Mary Fortino, vice president of the Ballard Historical Society, has studied the history of Ballard’s original commercial district. On May 24, 2006, at the Ballard Library, she presented the history of twenty-four properties on Ballard Avenue as part of the overall research conducted for the Ballard Avenue Landmark District Plaques Project.
It was exciting to learn that the Kathy Casey Food Studios and Dish D’Lish flagship store buildings have a long history of gutsy business women and food and wine! The Kathy Casey Food Studios building was originally two stories tall and built in 1894. In 1908, one of the storefronts was renovated to accommodate the Ballard Theater, which was run by a pioneer businesswoman, S.J. McEntee. Mary said that McEntee made it her policy to book only performers and films that were suitable for even the youngest children. She charged 5 to 10 cents per performance.
In 1901, Nicholas Theisen started his liquor store in another storefront in the same block. Known as the California Wine Company, it featured “a high grade of California wine.” Through the success of the business, in 1905, he was able to build the building which houses Dish D’Lish, where he moved the Wine Company.