Whatcom restaurants were off to a good start in terms of sales at the beginning of 2015.
According to retail sales numbers from the Washington State Department of Revenue, Whatcom County restaurants tallied $77.7 million in sales during the first quarter, a 5.6 percent increase compared to the same period a year ago. The sales numbers come from tax filings of 453 restaurant and drinking establishments.
Here's a roundup of recent restaurant activity and upcoming events:
▪ Sustainable Connections is once again gearing up for its Eat Local month in September with a variety of events, including a Whatcom Farm Tour, cooking classes and special dinners.
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The farm tour takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12. It is a self-guided tour of 10 farms, a winery and the farmers market. The month also will feature 21 restaurants coming up with meals that are made with 50 percent or more locally sourced ingredients.
Details can be found at eatlocalfirst.org.
▪ Luna's Bistro served its last meal as an upscale Italian restaurant on Monday, Aug. 3, but reopened two weeks later with a revamped menu.
The name of Luna's Bistro, at 3004 Cinema Place, remains the same.
Dishes under the new format of small plates range from shrimp cakes to fried ravioli, sliders to caprese salad. The prices are roughly $3 to $9 each, so people can order a few plates to pass around or just get a snack before a movie.
The change wasn't because people didn't like the Italian concept, owner Jesse Cantu said, but because it wasn't a good fit for the location right next to the Barkley Regal Cinema Stadium 16.
▪ Övn Wood Fired Pizza is now open at 1148 10th St., near the Village Green in Fairhaven.
The pizza place is open for lunch and dinner every day, bringing a different kind of pizza to Bellingham, said owner Matt Brauner. This type of pizza is flash-cooked by going into an 850-degree oven for two-and-a-half minutes.
Details can be found on its Facebook page.
▪ A state liquor license application has been filed for the former Maple Falls Café building at 7471 Mount Baker Highway. The applicant is Marc Wilson, and the proposed business name is Crave'n Burgers & Brew.
▪ A state liquor license application was submitted to put in a new cafe at the Whatcom Museum Lightcatcher building at 250 Flora St. The proposed new eatery is called Artifacts Cafe & Wine Bar and the applicants are Brandon Wicklund and James McClure.
▪ Christie Jaquette of Original Grains is partnering with Pat Blakeslee of Avellino Coffeehouse to turn the Avellino Cafe at 4260 Cordata Parkway into a dedicated gluten-free cafe and bakery. The new name will be Gluten Free Angels Bakery Cafe Espresso and the bakery will have a retail section for gluten-free breads, rolls, buns and breadcrumbs. Jaquette said the plan is to have the cafe ready at the end of August. Once Gluten Free Angels is open, Original Grains will focus only on traditional breads, Jaquette said.
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.