Once the Top Notch, now the Pitchwood! You may have noticed a few changes happening at this local establishment. The tavern that everyone knew is now the new and improved Pitchwood Alehouse, a name carefully crafted to suit the area.
“When a fir tree is cut down, the pitch rises to the top and kind of preserves it. We knew we wanted a name that was relevant to the area but also spoke to those traveling through,” owner Kaley Hanson said of the unique name.
After a few years of managing restaurants and even building a few, Hanson knew he wanted to work for himself.
“It's something that I really fell in love with,” Hanson said. “I worked for other people for a few years and I knew I wanted to open my own business.”
Hanson also knew that he wanted to return to the Raymond area to start a business, so he began searching along with his father for the perfect location. When Ruby Campbell and Debbie Croswell, the long-time owners of the old Top Notch, approached him about purchasing the tavern, the Hansons were skeptical. After a closer inspection they decided it was everything they wanted and more, offering space for expansion and extended possibilities.
As the ownership, management, and direction shifted, the throngs of new customers followed suit, although the patrons who have known the establishment for years, will always be welcome.
Hanson said, “We really are seeing a whole new demographic around here.”
This is not surprising considering the Pitchwood is one of the few establishments of the area that offer live music and entertainment during the week. There is an open mic for budding artists on Wednesday from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. On Thursdays, patrons enjoy dinner and a show by Alan Ekrem, from 6 to 8 p.m. and on weekends, the stage features karaoke and live bands. A few performers they've hosted in the past have been Humptulips, Lady and the Tramps, Anitize, and solo artist Jessica Porter.
They are implementing some huge changes around the newly refreshed establishment. If you've visited recently, I'm sure you've seen or even smelled some of the amazing foods the kitchen is cranking out. Their current menu satisfies the traditional, the unusual, and some twists on old favorites. For those that enjoy shellfish, local Goose Point oysters are served on the half shell, barbecued, shooters, and an oyster sandwich. Their Black and Bleu Burger is a local favorite with is blackened beef patty and bacon piled high with bleu cheese. If you're venturing out and looking for something different, consider the Goat Cheese Pizza topped with sliced mushrooms, red peppers, and herbs. During the summer months, a special menu based on seasonal ingredients is also available. The Pitchwood's kitchen does not disappoint when it comes to variety or quality. Expect the kitchen as well as the restaurant to be seeing some physical changes soon.
If all this wasn't enough, the motel at the back is being entirely gutted and refinished. For quite some time, the units were rented as full-time apartments. The Hansons have redone the units and intend on reopening the motel with units available as early as June 1st. The motel area will have a courtyard, barbecue areas, and a bonfire pit. They are set to be completed by January 2014.
If you have yet to visit the new Pitchwood Alehouse, don't waste anymore time. It's a treasure to have such a place run by those who are rooted in the community and who understand exactly the type of business the area is looking for.