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Recipes, resources and food inspiration from people and places in Kitsap County. By Kitsap Sun Web Editor Angela Dice.
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Posts Tagged ‘restaurant’

Restaurant Q&A: Silver City Restaurant and Brewery

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

Megan Moran pours two beers for a Tuesday night crowd at Silver City Restaurant and Brewery.

 

Brothers Scott and Steve Houmes, sons and grandsons of restaurateurs and former owners of Top Notch Burger restaurants in Bremerton and Silverdale, opened Silver City Restaurant and Brewery in 1996. Last year, Silver City opened its Bremerton brewery to expand its beer-production capacity and increase restaurant seating in the space formerly occupied by brewing operations.

As part of my work on Kitsap Sun’s upcoming restaurant guide (due out in October), I interviewed co-owner Scott Houmes. A portion of the Q&A will appear in the guide, but Food Life readers get the full, uncut version. Well, uncut except for the parts where I didn’t type nearly fast enough (or forgot to type as I listened) and consequently portions of the conversation were omitted.

How did you and your brother decide to start a brewery?
We decided it was a good fit for Kitsap County. It’s something that we had a passion for as far as the food industry and great craft beer. We thought at that time that Kitsap County was ready for it.

How did you meet brewmaster Don Spencer?
We went on a recruiting trip for a brewmaster. We knew that brewmasters were kind of a brotherhood, so we took a tour of Thomas Kemper [which formerly brewed in Poulsbo]. We wanted to meet a brewer and put the word out there. In 1996, they didn’t have Monster.com or any of those things, so we were doing it the old fashioned way. … We took a tour with Don Spencer and after the tour, we took him aside and said this is what we were doing and if you know anyone, spread the word. Luckily, Don didn’t tell anybody and we ended up hiring him shortly after that. Being a brewmaster is a pretty coveted position. He was able to come in and create his own recipes and styles and brew what he wanted to brew and brew what Kitsap County would like.

About 50 additional seats have been placed in the area formerly occupied by the brewing operation.

How’s business?
Good. We have a good following. We just finished an expansion that we’ve been working on for the past eight to 10 months. Our business grew and grew every year since we opened in ’96. In the past five years, we’d have a waiting a line at the door every week, and we knew we needed space for more guests and our beer was becoming more and more popular so we took the brewing operations from the site… We have a production brewing facility down in in Bremerton and we’re now distributing our beer throughout Western Washington. We were able to open 50 more seats for our guests and eliminate the wait for our tables.

After 15 years, you still have steady business and a social media following most local businesses could envy. What do you think has kept Silver City so popular?
I think being a brewpub or this style of restaurant and brewery lends itself to having more of a neighborhood feel, a place that the community can call their own. The beer is brewed in the area … a lot of people have learned about craft beer through Silver City. It’s not just part of another chain. It’s a locally owned place that they can feel good about, that’s the first thing. And No. 2, we have a great staff with a great level of service, second to none and we offer a great selection of food that you can come and eat in any attire … with flip-flops or a tie.

You moved brewing operations to Bremerton and expanded the restaurant in the vacated vat space, how have the changes gone?
It’s gone over great. It’s given the operation a lot more space for the guests. The wait time has been reduced and it’s expanded our brewing capacity. We’re able to produce more seasonal beers on a consistent basis, give more variety for our gusts and it gives a better flow for the restaurant. One of the main things our guests would always comment on was a long wait for a table and it was cramped quarters in there. …Having people hungry and standing in line for 45 minutes is not something anybody wants to do.

When are you going to open a tasting room at the brewery?
That’s a good question. With the growth of the distribution business, it’s kept me on my toes. We’ve darn near tripled our production from what we had four years ago, so we’ve been busy with that and busy with remodeling the restaurant… The type of business we can open up down here is limited because of lack of parking in our industrial area. You can’t open a 50- to 60-seat restaurant with 15 parking spaces, so it will be something more like a tap room with a lack of food. If we can’t get them someplace to park, they won’t come.

The biggest excuse is: it’s been a matter of time. We have had it open for keg sales and bottle sales out of the brewer since the first of January. We sell between 20 and 30 kegs a weekend.

