In Bellevue, John Howie is known for his upscale restaurants. But his newest establishment, Beardslee Public House in Bothell, has a different flavor. It’s casual, family-friendly, and big enough to seat about 400 guests. The food is made with the same care and craft Howie’s is known for, but instead of steaks and lobster, the menu features fresh burgers and sausages. Beardslee Public House is much more than a restaurant. It’s a brewery, a distillery, and a new community hub for Bothell.
“We’ve kind of always had an interest in doing a casual restaurant, but we wanted to do it differently than other people have done it, and make everything from scratch,” said Howie. “So that included making our own liquors, making our own beers, baking all of our breads here, grinding the meats, making sausages, and charcuterie. We wanted to make something that was special and different.”
At Beardslee the patties are made from in-house ground prime beef. The pizza dough is hand-tossed and the artesian sausages are made in house. Just about everything on the menu is created with locally sourced ingredients, including the beer and liquors. With high-quality food comes a bit higher price point than some other casual dining restaurants: A hefty burger is $9.50, and fries are $3.
“We’re not going to be the cheapest option. We’re not Chili’s. We’re not pulling out a frozen hamburger patty and tossing it onto a grill. It’s just not who we’re going to be. We’re making fresh fries every day,” said Howie.
Below the restaurant is a 10-barrel brewery led by veteran brewer Drew Cluley who was the former head brewer at Big Time Brewery and Pike Brewing Company. The beers can be found in tap houses around the Northwest. But the best way to enjoy a cold brew is with the perfect dish.
The subtle flavors in the Beaver Bait Blonde really start to shine with a bratwurst stacked high with house-cured sauerkraut, and dotted with stout-infused mustard. Some of the menu items are even made with the beers, like the Greenleaf IPA & jalapeño hummus, and ale-battered Walla Walla onion rings.
“We wanted to be a part of the revolution of craft beer that’s going on right now all over the country. I hired one of the most experienced and best brewers in all of Washington to come be my brewer here. And Drew’s just done a tremendous job,” Howie said.
Beardslee Public House is Bothell’s first brewery, although the McMenamins brothers’ Anderson School pub, brewery, and hotel (which opened on Oct. 15) is a close second. With so much new development in Bothell, the city is growing rapidly. According to Howie, its schools are some of the fastest-growing in the country. Bothell was the perfect home for him to start something fresh, and truly distinctive.
“There’s a lot of people who moved out here, who live out here, who haven’t had an opportunity to have something unique like this in their community” he said.
Wildwood Spirits Co.
Erik Liedholm, Howie’s Beardslee business partner, is leading the farm-to-distillery operation, Wildwood Spirits Co. part of the project. About 90 percent of the products used for the distillery will be grown in Washington. The liquors will be on the Beardslee cocktail menus.
Tables in the restaurant are made from a Giant Red Sequoia tree that was planted on the property some 50 years ago. When it had to be cut down for development, Howie asked the developer to save him the wood. The table in front of the restaurant’s fireplace shows how huge the tree’s circumference was.
Beer: The Four Ginger IPA. “I really think it’s different and unique. It’s very, very drinkable.” He also loves the Black Rye and the stout.
Bite: Grilled Kalbi pork meat candy. “It’s sort of like a warm grilled jerky.
And it’s got wonderful spices.”