Lombardi's, Ballard restaurant cornerstone, closing after 23 years
After 23 years as the cornerstone of the Ballard Building on the corner of Northwest Market Street and 22nd Avenue Northwest, Lombardi's Italian Restaurant and Bar will be closing its doors for good Oct. 9.
Owner Diane Symms is transferring ownership of Lombardi's, which also has locations in Everett and Issaquah, to her daughter, Kerri Lonergan.
Lonergan will keep the Everett and Issaquah locations open, but Symms is selling the Ballard space to "someone with deep roots in the Seattle restaurant community" who will open a "gastro pub" in the location, according to Lombardi's blog.
Symms is not announcing who the buyer of the space is, but in the past year Seattle celebrity chef Tom Douglas, owner of Lola, Palace Kitchen, Etta's and more, has shown an interest in finding a Ballard location for a new restaurant.
Symms grew up in a military family, so she never had a place to really call home until she opened up the Ballard restaurant, Lombardi's original location, she said.
"When I opened up my restaurant in Ballard, I felt like this was my home," she said. "I really enjoyed the community and the small town feel of Ballard in those days."
Beth Williamson Miller, executive director of the Ballard Chamber of Commerce, said in an email that Symms and Lonergan have been active participants in both the chamber and the community.
"They have been an important part of the business sector of Ballard and contributors to a place revered for its strong sense of community," Miller said in the email.
In her time as owner of Lombardi's, Symms became the second woman to be named president of the Washington Restaurant Association and was given the Nellie Cashman Award for Seattle's top women-owned business executive and the Burtenshaw Award for Washington Restaurant Association lifetime achievement.
"It's time for me to look to new horizons," Symms said on Lombardi's blog. "I'm not ready to retire, but this is the right time for me to start thinking about the next 25 years and let Kerri take Lombardi's to the next level."
She said her immediate plans are to help Lonergan with the transition and then take some time to make use of the RV she and her husband bought three years ago that has been sitting in their driveway.
Symms said she wants to thank all of Lombardi's customers from the past two decades; she is going to miss them all.
"I've never had a business with as many repeat customers and loyal customers as the Ballard Lombardi's had," she said.
She said she hopes those Ballard customers will stop by Lombardi's next time they are passing by Everett or Issaquah.