up to eight (cozily), on hard, wooden pews with black, leather, padded head rests. Wooden tables, thick and hefty, hold the heavy (in more ways than one) foods at your table.

What I ordered: Being out for a walk and brunch, I was waiting for the establishment to open in order that I might sample one of their limited breakfast options – namely a breakfast pizza, dough topped with scrambled eggs, bacon, cheese, onions, olives and tater tots! But when my dining companion decided to order off of the regular/lunch menu, I couldn’t help but pick up my own copy to see what my other options might include. He opted for the Deep-Fried Pepperjack Burger ($9.99), a 1/2 pound hamburger patty coated with Zayda’s special peppercorn seasoned breading, deep fried till it’s got a righteously crisp seasoning on the outside & juicy burger on the inside And… topped with pepper jack cheese & brown gravy. Lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickle and condiments are all served on the side. A side of tater tots (for an additional $2) and a small bowl of Caesar salad (additional $2), with crispy, buttery croutons and grated Parmesan cheese, were also requested. Turning my attention to the burgers, the neon arrows all pointed me to the Stuffed Burger ($9.99), a 1/2 pound hamburger patty stuffed with bleu cheese & bacon bits topped with lettuce, onion & tomato. And to do it right, Zayda adds even more bleu cheese & crispy bacon on top. With a side of tater tots, and all of that deep-fried goodness, I was more than satisfied for the rest of the day!

What I loved: The tater tots were my favorite of all aspects of this meal. The Caesar salad not unlike what you could make at home with a store-bought creamy Caesar dressing gave us the greens we wanted, but little more. The deep-fried burger had the most amazing flavor – with the peppercorn seasoned breading and the crispy texture. The salty bacon and pungent, creamy bleu-cheese were delicious amidst the one-inch thick burger patty. But the tots. The tater tots, fried to crispy perfection, lightly salted, well-peppered and not at all greasy are worth returning for…as is the tater tot casserole.

Why I loved it: The food is heavy, hearty, filling and full of flavor. The staff friendly and the space like your second home. Office space up a ladder from the kitchen and into a loft make for amusement as diners every so often see people stand up, heads touching the ceiling and calling down to the staff below. Television sets well prepared for Super Bowl Sunday and other sporting events, with which to enjoy a plethora of gluttonous foods.

Cost: Average ($7.99 – $9.99 for burgers and small entrees) 

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