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On Our Radar: Pagliacci Pizza, Seattle

Local pizza chain’s newest location honors the building’s Native American influences



Photography: Rafael Soldi, Seattle

LOCATED ACROSS THE street from Ballard Locks, a popular Seattle tourist destination, Pagliacci Pizza (Seattle) recently unveiled its new eatery – one that comes with an intriguing history.

The team at Seattle-based Floisand Studio Architects worked closely with Headwater People to better understand the building’s history; preservation was at the forefront of the architects’ minds as the team aimed to maintain its authentic design while also making meaningful additions.

Its original design replicates a six-beam traditional style house constructed by the Haida Tribe, originally functioning as a Native American curio shop in 1939 before becoming a restaurant space in 1945. In particular, two interior watchmen carvings created by Jimmy John, a Nuu-chah-nulth tribal member, as well as Vancouver Island-style totem pole located on its exterior, were elements the design team wanted to learn more about. In the end, the non-Native totem pole was removed entirely, and the two watchmen were moved to the restaurant’s “outdoor teaching garden.” To give context to the site and explain the respectful protocol for carvings, house posts and older totems, an educational history board is found in the space.

Also in the outdoor teaching garden, Native edible plants are identified by custom signage that illustrates the phonetic spelling of both the Whulshootseed and English languages.

The façade of the restaurant was clad in cedar siding and shingles – a nod to Ballard’s nickname, Shingle Town USA.

On its interior, woven window lights decorate the ceiling to honor the Native American tradition of weaving. The new building wraps over some of the old, and in the overlapping area, the original beams are highlighted through a double-height space where the roof is pulled back. New timber added an additional 1300 square feet to the space.


Pagliacci Pizza’s latest location demonstrates a place where historical design meets modern architecture, and it’s adding up to be a successful spot for Seattle’s popular pizza chain.

📷 Rafael Soldi, Seattle

Alanna Marshall is VMSD's summer 2023 editorial intern. You can reach her by emailing



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