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New Italian Restaurant With Puppet Shows Heads to Ballard This Fall

Valentinetti will replace the Hi-Life

An exterior view at night of the historic building the Hi-Life called home for 15 years.
The Hi-Life iwill close September 8 after 15 years in Ballard.
Courtesy of Chow Foods

A new era is coming to an old Ballard mainstay, with some strings attached. After 15 years serving comfort food in a historic firehouse, the Hi-Life will close September 8 — then be reborn six weeks later as Valentinetti, an Italian restaurant featuring occasional puppet shows. Hi-Life owner Peter Levy is making the switch partly as a tribute to his wife’s godmother, Aurora Valentinetti, a former University of Washington puppetry professor, who has a Bremerton, WA, puppet museum named after her and was an accomplished home cook as well. The menu will include mostly pizzas and pastas, a departure from the Hi-Life’s more eclectic American comfort food menu.

Like the Hi-Life, Valentinetti will reside in a historic former firehouse that was built in 1911. The revamped space will have new lighting and a more “intimate seating plan,” according to the announcement from the restaurant, with a small area for those aforementioned puppet shows — one per month, starting in December (most will be family-friendly, but some may be more “risqué”).

Levy hopes that Valentinetti can compete in a highly competitive dining neighborhood, with lower price points (in the $14-22 range for dinner entrees), all-day service, and a daily happy hour. The menu will have four varieties of brick oven pizza, gluten-free pasta and pizza crust options, and seasonal local vegetables, with a bar that includes wine, cocktails, and local beer. Some old world Italian recipes from the restaurant’s namesake should make it into the mix as well.

The Hi-Life

5425 Russell Ave NW, , WA 98107 (206) 784-7272 Visit Website