Tumble Swede Pop-Up Restaurant

Tumble Swede Pop-Up Restaurant

Celebrating the Scandinavian Cuisine of the Pacific Northwest.

TumbleSwede celebrates New Nordic cuisine from the Pacific Northwest. We believe that regional food tradition here can be found in the kitchens and gardens of our Scandinavian founders.

Washington State was settled heavily by Swedish, Danish and Norwegian pioneers, who brought their own complex food traditions and cultures to a new land, but quickly adapted them to the ingredients they found in this area. As the generations moved along, food traditions like foraging for seasonal forest produce, hunting, fishing and preserving foods for the winter became ingrained and second nature to anyone living outside of the cities.

So what defines Nordic cuisine? Typically it finds flavor in its techniques instead of spices. Depth and complexity comes from just-picked produce in the summer and from the smoking, pickling, and fermenting that kept foods through the winter.

This isn't your grandmother's cliché 1950's food, ergo we don't serve meatballs or pancakes. Instead, it's fresh, vibrant, modern, uniquely American, clearly Scandinavian and unmistakably Northwest.

To anyone (like us) who grew up with a Skagit Valley grandmother who kept a large vegetable garden and fruit trees; Arlington families that made a trip each autumn to gather mushrooms in the forested foothills of the Cascades; Poulsbo fathers who went fishing in the afternoon to catch that evening's dinner; Spring Sundays spent picking sweet new strawberries or Autumn Saturdays spent canning the garden's bounty...

We remember too. We hope you enjoy it!

We'll be popping up for just a few hours this Saturday! Come visit our street food kiosk for our popular Norwegian Salmon Salad Sandwiches, Lingonberry Lemonade, and House-Pickled Herring in honor of the Seattle Maritime Festival.

Saturday May 13, 11am - 4pm

Old Ballard Liquor Co.
4421 Shilshole Ave NW
Seattle, WA 98107

Do you want a private multi-course Nordic dinner for Six? Visit the Ballard NW Senior Center's Spring for Seniors auction this coming Sunday (3/26 at 5pm) at the Ballard Leif Erickson Lodge for an opportunity to bid on one of these rare opportunities.

We only offer these dinners two or three times yearly and they are exclusively available through charitable fundraising events.

Let's chat for a moment about that ubiquitous staple of the Scandinavian table: Knäckebröd, or Crispbread.

Made in a variety of styles and recipes, you see this delicious, cracker-like bread at almost every Scandinavian meal. Typically made with a rye flour base, the use of other flours, grains, seeds and leavening produce a broad range of flavors, textures and thickness depending on the baker's recipe. In the U.S, we tend to only see the Wasa bread style but many, many different types of this staple are available in Scandinavia. (We bake our own recipe in-house at the cafe)

Leavening in historic recipes is interesting: lacking yeast, it was common to use either "hartshorn" (Ammonium Carbonate) which is similar to baking soda but was made from powdered antler for thin crispbreads, or actual snow that mimicked yeast for thicker, loftier breads. The snow was worked into the dough and it melted as it baked, leaving air pockets behind much like yeasted dough would.

Rounds were rolled with a hole in the middle so that the bread could be tacked on a spindle or broomstick for storage above the stove, where it would stay dry and crispy. The goal of every bread was to be crisp and long-lasting without being tough or hard.

However, we have a request: Please stop calling it "hardtack". Hardtack tends to denote survival rations, ships biscuits, johnnycakes, and other inedible rock-hard chunks of dried bread. Historically, most hardtack was so tough that it had to be softened in liquid before it could be eaten.

This misleading word was first associated with Nordic cracker-like breads during the 1800's, when the word "crispbread" had not yet entered the English lexicon and it was the closest word that could be found. It may also have had some racist connotations, as Scandinavian immigrants and their foods were often looked down upon at that time.

Today, use of the word "hardtack" is pretty much limited to an older generation who learned it during the 40's and 50's, before the more accurate translation of "crackable" or "crisp" bread was available.

So next time you're at mormor's and she offers you some hardtack, maybe politely ask for crispbread instead.

Farm to table: A bit tricky in winter, but in high demand


The struggle is real! Real seasonal winter food is so limited that many Nordic restaurants close completely from January-April or so. And let's be honest, there's only so many variations of pickled beets a person wants to see during a meal.

At our small cafe inside the Old Ballard Liquor Co., we source a lot of hothouse produce this time of year, and try to keep it as quality and close to home as possible.


[01/08/17]   We're taking a break for popups for a while while we focus on our cafe at the Old Ballard Liquor Co. you should stop by and check it out!

Celebrating the Kräftskiva: a Swedish Crayfish Party Tradition


Here's a beautiful feature about our recent Crayfish Party in Seattle...


www.outside-oslo.com A few weeks ago, before the season began its visible transition from summer to fall, I took part in one of the most charming of Scandinavian celebrations, the kräftskiva, or Swedish crayfish party.…

[07/06/16]   Tumble Swede is popping up not once, but TWICE in July! We will be at the Ballard Seafood Fest and are proud to be the only Scandinavian booth at Seattle's iconic Bite of Seattle.

Come visit us at our big booth at Ballard Seafood Fest on July 9 & 10 for gourmet Scandinavian sandwiches like pickled herring and apple or smoked salmon with dilly mustard.

Or, try one of our hot entrees, including Tunnebrödsrulle or our own recipe for smoked-then-fried herring with real mashed potatoes and cucumber salad!

For the Bite of Seattle July 15-17, we'll be offering classic Swedish shrimp sandwiches, our own pickled herring and and freshly fried dilly potato chips.

We hope to see you there!

Our new cafe is open at the Old Ballard Liquor Co! Stop in for some shareable plates paired with our very own Aquavit.

This cafe is a smaller, more casual version of our full popup restaurant, and offers a limited menu on weekdays, full menu on weekends.

Hope to see you here!

Old Ballard Liquor Co.

So a Scandinavian Cafe walks in to Ballard and says...

Seattle lacks Scandinavian restaurants, which is crazy considering how many Swedes, Danes, and Norwegians live here. The Old Ballard Liquor Co. is going to fix that, but needs your help to fund the final phase of plumbing and permits.

Click the link below for details and to find out how you can help. Don't forget to share!



Culinary Team

Jason Harris (Showa, Bloom)
Lexi (Old Ballard Liquor Co.)




Reserve Waiter


Dinner Drinks

Price Range


Payment Options

Amex Cash Discover Mastercard Visa



4609 14th Ave NW, # 108
Seattle, WA
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