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New Owners for Ballard Classic the Lockspot Cafe Plan to ‘Carry On Its Legacy’

Alison Soike and Ryan Faniel of Alison’s Coastal Cafe and Bakery will fully take over the longtime fish and chips favorite by the end of the summer

The exterior of the Lockspot Cafe in Ballard, with a blue awning and the restaurant’s red sign out front
The Lockspot Cafe has new stewards with deep ties to the neighborhood.
The Lockspot Cafe/Facebook

After going on the market in May, Ballard tavern favorite the Lockspot Cafe has new owners. As My Ballard first reported, Alison Soike and partner Ryan Faniel of Alison’s Coastal Cafe and Bakery purchased the place from longtime owner Pam Hanson, and plan to fully take over by the end of the summer.

The Lockspot Cafe dates back almost 100 years. Over its time near the Ballard Locks, it has been known for its delightful fish and chips, and gained some acclaim after it appeared on the popular Discovery Channel show “The Deadliest Catch” as a sea captain favorite (it’s also hosted local luminaries, such as Seahawks coach Pete Carroll). After working at the cafe for more than two decades, Hanson was ready to turn over the reins in 2021, but wanted to pass along ownership to new stewards who would respect its history.

That mission appears to have been accomplished. Soike has deep roots in the neighborhood, working as the director at the Ballard Boys & Girls Club for 11 years. She opened Alison’s Coastal Cafe and Bakery in 2014, serving a variety of comfort food plates, including breakfast sandwiches, waffles, and quiches. In 2017, Soike met chef Faniel — the grandson of prolific Tacoma restaurateur Willie T. Little — and the two have been cooking together ever since, including a recent stint at the Ballard Elks Lodge kitchen.

Soike tells Eater Seattle there may be small changes to the Lockspot as she and Faniel seek to honor the cafe’s history, but it will still be a “fish and chips place with great chowder” at heart. “Good food is our passion and we plan to elevate Lockspot staples, bringing in some of our heavy hitters from our previous kitchen menus and adding some of the favorites from Alison’s to the cafe window outside,” she says.

New dishes may include influences from Faniel’s soul food background, such as fried chicken, as well as the from-scratch biscuits and other breakfast foods Alison’s has been known for over the years (full bar service will remain).

As for the aesthetics, the new owners want to preserve the Lockspot’s rustic divey vibes, with some light renovations but no major structural changes. The restaurant won’t close during the transition, and there will eventually be a formal farewell for Hanson, who plans to retire, with a grand reopening for the Lockspot shortly thereafter.

As they transition to their new acquisition and merge both staffs, Soike and Faniel are putting Alison’s Coastal Cafe and Bakery up for sale, but look forward to leading a new era at a Ballard classic. “We’re so excited to carry on the legacy of the Lockspot,” says Soike.