Restaurant News & Reviews

Restaurant Update: Warm days keeping customers outdoors

Lisa Critchlow of Lummi Island eats lunch at the Bagelry on Railroad Avenue with her dog Moose Wednesday, July 2, 2014.
Lisa Critchlow of Lummi Island eats lunch at the Bagelry on Railroad Avenue with her dog Moose Wednesday, July 2, 2014. The Bellingham Herald

This is turning into a near-perfect year for local restaurants that have outdoor seating.

With all of the sunny, warm days prior to July 5 this year (the local rule of thumb is that summer doesn’t officially start around here until the day after a soggy Fourth of July celebration), restaurant owners have been able to break out the patio seating early and often. Judging by the amount of people I’ve seen by walking around in the evenings and the slowdown of restaurant closures the past few months, I would guess sales are going well despite the weakening Canadian dollar.

The third quarter of the calendar year is usually the best three-month stretch for eateries, so having a nice run of weather prior to July should be a boost to the industry.

Here’s a roundup of recent restaurant activity and upcoming events:

▪  Sustainable Connections and the Northwest Washington Chefs Collaborative will have their first-ever Field to Flame Brunch, a seven-course fundraiser featuring seven local chefs and more than a dozen local farmers.

It will be at 6299 Northwest Road, behind Boxx Berry Farm from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 30

Local farmers and fishers will be providing the freshest and the best of their summer bounty so the chefs with the Northwest Washington Chefs Collaborative can prepare a complete local feast. This fundraiser will help to grow the collaborative's work in building relationships through farmer/chef mentorships, according to a news release. Money raised also will go toward Sustainable Connections’ Food to Bank On program.

Local chefs include Mataio Gillis of Ciao Thyme; Josh Silverman, previously of Dashi Noodle Bar and Nimbus; Will Annett of Pizza’zza; Mica Christensen of Keenan's on the Pier; Patrick Durgan from Western Washington University; Gabriel Claycamp of Jack Mountain Meats; and Arlené Mantha of 250 Flora. In addition to a gourmet local brunch, the event will have live music, lawn games, a food centric silent auction, specialty drinks and fresh-pressed juice pairings.

Individual seats are available for $75 before Thursday, Aug. 6.

Tickets and information can be found at

▪  The Local Public House, a restaurant and pub at 1427 Railroad Ave., is getting ready to double in size by taking over a nearby space. It should be ready in the expanded spot sometime this fall, said restaurant manager Rob Whitney.

The expanded space will have more seating, but the key is the establishment of a one-barrel beer lab system. They plan on creating a nonprofit brewery, giving local home brewers an incubator format to try out recipes on a slightly larger scale to see if they have a viable product. The beer lab portion of the project is expected to get rolling in early 2016.

The Local has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help pay for some final touches to the beer lab and possibly get it open sooner. For further details, visit the company's Facebook page.

▪  Lourdes A. Medina recently opened Mazatlan Seafood and Grill at 2012 Main St., in Ferndale near Main St. Bar & Grill. The restaurant is open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

While it's a Mexican-style restaurant, the goal is to be different from others in the area, said Ernesto A. Torres, who manages the eatery. Mazatlan is geared toward seafood dishes.

Details about the restaurant can be found at its Facebook page and by calling 360-319-5592.

▪  Permits were submitted to the city of Bellingham to put in a Subway sandwich shop at 3123 Old Fairhaven Parkway, near the WFC store.

Restaurant Update runs monthly in Take Five. Have an update on a Whatcom County restaurant? Send questions or tips to or call 360-715-2269.