Photo by Kayla Camenzind The 101 Public House has a fresh, locally made, and organic menu to offer hungry customers. Pictured here is the seating on the bay where one can watch the wildlife, water, and sunset.
Owners Aimee and Russ Ward purchased the old boondocks four years ago with the vision of creating a welcoming place for both tourists and locals. The menu of the restaurant offers all organic, locally or regionally produced, delicious food which is all made in-house.
“Everything is handmade,” Aimee said. “We don’t use anything out of cans, we don’t have anything that’s premade, frozen, or anything. Even all of our breads are locally baked, not in town but they’re up outside of Seattle. . . . They’re all hand baked.”
“We offer a lot of seafood and especially oysters because we’re the oyster capital of the world. We thought it would be silly if we didn’t showcase our oysters, which I believe to be the best in the world because they come from the most pristine bay that there is in the lower 48. . . All of our food is organic and locally sourced when possible. To us that’s a really big deal. I didn’t want to open a restaurant that I wouldn’t be able to eat at myself or where I wouldn’t be happy serving my kids. . . That automatically makes the food taste better,” Aimee said. The most popular items on the menu have been the pulled-pork sandwiches, the homemade clam chowder and the oysters.
“Oyster stew is one of the things that people have really enjoyed. . . Each bowl is made fresh to order, because that’s the only way that you can make oyster stew. It’s really good. It’s really rich, comforting, and warm.”
“One of my favorite things to eat here is the all-aboard and it’s a platter that has appetizers on it. The bacon-wrapped dates are to die for, they’re so good. It’s basically a date with blue cheese stuffed inside and bacon wrapped around it and then it’s baked in an oven. It basically tastes like cheese, bacon, and candy. It’s like the best thing ever,” Aimee explained.
Hungry customers can choose to sit in the front area of the restaurant with a street view or in the back with a river view. Aimee explained that most want to sit in the back: “It’s really romantic and beautiful and there are herons that fly around out there.”
With the vision of creating a space with character to represent the town and its history, Russ and Aimee designed the establishment to have a Victorian, industrial, and rustic look by using vintage and refurbished items. “Russ is really, really talented at building stuff with recycled materials. So, a lot of the inspiration came from materials that he had on hand and his abilities to take old things and make them look really cool. . . The floor in [the boutique] is actually from a barn that they tore down in Menlo this last summer.”
The restaurant is interconnected with a boutique which includes vintage and lightly used clothing from Aimee’s collection in Portland and a toy store with locally, handmade items and toys which kids love; in order to find exactly what kids want, Aimee had her children pick out the toys for the store. The boutique also has locally made items such as handmade jewelry made by Georgia Halpin and tutus by Holly Hodel, which can be made to order. A birthday section was carefully selected by Aimee to give locals and visitors an option for charming celebration décor including adorable plate-ware, candles, and cards.
The back of the restaurant will also be available for community events or even birthday parties. People “can come in and decided that they want to have a book club on Fridays, so they just enter it into a calendar, and then all of the sudden there’s a book club on Fridays. . . It’s free unless you’re charging for classes, then I take a percentage,” Aimee said. “Anytime you can have a place where people can exchange ideas, bounce ideas off of each other, you have opportunity that grows from that. Without that connection, there’s no opportunity. The more you increase the connection and the ability of people to shoot these ideas back and forth, the stronger a community grows.”
The establishment will also soon house a hotel with three suite rooms priced from $75-$125 per night and a bunkhouse, $25 per bed.
Aimee has a vision of the restaurant becoming a local gathering place. “I want the community to feel like they’re involved in this. This is a community building project, that’s our whole purpose being here. . . I want to create a space where people who are traveling from all over the world, which we get them every day, can come and feel like it’s natural and comfortable to have a real conversation with a local. The reason why you travel is to have these authentic experiences with people who live in different places, but if you don’t have an obvious place where you can go and sit down and it feels comfortable, then you don’t get the opportunity to do that. . . I don’t feel like there’s a lot of places on the coast that really gives these world travelers a place where they can go in, talk to the oyster farmer who just got off of his oyster boat for the morning and is getting his cup of coffee, ready to go hit the sack so he can do it again at 4:00 in the morning. That’s an authentic person, and that’s what those travelers from Italy, France, or Korea are wanting to come and experience. Why else would you come through this great fishing town that is so rugged and is full of these strong rugged people; wouldn’t you want to sit and talk with them and gain some of their experience?. . . Maybe a few of our guests will decide they want to move here because they think it’s beautiful and the housing is cheap, and the quality of living is so great here. There’s really a ton of benefits to living here, I would say that they outweigh any of the negatives. Maybe other people will see that and they will come with fresh and new inspiration and fresh love and appreciation for this area.”