Whatcom County appears to be in expansion mode when it comes to eating and drinking establishments.
At the end of 2013, Whatcom County had 546 restaurants, food service businesses and drinking establishments, according to data from the Washington Department of Revenue. That's up from 533 in 2012.
Eating and drinking establishment numbers held steady at around 490 between 2006 and 2009 before jumping to 522 in 2010. It's interesting to see the jump in 2010, since that was a year the economy was still struggling to get back on track. The growth in recent years is noticeable, however, given the number of eating establishments opening in non-restaurant places, particularly breweries.
Here's a look at other things going on around the county:
-- A new liquor license application was filed for Milano's restaurant at 9990 Mount Baker Highway. The new applicant is David Reera.
-- The Electric Beet Juice Co. has signed a lease to go into the Bellingham Public Market on Cornwall Ave. According to its Facebook page, the company will be selling a variety of healthy smoothies and juice drinks.
-- The Oyster Bar on Chuckanut Drive and The Steak House at Silver Reef Hotel Casino Spa were on Wine Spectator's list of 2014 Restaurant Awards, which highlights eateries with the best wine selection. The full list can be found on winespectator.com by hitting the restaurant search link.
Here's an update on restaurants getting open in Whatcom County:
-- Mad Batter Cupcakes and Confections: Opened Friday, July 18.
-- Chipotle: The Mexican restaurant chain is planning to be open in Bellis Fair sometime in the third quarter of 2014.
-- Buffalo Wild Wings: The sports bar chain is scheduled to open at Bellis Fair in the fourth quarter of 2014.
-- Villa Italian Kitchen: Known for its pizza, is going into the former Sbarro space in the food court at Bellis Fair. Construction is expected to start soon.
-- Big Orange: Construction is under way for the Canadian bubble tea/sandwich shop is going in near the food court at Bellis Fair. According to its website, Big Orange offers a variety of food and drink, including bubble tea, fruit smoothies and waffles.
Restaurant Update runs monthly in Take Five. Have an update on a Whatcom County restaurant? Send questions or tips to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 360-715-2269.