"}
Food

The Local

Where beer is a major food group

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

As soon as photos from the Local Public House started showing up in my Facebook feed, I knew I would be visiting soon.

Created by Menace Brewing owners Ben Buccarelli, Tom Raden, and Brandon Peterson, it sounded like everything I want in a pub. Beer-food pairings? Duck gumbo? House-made kimchi? They opened their doors on Railroad Avenue in mid-October and we promptly went to try it out.

The space is airy but warm, thanks to plenty of natural wood, but all the surfaces are hard and the walls are currently bare, which makes for a loud room. There is seating at the long bar and at tables around the edge of the room, with standing tables down the middle that would be awkward for eating but perfect for hanging out over a pint with friends.

The menu is divided into “Liquids” and “Solids,” a clear demonstration of the Local’s devotion to beer as a major food group. This is not a place to go if you always order the same beer, since their list changes constantly as one keg blows and is replaced by a completely different one.

They feature beers from all the local breweries, including Menace (of course), Chuckanut, Boundary Bay, North Fork, Island Hoppin’ and others. The food menu—created by co-owner Peterson, who previously was chef at the Fork at Agate Bay—includes beer pairing suggestions for each dish, and the plan is that, as the beer list changes, the food will also change.

On my first lunchtime visit I asked the bartender whether I should go for the Reuben or the banh mi. He looked thoughtful, asked how hungry I was, then settled on the Reuben ($11). He did not steer me wrong. It was one of the best Reubens of my life: the marbled rye was cut thin and toasted, the corned beef (made from a top round, not a brisket) was falling-apart tender and succulent, and there was plenty of cheese and sauerkraut. The fries were soft but flavorful—at first I thought I could skip them, but suddenly found myself finishing them off with the accompanying remoulade. My companion polished off a bowl of the roasted duck and andouille gumbo ($10).

On a later visit, with a couple of extra tasters in our party, we sampled the dinner menu. I had the blackened shrimp with fried okra and andouille sausage ($10), while a friend had the venison bangers with parsnip mash and kale chips ($12). He didn’t much care for the venison sausage by itself, but the combination was effective.

Another friend ordered the curried fish and chips ($10), which she had also tried the previous week. She said the amount of curry in the batter varied, as did the quantity of fish in the order, but it was firm, fresh and not greasy. Chimichurri lamb frites ($13) was perfectly cooked and interestingly paired with a light herb salad, although we were puzzled as to why the chimichurri sauce was underneath the fries rather than on the lamb.

All of it was well conceived, well executed and very good with beer. My only quibble is that the size of the portions is erratic. The fish and chips make a meal, but the shrimp and okra was more of a beer snack, as was the lamb frites. We found that we needed to add an order of wings with gochujang and kimchi ($7) to stave off hunger—not exactly a terrible hardship.

Small portions are not, however, the case at brunch, the latest addition to the Local’s repertoire.

We were informed that the chicken and waffles with green chile gravy ($12) are a transporting experience, but we got distracted by the chilaquiles ($8) and the corned beef hash ($10). The chilaquiles were both plentiful and excellent, with perfectly fried eggs perched on top of black beans on top of tomato- and pepper-soaked tortilla chips, and they went spectacularly with a chile-infused pale ale from Menace Brewing. Now that’s what I call brunch.

Ticket Cascadia
More Food...
Bellingham SeaFeast
Get an edible education

For years, I was a (mostly) strict vegetarian who lived in Idaho.

I say “mostly” because I’d suspend my dietary dictates on my annual sojourn to our family’s cabin on Lummi Island—where we purchased sockeye salmon directly from the reefnetters who caught them, scooped up Dungeness crabs…

more »
Ferndale Farmstead
An Eat Local Month spotlight

Kevin Dougherty, the farm manager of Ferndale Farmstead, is already up at first light—he’s been awake since 5:30am—feeding fawn-colored calves and preparing for the long day ahead.

Dougherty’s morning routine doesn’t look any different from countless other dairy farmers across…

more »
Compass Rose
A unique mix in Point Roberts

Many restaurants try to deliver a great dining experience by focusing on fresh ingredients and unique recipes. But if your restaurant is in a place as remote as Point Roberts—an American “island” in Whatcom County surrounded by the ocean on one side and Canada on the other—you have to…

more »
Events
Today
A gold medal standard

4:00pm

Eat Local Month

4:00pm|Bellingham and Whatcom County

Whatcom Water Week

10:00am|Whatcom County

Little Women

7:30pm|Whidbey Playhouse

The Miracle Worker

7:30pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

The Music Man

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

Wild Things

9:30am|Whatcom Falls Park

Quilt & Fiber Arts Festival

10:00am|La Conner

Parkinson's Dance Class

10:00am|Ballet Bellingham

Spanish Storytime

10:30am|Lynden Library

Ferndale Farmers Market

1:00pm|Cherry Street

Get an edible education

4:00pm

Autumn Celebration Dinner

5:30pm|Bellingham Senior Activity Center

Love, Loss and What I Wore

7:30pm|Heiner Auditorium

Hellingham

8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

Handling the truth

9:35pm

MBT Wynton Marsalis Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1
Tomorrow
Whatcom Water Week