People can go down there and pick it up?
They can call ahead and order and we make sure its ready nine times out of 10 for the weekend.

What beers do you have under development?
As in new? We have our year-round beers, our most popular being Ridgetop Red and the Fat Scotch Ale, our Indianola Pale Ale, the Panther Lake Porter and our Bavarian Hefeweizen and Whoop Pass IPA.

We also have beers that we like to have our seasonal beer rotation and right now, we have our Oktoberfest … We’re one of the few that brew a traditional Oktoberfest lager. Our next seasonal lager will be our winter bock, which we’re very excited about.

When will (the winter bock) be out?
That will be out the beginning of November.

Is this the first year for the winter bock?
We brewed it on an annual basis at the brewpub, but now as far as distribution, this will be our first year.

Our seasonal beer this summer was a Ziggy Zoggy and it was very successful. It’s a great summer, easy-drinking beer with some honey notes to it much like a summer pilsner but very sessionable. … I don’t know if you’ll find that in the dictionary. What we mean is that you can drink them in succession.

Tell me about menu changes over the years.
Basically the guests have helped determine our menu over the years. We re-order the fresh sheet on a rotating basis. We bring out new items on the fresh sheet, an appetizer, several entrees and a dessert. They coincide with the season. For the fall, we have bratwurst and schnitzel. In the wintertime, you’re going to have more of  hearty dish and such. With those items, depending on how well they’re received and how well they sell determines what goes on the menu in the future.

We can’t just keep adding to the menu, though, to keep the flow of the kitchen and the restaurant. … Some restaurants just have a huge menu, and order to do what we do, we keep the food fresh. We just can’t offer a million different items.  … Something like a schnitzel, where it would be very popular, it won’t go on the menu because its a fun thing to have every season. It’s nice to change to the menu, but it’s also hard because people get in the habit of having their favorite item. … You have to make those tough decisions.

How do you decide which new beers to introduce?
They’re all inspired by Don Spencer, our brewmaster. … Throughout the years, we’ve had up to 40 different styles. We have a small brewery here called our pilot brewery where we can brew two kegs of beer at a time, so it can start in that fashion, and we’ll put that beer on at the pub and see how it’s received. If the brew is successful, it would evolve into a pub series beer that’s mainly for the pub. We’ll brew 20 barrels, that’s 40 kegs, and that wil be on at the pub for four weeks or so. Based on the success of the beer, not only the sales but how it fits our lineup, will determine that.

Some beers will be seasonal, but like the restaurant menu, you can only have so many brews year-round. Our brewery is getting larger, but it’s not that large.

Do you home brew beer?
No, my brother and I are restaurateurs. Since we opened the new facility, I’m more of an overseer of the brewing operations and brewing distribution and he’s more of an overseer of the restaurant. We come from a family of restaurant owners. Both my grandfather and father were in the business. My grandfather started a chain called Kings Table and my father joined it in late ’60s, early ’70s. They were part of growing it all along the West Coast.

What’s your favorite beer and food pairing?
My favorite, let’s see here. I would have to say my favorite pairing is a Ridgetop Red with our firecracker wings because a red is nice and sweet with nice caramel notes, and not overpowering, and the firecracker wings have a spicy ginger and garlic to it. Most wings are just spicy, but with ginger and garlic to our wings, its very unique. The spiciness slows me down so i don’t eat too much.

Tell me about the best beer you’ve ever had and why it was so memorable.
That’s a tough question … I’ve come to appreciate every beer for its own style. I used to be a real hop-head and say nothing was good unless it was an IPA or Double IPA, but the longer I’m in this business, the more I appreciate the number of styles there are and the number of flavors there are. My next favorite beer is the beer I haven’t had yet, and I’m going to ponder over.

