Health problems have led chef Chris Blanco to change things up at his underrated Ballard restaurant Stock, which served lunch and brunch menus dominated by Southeast Asian flavors. Starting Thursday, October 18, Stock will reopen as Papas Hot Potatoes, an entirely vegan quick-service restaurant centered around build-your-own baked potatoes.
Blanco admits this is a strange switcheroo, but says it reflects the recent changes in his own life and diet. “It is a bit bizarre, really, but life is strange and surprising. I loved Stock, and greatly appreciate all of our wonderful customers,” he says. But “last year I was presented with health challenges chronic and verging on serious, I wanted to try eating a different way. My switch over the past year to a whole food plant-based [diet] has benefited my health and well-being in incredible ways. I can’t ever remember having this much energy or focus, and while it can’t all be attributed to a dietary choice, it has served as a catalyst in many ways.”
Papas customers can choose from five signature baked potato combinations, named for famous paintings, like the Mona, with a Washington-grown russet, smoky red chili, queso vegano, and pickled onions, or named for famous artists, like the Picasso, with New Mexico green chiles, sour cashew cream, and chopped red cabbage. Customers can also build their own combos with a local russet potato, a white sweet potato, or cauliflower rice as the base and further add-ons, like garlic aioli, coconut bacon chips, pickled beets, and guacamole.
Drinks include beer, wine, soda, kombucha, and coconut water, plus banana-and-almond-milk shakes blended with flavors like chocolate, horchata, and blueberry. Blanco makes many of his ingredients fresh, including the almond milk, and also draws on fresh, local produce and organic ingredients when possible. In addition to being vegan, the menu is gluten-free, and it offers some nut- and soy-free options.
Starting this week, Papas will be open Thursday through Monday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.