A restaurant with roots

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

If it’s not made in the restaurant, it’s not served there.

That’s the philosophy at Lovitt Restaurant, which opened recently in the space formerly occupied by the Fairhaven Pub. Owners Norman and Kristen Six relocated to Bellingham from Colville, where they had run a small restaurant out of their historic dwelling. Once their family grew to include two kids, it became too challenging to keep work and home in the same space.

Change beckoned, and Bellingham seemed a good fit for the family. They redecorated and styled the large basement space in Fairhaven, designated part of it a play area for kids and continued their labor of love.

It was challenging finding a use for that large space, Kristen admits. Having an open kitchen helps, as diners seated in the front of the restaurant can see their food being prepared by Chef Norman and his team. It’s also a great gathering place for parents with young kids, as a quadrant of the restaurant is designated for children and outfitted with toys that will have wide appeal to the toddler set. Around the corner, a mural of the San Juan Islands helps lighten the space.

While Kristen manages the front, Norman is the powerhouse in the kitchen. He’s created a diverse menu with lots of choices, some of them well beyond the norm of what you’d see elsewhere in the county. Ever seen nettle soup on a menu? You’ll find it here ($5-$7). Among the entrées is poached sablefish ($24), a buttery flavored fin fish I’ve not seen on any other menu in the city.

Patrons will also enjoy the usual suspects, such as burgers with garlic roast potatoes ($10), sirloin steak ($18), ravioli ($17), and pan-seared lamb chops ($25). Sweet treats include strawberry lime coconut milk sorbet with candied lime peel, and kids can enjoy a menu of their own consisting of burgers, spaghetti, grilled cheese and salmon.

Basically, there’s something on this menu for everyone, even the fussiest eaters.

Farm-to-table is the name of the game at Lovitt, and all large meat comes from Stevens County, where the Sixs know the farmers they buy from and how they raise their livestock. Ingredients are local wherever possible, and include cheese from Twin Sisters Creamery, Appel Farm, Ferndale Farmstead, Fairhaven Flour, Bow Hill Blueberries, and Cascadia Mushrooms.

The Sixs are fans of the slow food movement and make everything themselves—right down to the ice cream, pasta and ketchup. On their menu, they encourage diners to take their time, so if you’re in a mad rush, this is not the place for a quick lunch. If you have a leisurely hour or more to relax over a house-made blueberry limeade and appetizers, though, you won’t be disappointed.

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