What’s next for Silver City?
A lot of people have encouraged us to grow over the years. They say, ‘Open a restaurant in my town’ up and down the Kitsap Peninsula down to Gig Harbor and up to Port Townsend and Sequim. Growing up in this business. … What it takes is time away from our family and time away from a lot of our restaurants and it turns into a big battle. This business is hard enough as it is with one restaurant and one brewery. … We’re more content with ensuring our business in Bremerton and Silverdale do what we say we’re going to do as far as having great operations, great food and great beer rather than grow it and expand operations. We’re planning on making Silver City as good as it’s ever been if not better.


Lots of work going on in new Bremerton tapas lounge

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

As I was walking around downtown Bremerton late last week, I caught this site of Toro, the tapas (small plate) and martini lounge that’s slated to open this summer. The restaurant is the work of Bremerton businessman Carlos Jara.

By the looks of it, Jara isn’t just cleaning and moving into the former Badda Boom Badda Bing/Fillipi’s space on Pacific Avenue. He’s gutted the space for what looks like a full remodel, uncovering a tongue-and-groove ceiling, and based on a few photos from the lounge’s Facebook page, the color scheme will include some sexy reds, blacks and grays.

Toro Lounge in Bremerton


Bremerton Bar and Grill opening delayed a day

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

Downtown Bremerton’s new restaurant, Bremerton Bar and Grill, apparently is pushing back its opening date. Instead of opening Monday, it will open Tuesday, April 19.

Owner Neighborhood Grills has, though, started filling up the restaurant’s website (I’ll mostly ignore for now that any restaurant website anymore thinks its a good idea to make readers download pdf menus) and set up a Facebook page.

The important part, though, is that it will it open at 5 p.m., the tail end of happy hour (as advertised by Neighborhood Grills , it goes from 3 to 6 and 9 to close every day). The beers and drinks may be $4 and $5, but the happy hour food plates range from $3 to $7.


Bremerton to welcome second restaurant this year

Friday, March 18th, 2011

Steven Gardner reports for Saturday’s paper that the Bremerton Bar & Grill is slated to open April 18.

It, like its brethren Neighborhood Grills establishments, will offer for dinner steaks, fish and chicken dishes with prices ranging from $13 for burger plates to $17 for a surf and turf, based on a look through the site’s menus. For lunch, offerings include the same burgers, sandwiches and salads on the dinner menu for a slightly cheaper price on some items (about a $1 off on sandwiches).

For nice days, the restaurant will have outdoor seating that faces the park.

When opened, it will be the second new restaurant to open in Bremerton this year. The other, Orion in Manette, opened in February. I’ll have more details on that one for an upcoming edition of of the paper and this blog.


New Bremerton Restaurant to offer ‘accessible fine dining’ in Manette

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

A new “accessible fine dining” restaurant will open in the former spot of The Patio in Manette. That’s what executive chef Timm Higgins calls the soon-to-open Orion.

The restaurant will feature local, seasonal foods, and Higgins plans to change the menu monthly. Higgins, who was trained in french technique at Le Cordon Bleu Collage of Culinary Arts in Portland, has created an opening menu that includes such dishes as scallops in brown butter with Brussels sprouts, bacon, apple and champagne; chicken with roasted garlic gnocchi, peas and carrots with hunter sauce; or wild mushrooms with Parmesan risotto croquette, blue cheese and Marsala.

The full opening menu is posted below as well as in the window of the restaurant. (more…)


New Kitsap Restaurants of 2010: Part 2 of 4

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

Last week, I started giving a roundup of the new eateries that opened in Kitsap in 2010 A through E. Today, we continue with G through L:

Gluten Free Bakery & Market – The market, formerly known as Gluten Free Foodies Bakery & Market, is devoted to offerings including pizza crusts, breads, hamburger buns, cookies and cakes that are wheat-free as well as free of other gluten-filled grains. The shop opened in Poulsbo Village in May. Location: 19351 8th Ave. NE, Suite 208, Poulsbo

Hales Alehouse – While the Hales beers aren’t exactly local in that it’s not brewed in Kitsap, it’s owner Mike Hale is a longtime Kitsap resident. When Hale announced that he would open a brew pub in Kitsap, some speculated (or wished) that it would go to Bremerton or South Kitsap. However, he settled on a spot at the Kitsap Mall, which opened in July. They offer, of course, Hales beers on taps as well as a rotating group of guest taps. The menu comprises salads, pizzas, burgers sandwiches and specials such as bangers and mash, meatloaf and fish and chips. Location: In the Kitsap Mall

