Restaurant News & Reviews

Whatcom restaurants ring up more sales during holidays

Owner Liesa Scott shakes powdered sugar on apple strudel at Gretchen's Delight, her Lynden restaurant, April 21 on Front Street next to the Little Red Wagon children's clothing store. The restaurant specializes in German, Austrian and Hungarian food.
Owner Liesa Scott shakes powdered sugar on apple strudel at Gretchen's Delight, her Lynden restaurant, April 21 on Front Street next to the Little Red Wagon children's clothing store. The restaurant specializes in German, Austrian and Hungarian food. pdwyer@bhamherald.com

While sales dipped at Whatcom County stores last holiday season, restaurants continued to see growth.

According to numbers released by the Washington State Department of Revenue, local restaurants rung up $81.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2015, a 2.9 percent increase compared to the same period in 2014. This came at a time when sales in retail stores dropped 5.2 percent.

It’s no surprise that Bellingham dominates other Whatcom County communities in terms of revenue sales, but it is interesting by how much. According to the Department of Revenue’s data, about 75 percent of sales in Whatcom County’s restaurants come from Bellingham.

Bellingham had $61 million in sales during the fourth quarter, followed by Lynden ($6 million), Ferndale ($5.2 million) and Blaine ($1.8 million).

Here’s a look at local restaurant happenings:

▪  At the end of November Liesa Scott opened Gretchen's Delight at 1901 Front St. in Lynden. The menu has plenty of German meals, but Scott has mixed in a variety of dishes that originated in other countries, including Hungary and Austria. Nearly everything is made from scratch. Dishes include an Austrian apple strudel, eintopf (German for one pot, which is a stew) and German pancakes. In the summer months she will be adding several salads to the menu.

The restaurant is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, closed Sunday. She is happy to open the restaurant early for special group breakfasts if they call ahead. Details about the business can be found on its Facebook page or by calling 360-354-1354.

▪  Win’s Drive-In in Fairhaven is now closed, but burgers will return soon to the restaurant, 1315 12th St.

Jim Swift, owner of the building, has plans for a major remodel. He hopes it will give the business the updating it needs while keeping the spirit of a 1960s drive-in. The remodel will include putting in new equipment, roof work and repainting the building.

He expects the work to take about a month. He's not sure at this point if he can get it all done in time for Ski to Sea weekend, which is May 28-29.

Once it reopens, the business will be renamed Zane Burger. Swift had considered the idea of keeping the Win's name but decided they were making enough changes to the business that it was time to make a fresh start with a new name.

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

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