Business

Something a little different is coming to the downtown Bellingham restaurant scene

The future location of Bantam is pictured under construction on Thursday, Sept. 6, in Bellingham. Bantam will be located on Railroad Avenue next to Mallard Ice Cream.
The future location of Bantam is pictured under construction on Thursday, Sept. 6, in Bellingham. Bantam will be located on Railroad Avenue next to Mallard Ice Cream. evan.abell@bellinghamherald.com

A restaurant coming to downtown Bellingham this fall could be a hit for those with a hankering for rotisserie-style chicken.

Ben Scholtz, who has owned Mallard Ice Cream since 2001, is opening a new restaurant next door at 1327 Railroad Ave. Called Bantam, the restaurant will have a bar on the second floor.  He has purchased a vertical rotisserie machine from Bellingham’s Wood Stone and is planning a menu that includes rotisserie chicken and modern, southern style dishes.

Scholtz, along with some of the Mallard staff, wanted to add something different to Bellingham’s restaurant scene. He consulted with them before moving forward because he wants the restaurant to be an opportunity for current staff who want to try something different.

Scholtz was originally interested in just the main floor space, which used to be home to Mad Hatter Clothing. When he found out the upper floor was also available, he decided to connect the two spaces.

The downstairs area will have seating for 30, while the upstairs area will seat around 40. Both floors will have full table service.

As for the Bantam name, it is in reference to poultry, but Scholtz is also a fan of the poet Wallace Stevens, who wrote “Bantams in Pine-Woods.”

“I think a restaurant name should be appetizing, and also easy to say and hear. As I was rolling lots of ideas around in my head, the Wallace Stevens title came to me and encouraged me that at least the word had a music to it,” Scholtz said in an email.

Construction is underway and Scholtz is hoping to have a soft opening sometime in November. Once open, it will serve lunch and dinner seven days a week. The restaurant has a Facebook page for updates.

Other Tidbits

Ambo Ethiopian Cuisine announced on its Facebook page that it has closed after losing its lease at the Bellingham Public Market following the closure of the main leaseholder, Terra Organic. Owner Mulu Belay said she will try to reopen in a new space. ... Rawganique is planning to open its cafe on Sept. 10 at 429 Peace Portal Drive in Blaine. The cafe offers a variety of menu items, including organic juices, smoothies, soups, salads and sandwiches. It is also home to a retail clothing store. Details can be found on its Facebook page. ... Evolve Chocolate & Cafe has opened its cafe on the third floor of the Village Books building. The menu includes breakfast and lunch dishes like pastries, sandwiches, soups and salads. Drinks include coffee, juice, tea cocktails, beer, wine and hard cider. ... The Bellingham Dairy Queen at 811 Iowa St. is having a 40th-anniversary celebration on Tuesday by rolling back prices on two menu items to when they first opened in 1978. A small ice cream cone will be 35 cents, while a single hamburger will be 55 cents. The restaurant also will have raffles, prizes and a visit from its mascot Curly. The restaurant will be open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. ... The Hub Community Bike Shop announced on its Facebook page that it is closing its operations at 903 1/2 N. State St. on Sept. 8 to make way for a new residential housing project. According to an article in the Cascadia Weekly, the Hub is moving to 110 Ohio St., near Wander Brewing. The Hub is planning to be open in its new spot sometime in November.

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