Himalayan Chutney – This Poulsbo restaurant offers Indian and Nepaliese food, including curries, tandoori and, as the name implies, chutney. On my to-try list are the Himalayan moms, which are spiced chicken dumplings with a sesame seed sauce. Entrees are about $7-$16, and they have a lunch buffet on weekdays. Location: 18801 Front St., Poulsbo

Hitchcock – Fresh and local are the two primary words used to describe this and another restaurant that opened this spring on Bainbridge Island. Hitchcock aims for a find-dining experience. They offer $2 to $5 appetizers, such as macron almonds or a rabbit mousse with a spiced pear gelée Hot entrees range from a $16 yakitori-grilled pork belly to a $24 pork chop with brussels sprouts, bacon and applesauce. Location: 133 Winslow Way, Bainbridge Island.

Itza Pizza Time - This little building by Albertsons has been home to Skippers, Southern food, Mexican and more. First they were in the spot near Albertson’s and now they’ve moved to the old Denny’s building. This is a traditional pizza place that also serves pasta. Entrees are under $10. Location: 3621 Wheaton Way, Bremerton.

La Pan Asian Cuisine - This downtown Bremerton restaurant blends foods of the Asian persuasion, including Thai-style curries, Chinese entrees, Vietnamese pho and Filipino pancit. Average meal price is about $8. The food is well-flavored, but word to those with short lunch break: call and order ahead; they have a small kitchen back there. Location: 200 1ST Street, Bremerton, near the ferry terminal

Local Havest Restaurant – One of two restaurants that opened last year on Bainbridge to focus on locally sourced foods. The menu lists the farms from which some of the dishes come from, such as potatoes and carrots from Farmhouse Organics or chicken (stuffed with wild mushrooms and grits) from Draper Valley Farms. Prices range from $14 to $21. Location: 403 Madison Avenue, Bainbridge Island

Read Part 1 of the new Kitsap restaurants of 2010.


New Kitsap Restaurants of 2010: Part 1 of 4

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

So, so much to eat and try. In 2010, nearly 30 new eateries opened in Kitsap County, and nine got new owners.

Some new eateries were highlighted in various Kitsap Sun articles and blog posts throughout the year, though some we admittedly missed. I plan to visit the new restaurants in more detail in the coming months and invite you to share your impressions on any of the new eateries of 2010.

I’ll be stretching this blog post out into four parts through this week because that many restaurants makes for one awfully long blog post and — let’s be honest — so I can get as many eyeballs back to the Food Life blog as I can.

We’ll go alphabetically based on a list of new restaurants provided by the Kitsap County Health Department:

John Strasinger the owner/ chef at the new Bay Street Bistro cooks zucchini at the downtown Port Orchard location.

Bay Street Bistro – I talked with chef and co-owner John Strasinger about his new restaurant a month and a half after it opened in late July. Strasinger tries to procure as many ingredients as he can from local farmers, and has worked to build up the restaurant as a neighborhood dinner spot. Recently, they’ve started serving lunches and this fall put a savory gorgonzola-laced cheesecake that’s just as good as a mouthful on its own or on a cracker.

Boogaloo’s – The name filed with the health department is “Boogaloo’s Shrimp Shack”, but the sign out front says Boogaloo’s Bar-B-Que. I’ve also seen it referenced on sandwich-board signs around town and in a Kitasp Sun sports story as Boogaloo’s BBQ and Boogaloo’s Barbeque Pit. Whatever it’s called, it opened this summer in a tiny building on Bremerton’s waterfront boardwalk. Owned by Tony Thomas of the former Soul Brothers restaurant chain in Bremerton, which had its local heyday in the late ’90s. I was away in college, so I missed it the first time around, but word is that the brisket is just as heavily smoked and tender as it was back then.

