Heads up, Ballard diners. Raiz — an all-day neighborhood cafe serving Mexican food with Pacific Northwest flavors — will arrive at 500 NW 65th Street in Ballard, likely by the first week of November. The spot is from rising chef Ricardo Valdes and his friend Kenny Villegas, who have been running the taco stand El Xolo inside Capitol Hill bar Nacho Borracho since the spring.
According to Valdes, Raiz will be a “cozy joint” (seating for around 30), with a menu that includes chilaquiles (a breakfast dish made from broken tortilla chips), requeson cheese pancakes with guava butter, and an assortment of sandwiches and toast. While the food will be influenced by Mexico City cuisine, there will be a heavy emphasis on PNW ingredients. Most of the vegetables, fish, and meat will come from several local farms, including Local Roots in Duvall, WA, and Present Tense out in Carnation.
There was a Raiz pop-up preview at Ballard’s Delancey this past weekend, featuring dishes such as calabasitas (roasted squash, black beans, and salsa macha, with chiles, pepitas, and boiled egg). But curious patrons can also hit up El Xolo to sample Valdes and Villegas’s food, where the main attraction are the tortillas made using a nixtamalization process that involves hand grinding masa. This new spot doesn’t seem like it will be as taco or tortilla heavy, but customers can expect the same attention to detail.