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Seattle classic Ivar’s releases first cookbook

Ivar's fans can now make some of their favorite Ivars' dishes at home with the restaurant chain's first cookbook. (Image courtesy Ivar's)

Tourists, locals and seagulls have been flocking to Ivar’s locations around the greater Seattle area for generations, but for the first time, Ivar’s fans will be able to make some of their favorite dishes at home.

Ivar’s is releasing its first cookbook, and even some of Seattle’s most notable chefs can’t wait to get their hands on Ivars’ secrets.

“As someone who’s never perfected fish and chips, what is the secret to Ivars’ fish and chips?” Seattle restaurateur Tom Douglas asked Ivar’s CEO Bob Donegan, in an appearance on KIRO Radio’s Seattle Kitchen Show.

“It’s in the book,” said Donegan, showing Douglas the chain’s first-ever cookbook, released in commemoration of the restaurants’ 75th anniversary.

“Ivar opened his original fish bar and aquarium down on the waterfront 75 years ago in August. We decided the 75th was a good reason to have a cookbook. We’re not like Tom who can come out with a cookbook every 15 minutes,” Donegan joked.

The cookbook features 60 of Ivars’ best recipes. It also includes a lot of pictures and stories about one of Seattle’s most legendary restaurateurs, Ivar Haglund.

“You’ll see the cookbook is filled with great pictures, the full page ad that Ivar took out in The Seattle Times when the World’s Fair opened in 1962, a copy of that is in there, the pictures of his old adventures, taking Patsy, the seal, up to Fredrick & Nelson to have photos with Santa,” said Donegan. “All of that is in there.”

Tom said Ivar Haglund was a pioneer as a restaurateur in Seattle, and there is a lot of knowledge to be gained from his legacy and his recipes that are now available to all in the new book.

“I can already tell you just looking at the [fish and chips] recipe, I’ve just learned a couple of things,” said Tom, who was surprised to see chickpea and rice flour among the previously secret ingredients.

Seattle Kitchen with Tom Douglas and Thierry Rautureau can be heard on KIRO Radio Saturdays at 5 p.m. Available anytime on demand at


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