Burger Me Now – This spot on the plaza at Highway 303 and McWilliams, between Safeway and Toad House is exactly what the name would imply: a burger joint. Burger Me Now offers a variety of burgers, from a $6 standard to a $7.45 teriyaki chicken burger as well as seafood and chips. I’ve not tried it yet. I can’t seem to go near the Toad House without wanting a beer, and get distracted. We’ve been talking about it for months, but someday Mike Moore and I are going to put out a roundup of burger joints — including this one — on the Kitsap Peninsula and immediately surrounding areas.

Chet’s Place - This is the latest offering at 610 Callow Avenue in Bremerton, spot to a former Mongolian Grill/Nightclub, the Ponderay Cafe and Lounge (gosh, I loved the Ponderay’s German sausage and potato pancakes), El Camino’s and others. Chet’s Place serves up soul food including grits, hush puppies and fried okra. It also has a lounge because there has to be some place to get a 9 a.m. beer on Callow Avenue, right?

Deane’s Pizza a& Subs – I feel that I almost have to like this place since I almost share a middle name with it. That said, I haven’t actually tried it, but if you want to, it’s across from Fred Meyers in that plaza with the 24-hour fitness place and Emerald City Smoothies. They offer — you guessed it — pizza and subs and opened in May. The pizzas offerings seem to go beyond the standards with things like taco pizza and alfredo pizza.

Der Blokken Brewery – This Manette brewpub opened in spring to fanfare from the local brew geek community. In addition to a hard-to-find-on tap lineup of beers, such as Old Rasputin Imperial Stout, 90 Minute IPA from Dogfish and Der Blokken’s own Black stout, they offer a lineup of pub fare including a gorgonzola burger, chicken wings, occasional steak special and a personal favorite poutine, the gravy and curd smothered fries of French Canadian fame.

El Pueblito Mexican Restaurant – This Gig Harbor-based restaurant opened a Port Orchard branch on Lund Avenue, near Bethel, this spring. It’s family-style Mexican with dishes such as arroz con pollo, burritos, enchiladas, etc. The handful of online reviews for this place are mixed.


Port Orchard Restaurant Bay Street Bistro Working to Build Community

Monday, September 13th, 2010

The new Bay Street Bistro in downtown Port Orchard location. Photos by Larry Steagall, Kitsap Sun.

On a recent afternoon two hours before opening, John Strasinger could be found sitting at one of his restaurant’s tables picking through a bin of yellow wax beans.

They’d been brought to the Bay Street Bistro that afternoon freshly picked from a Port Orchard farm.

“Kitsap produces some absolutely beautiful produce,” he said.

During the growing season, about 80 percent of the produce used at the restaurant, which opened in late July, has come from local farms. Some things, such as lemons, olives and garlic needed for Italian-style dishes, either don’t grow here or aren’t yet grown in enough abundance to fully support a restaurant. (more…)


Bremerton’s Cora’s Diner Closing It’s Doors

Friday, August 27th, 2010

Cora’s gave us the Bremersaurus burger (two beef patties, bacon, cheese and all the fixin’s), lumpia, on Thursdays, a decent pork adobo at pretty affordable prices. And for anyone who ate there with even the slightest frequency, a familiar greeting.

For us here at the Kitsap Sun, Cora’s was a place we could always feel welcome, get some bits of conversation, and an occasional video tip from co-owner Rick Foxworth. After about the third time I went in, Cora already knew my name.

And if you went pretty frequently, it was a place you could get the occasional special extra like ice cream sundaes (maybe Cora let everyone have those, but we’d just like to feel special).

I wish I had gone more frequently.

Because today, we’re going to have to say goodbye to that spot on Fourth Street. Their rising rent was just too much, Cora told me a couple weeks ago. I haven’t yet heard final plans for what she’ll do next. I wasn’t sure if she was just joking or if she’s actually going to do it, but Cora mentioned a mobile food cart. I hope whatever she does, food and Bremerton are both involved.

I and others at the Sun plan on having lunch there today, and I imagine others working downtown will join us. I’ll update this post after lunch.