10:00am|Whatcom County

The Miracle Worker

7:30pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

The Music Man

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

Little Women

7:30pm|Whidbey Playhouse

Quilt & Fiber Arts Festival

10:00am|La Conner

Get an edible education

4:00pm

Love, Loss and What I Wore

7:30pm|Heiner Auditorium

Hellingham

8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

Handling the truth

9:35pm

Run Like a Girl

8:00am|Fairhaven Park

Cabbage Class

9:00am|Garden Spot Nursery

Model Train Show

9:00am|Northwest Washington Fairgrounds

Mount Vernon Farmers Market

9:00am|Riverfront Plaza

Benefit Garage Sale

9:00am|T.G. Richards Building

Twin Sisters Farmers Market

9:00am|Nugent's Corner

Anacortes Farmers Market

9:00am|Depot Arts Center

Healthcare Film

9:30am|Bellingham Public Library

Fall Fruit Festival

10:00am|Cloud Mountain Farm Center

Fermentation Fun

10:00am|Blaine Library

Skagit Valley Festival of Family Farms

10:00am|Skagit County

Bellingham Farmers Market

10:00am|Depot Market Square

Blaine Gardeners Market

10:00am|Peace Portal Drive

Film is Truth Anniversary Party

10:00am|Bellingham Public Market

Whatcom Artist Studio Tour

10:00am|Whatcom County

Birding Walk

10:00am|South Whatcom Library

Fall Family Fun

10:00am|Glen Echo Garden

Porpathon

10:00am|Salish Sea

Buddy Walk

11:00am|Fairhaven Village Green

National Geographic's 50 Greatest Photos Opening

12:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Lightcatcher Building

Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

Banned Books Week Read-In

12:30pm|Village Books

Intro to NaNoWriMo

1:00pm|Bellingham Public Library

Artist Lecture

1:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Traditional Jazz

2:00pm|VFW Hall

Matched Makers Opening

2:00pm|Museum of Northwest Art

Timber Rose

2:00pm|North Fork Library

Blessing of the Animals

3:30pm|Cornwall Park

Poetry Palavers

4:00pm|Village Books

Edison Opening

5:00pm|Smith & Vallee Gallery

Matzke Art Auction

5:00pm|Matzke Fine Art Gallery and Sculpture Park

Celebrating Jack Prelutsky

5:30pm|Western Library

USA Dance

7:00pm|Presence Studio

The Aimees

7:00pm|BAAY Theatre

Fred Morrison

7:00pm|Littlefield Celtic Center

George Winston

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

Folk Dance Party

7:30pm|Fairhaven Library

Tannahill Weavers

7:30pm|Lincoln Theatre

Bellingham Chamber Music Society

7:30pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Artifacts Wine Bar Village Books
Sunday
The Miracle Worker

7:30pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

The Music Man

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

Little Women

7:30pm|Whidbey Playhouse

Quilt & Fiber Arts Festival

10:00am|La Conner

Love, Loss and What I Wore

7:30pm|Heiner Auditorium

Handling the truth

9:35pm

Benefit Garage Sale

9:00am|T.G. Richards Building

Model Train Show

9:00am|Northwest Washington Fairgrounds

Fall Fruit Festival

10:00am|Cloud Mountain Farm Center

Skagit Valley Festival of Family Farms

10:00am|Skagit County

Whatcom Artist Studio Tour

10:00am|Whatcom County

Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

Rabbit Ride

8:00am|Fairhaven Bicycle

Community Breakfast

8:00am|Rome Grange

Fueling Education Fun Run

9:30am|Washington Park

Sunday Market

1:00pm|Alger Community Hall

Walk the Wall

1:30pm|Lake Padden

Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day

2:00pm|Lake Padden Park

Sunday Night Fusion

7:00pm|Presence Studio

White Christmas Auditions

7:00pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Bruce Molsky

7:00pm|YWCA Ballroom

see our complete calendar »

{/exp:stash:get_list} Village Books Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 CW BOB 2016 Zoots Side Bar Bellingham Farmer’s Market Andrew Subin Artifacts Wine Bar MBT Wynton Marsalis Mount Baker Theatre Swinomish 2016 Everybody’s Store Northwood Steak and Crab