2034 NW 56th Street, Seattle, WA 98107
Date of visit: February 8, 2014
Skillet Diner began as Skillet Street Food, a much beloved and joyfully-reviewed food truck, serving American comfort food made with only the best ingredients on Seattle streets. That truck soon led to Skillet Diners on Capitol Hill and in Ballard.
The Ballard Skillet Diner is a wonderful experience for the wheelchair diner. Taking my own advice, I called ahead to let them know we were coming with a wheelchair. The hostess reserved a table for us close to the entry, so we wheeled right into it with no problems and basked in the sunlight streaming through the many windows. Service was kind and the food was, as rumored, artful and delicious.
The space is huge, too. Our sunny spot was connected to another sunny room by a wide corridor that housed the diner counter and a bank of tables. There’s patio seating in the summer, which looks as though it could also be easily accessible.
Parking: There is street parking in front and near the restaurant with ramped curbs for easy access, pay-for parking lots nearby, and an underground parking lot with a handicapped space that takes you by elevator into the Ballard Community Center/Library. From there, it’s a quick roll to the restaurant.
Entrances: Doors are wide and easy to open, and fellow diners and staff are generous about assisting. Thresholds are low—no lifting the chair to get in.
Tables: Tables are very close to each other, so you shouldn’t come to Skillet to tell your lover that you’ve found another. However–and this is both praise and a warning–you soon forget that those around you are close enough to hear even your most intimate inside voices. All tables back up to comfortable bench seating with chairs on the other side, which means that wheelchair diners can be accommodated at any table. Although the spaces next to other tables is friendly, the space behind the tables is wide, so you don’t have to worry about servers having difficulty getting around you.
Restrooms: The trip to the bathrooms is spacious and easy. The door from the restaurant to the restroom corridor is a bit heavy but not impossible. Restrooms are single-user, clean, big, and unisex, so you can wheel into them with ease and take a friend in to help you, if you’d like. All the toilets are barred and toilet paper is easy to reach.
Photos of interior space online: Yes, beautiful ones.
Photos of entrances online: Yes
Reservations taken: Yes. When you call to reserve a table, let them know that you will be coming in with a wheelchair. Tell them Spoken Wheel highly recommended them!
What the wheelchair pusher has to say: Nice and flat. Lots of open spaces. No automatic doors, but they are wide enough to get through.
Overall: Excellent accessibility – five wheels!