Former food truck No Bones has a new brick-and-mortar funhouse in Ballard, and part of its proceeds go to animal-rescue shelters.
Shortly after 5 p.m. on a recent Saturday, while the rest of barhopping Ballard was still asleep, No Bones Beach Club was rockin’.
A couple of gals downed rum shots out of plastic sharks while old-school hip-hop blared overhead. Servers in leopard-print skirts rushed with nacho orders from the faux straw hut to the Tiki bar and back at a dizzying pace.
Waiting at the door for a table was an amused dude who got on his iPhone to say, “You won’t believe this, but I’m at a vegan Tiki place in Ballard.”
No Bones used to be a vegan food truck. Now it’s a full-on, brick-and-mortar funhouse with a Polynesian kitschy theme and a cause. Part of its proceeds go to animal-rescue shelters.
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Owner MacKenzie DeVito didn’t want some stereotypical incense, namaste vibe of a vegan spot. So she got a souped-up sound system piping in Jay Z hollering “Big Pimpin’ ” and Sylk-E. Fyne rapping “Romeo and Juliet.”
The all-female staff — several volunteer at animal shelters — is a hip, tattooed and bespectacled bunch. They boast T-shirts that read, “Just because it’s vegan doesn’t mean it sucks.”
The food is So-Cal-beach-and-Asian inspired: banh mi with scallion tofu dabbed with sriracha aioli and a roll with sesame-crusted taro cake, for instance.
Shared plates and bar snacks are a better fit for its convivial atmosphere. Folks all around us had the right idea — munching on nachos coated in a rich cashew and smoked poblano pepper sauce that resembles queso. Or, get the eggplant fries; they taste like Jo Jo potatoes, kicked up with an herbaceous “Sun Goddess” sauce. Both are best washed down with one of the local beers — so local they were brewed less than a mile away.
Tiki drinks are all the rage in the craft-cocktail scene. No Bones isn’t that type of a Tiki bar. The cocktails aren’t very good — these cloying, syrupy-sweet concoctions are more like pretty props to go with the thatch-and-bamboo-wainscoting décor, designed to transport your mind to a tropical Nirvana where life is a beach, and there’s always rap to sway to while you chill on a hammock.
At brunch, a DJ comes in every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. to spin Top 40 and hip-hop. “We caught flak for the loud music,” DeVito said.
She felt bad, but not so bad that she is toning it down. “This is our vision. This is what we do.”
No Bones Beach Club, 5410 17th Ave. N.W., Seattle, offers happy hour 4-6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday with $1 off on draft and appetizers; closed on Monday (nobonesbeachclub.com).