Ballard’s Hi-Life Restaurant, which closed on September 8 after 15 years, will be reborn as Valentinetti’s on Thursday, October 24. The new Italian restaurant will sport a brick oven for baking pinsa, the restaurant’s Roman-style oval pizza made with fermented dough. Other menu items will include brick oven meatballs, a fried mozzarella and salumi sandwich, pastas, Northwest and Italian wines, and cocktails with locally distilled liquor.
Owner Peter Levy closed Hi-Life after 15 years serving comfort food in Ballard’s historic 1911 firehouse. Over the last six weeks, Levy and team have remade the large space, changing the seating plan and adding new lighting and art. There’s also an area dedicated to puppet shows, which should kick off next year. It’s all a tribute to Levy’s wife’s godmother, Aurora Valentinetti, a former University of Washington puppetry professor and accomplished home cook.
The pizza is the menu’s main focus, and it will come with toppings like pork cheek, butternut squash, pancetta, and clams. The dough is a mix of non-GMO wheat, rice, and soy, and it’s cold-fermented before hitting the 700-degree brick oven. There will also be gluten-free pasta and pizza options.