Memories of Bremerton’s Pat’s Restaurant and Bakery

Monday, February 1st, 2010

On Friday, we heard that Pat’s Restaurant and Bakery was closed, leaving a sign in a window on a place that was one of Bremerton’s longtime gathering spots. It was hard to go in there without seeing someone you knew. I’ll personally miss the harvest pancakes with orange butter.

Reporter Steven Gardner is trying to follow up on the closure today, asking about what happened and things like, ‘What will happen to all those cookie jars?’

When I posted about it on the Sun’s Facebook page, people lamented the loss of the local business, and generated one of the longest Facebook page comment threads I’ve seen in awhile.

The closing also inspired one woman, Heather Wood, to send us her touching memories of Pat’s, which I thought I’d share with you Food Life readers:

Pat’s Restaurant and Bakery Closes its Doors after 29 Years

By Heather Wood

This piece is about food, well really, about life. But you ought to know that I am not a writer by profession. In fact, I am in the field of finance and play with numbers all day. However, I don’t know that anyone else could truly tell this story as I could, and so I feel compelled to write it.

In 1981, a woman named Pat opened the doors up of a bakery in East Bremerton’s Wheaton Mall. It was called Pat’s Cookie Jar back then, and was a delight to a little girl’s eyes! Cases of cookies, brownies, cinnamon rolls. My mother would take me there after preschool and let me pick out a treat. I loved the lemon bars. We would sit at a table, munching away, while she listened to me babble on about finger-painting, story time, and the like. Those were special mother-daughter times that I will never forget.

In the summer, my brother and I would beg to go there for lunch. We would walk into the packed restaurant and press our noses up against the bakery cases, admiring the frosted shortbread cookies. Then, we’d take a seat, arguing over who would get to sit next to mommy, of course! I would order an egg salad sandwich and he would order a BLT. While we waited for our food to come, we would look around at the cookie jars that were the restaurant’s décor and try to decide which ones we liked the best.

We’ve had birthday parties there. My graduation party was celebrated there. We’ve gathered with friends and extended family there. My parents have enjoyed anniversary and Valentine dinners there. Pat’s Restaurant and Bakery has been a part of the moments of our lives, both the small, everyday bits that go forgotten, and those bigger moments you never forget.

One of the things I’ve appreciated the most about Pat’s is the dignity with which the staff has always treated my family. You see, my brother has autism, and this sometimes leads to awkward moments in restaurants: stares and dirty looks from fellow patrons and somewhat curt treatment from restaurant staff at times. It was never like this at Pat’s, though. We were at home there. Relaxed. Comfortable. And the staff would even call my brother my name.

A few years ago, we donated our family cookie jar to Pat’s. It’s the yellow cupcake one with chocolate frosting and a cherry on top!

In recent years, my family has dined there two to three nights a week. This past Tuesday, my family drove out to Pat’s for dinner once again. But it was dark inside. The door was locked, and there was a sign on it saying “Thank you for 29 years.” As they were walking away to leave, one of the restaurant’s former employees pulled up and confirmed for my family that Pat’s Restaurant and Bakery had closed its doors for the last time on Sunday, January 24th, due to financial issues related to our Nation’s recession. The employee said that Pat’s will likely hold an auction at some point to liquidate its assets: tables… chairs… those dozens of beloved cookie jars…

My mother called me that night with the news. She said it made her want to cry. It made me want to cry as well! This is the loss of more than just a restaurant and of great food; it is the loss of a piece of our community, a loss of a piece of our lives.

To the former staff of Pat’s: You have served us well. You have been a part of my family and of my history. There is not a single month I can think of in the past 29 years of my life that you all have not been a part of. I have so many good memories filed away: laughter and blackberry pie all mixed together… lunch with my grandmother, who we lost many years ago… conversations with my mother about college life on weekends home… You have enriched our lives more than you could ever know. There are truly no words adequate in the English language to express my family’s gratitude to you all. Thank YOU for twenty-nine amazing years! We love you and wish you well on life’s journey.


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The Food Life covers people, place and events involved in the food community on the Kitsap Peninsula and surrounding areas.
Written by Angela Dice. You can contact me at angela [at] angeladice.com.

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