Chugging Some of the Midwest’s Finest

Zayda Buddy’s is for the clear-beer aficionado whose palate has been refined by more than just the Blue Ribbon.

I never thought the day would arrive when my eyes would widen at a beer menu boasting Schlitz, Blatz, Hamm's, and Old Milwaukee. Like a lot of people my age living on the West Coast, I am consumed by a weird nostalgia every time I grab a can of watery beer and hear that ssssss-crack of it being opened. My tastes have been refined since moving here, obviously, but something about cheap beer brewed from the finest Great Lakes swill maintains a helluva grip on me. Zayda Buddy's, located in Ballard, offers probably the finest selection of beers for Midwesterners-and-East-Coasters-Longing-for-a-Taste-of-Home this city has to offer. And they also offer cheap beer's best friend in the world: greasy pizza. We ordered a 16-inch cheese pizza, which is cut into square slices. (Apparently this cutting style originated in Minnesota, home state of Zayda Buddy's owner Joel Radin, but I can assure you we also had it in abundance in rural Pennsylvania, where I was raised). The pizza tasted exactly as I hoped it would: slightly burnt, crackery crust, sopping with oil and sweet, tomato-pastey sauce. My wife washed hers down with a 1980s-style Great Lakes cocktail, the Minnesota POP (grape soda and vodka). As for me, well, all that cheap beer on the menu sure had me longing for the tell-it-to-me-straight disposition of home. But I moved here for a reason: I drank Manny's Pale Ale instead.

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