Looks like Ballard’s anticipated brined poultry spot won’t be happening. Renowned chef and restaurateur Josh Henderson tells Eater Seattle that he’s put the brakes on plans to open up a new outpost for his former walk-up rotisserie chicken window, Chicken Galore. He originally targeted the former Volterra space on Ballard Avenue for the restaurant, which had been operating as a farmers market stand around town this summer. But now he’s moving on.
“The reality is that it’s just really expensive to do these kinds of projects now, with big build outs and big debt,” Henderson says, adding that he’s putting the spot on the market and would be willing to work with a partner, if someone wants to take over the 10-year lease and try something new. “It’s still a great location, one of the best in Ballard.”
Instead of rotisserie chicken, Henderson says he’ll focus on other projects, including a pizza restaurant and bar idea he’s been tinkering with — but he’ll be eyeing more turn-key locations that don’t require as much upfront construction expenses. A few neighborhoods Henderson has been scouting out include Lopez Island, the north Redmond area, and West Seattle, with exact details on those efforts are still TBD. Henderson says he’s also planning on helping friends and colleagues with their own new restaurants, giving a boost wherever there’s a need.
The chef has experienced quite a lot of change over the past 14 months. Last July, Henderson sold three brands from his Huxley Wallace Collective — Westward, Saint Helens, and the Great State Burger chain — to business partners. The Collective, which owns upscale sports bar Quality Athletics in Pioneer Square, remains operational, with Henderson its sole owner.
Now that he’s on his own, without major financial partners, the restaurateur seems less willing to take on risky businesses. But Henderson emphasizes that he’s not done opening up new places: “All I know how to do is build restaurants, so I’m going to go keep building more restaurants — just a lot cheaper.”