Restaurant News & Reviews

Restaurant Update: Plenty of activity to kick off 2016

Larry Rupcicha, left, and Patrick Mullen serve customers on the opening night of Culture Cafe at Kombucha Town on Thursday, Jan. 7, in Bellingham, Wash.
Larry Rupcicha, left, and Patrick Mullen serve customers on the opening night of Culture Cafe at Kombucha Town on Thursday, Jan. 7, in Bellingham, Wash.

January is typically a time of change for the local restaurant industry, and this year is living up to that tradition.

Since this is usually a quiet time of year from a customer standpoint, restaurants tend to take this time to remodel, move, get open or close. Here’s a roundup of the latest happenings:

▪  A new restaurant is in the works at 1200 Cornwall Ave., in the former I & Wife and Shrimp Shack space. It is called Eat Restaurant and Bar and is operated by an ownership group that includes Eric Truglas and Dominique Faury.

Truglas said they are aiming for a French bistro feel, but they also will have some American comfort food on the menu. A large selection of wines from the Pacific Northwest and Europe will complement the food.

They plan to be open later this month for lunch and dinner (closed on Sundays and Mondays) and hope to have some live music. Details about the restaurant can be found on its Facebook page.

▪  The Culture Cafe at Kombucha Town opened in the basement of the Herald Building (entrance in the alley near La Fiamma). Along with the infused tea that is kombucha, the cafe will have a menu of European-style small plates as well as kombucha-infused cocktails. It is open every day from 11 a.m. into the late evening, according to a news release from the company. For details, visit

▪  Rocket Donuts has finished remodeling its downtown Bellingham Holly Street location. The shop has operated with limited service since November but now has an expanded seating area. Much of the remodeling work took place behind the counter, including moving ventilation systems and other heavy equipment to create a better flow and make it easier to expand production capabilities, said Kim Mindnich of Rocket Donuts.

It had a soft reopening last week and is planning a grand opening celebration for Friday, Jan. 15.

▪  The Cantina at the Silver Reef Hotel Casino Spa is closed for the next few weeks while it undergoes some remodeling. When the remodeling is complete it will have more seating, big-screen televisions and a new menu. The remodeling is part of a plan to update and provide a new look to the food service operations at Silver Reef, said Bill Gorman, a spokesman for Lummi Nation.

▪  A new food truck is operating over at Barlean’s Fishery that has a bit of a twist. The truck offers a seafood menu with some of Barlean’s Fishery products, including salmon burgers, fish tacos, clam chowder and oysters. The truck is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Barlean’s Fishery at 3660 Slater Road.

▪  The Mount Bakery has submitted a tenant improvement permit for its Fairhaven cafe at 1217 Harris Ave. According to the planning documents, the restaurant will be expanding into the former Trek Video space. Owner Vince Lalonde said the expansion will triple the size of that spot and will allow them to have a sit-down eatery much like the downtown location at 308 W. Champion St. He said they don’t have a timeline yet on when the expansion will be completed but is hoping for sometime this summer.

▪  Pure Bliss Desserts took the first week of January to remodel its cafe at 1424 Cornwall Ave. According to its Facebook page, they did some remodeling to increase the kitchen area in order to better serve customers.

Restaurant Update runs monthly in Take Five. Dave Gallagher: 360-715-2269,, @BhamHeraldBiz