It has the look and feel of a city restaurant, but it’s Orcas Island all the way – from the staff to the food.
After a year of planning, Madrona Bar and Grill opened on Sept. 2 with a full dinner menu; lunch followed a few days later. Owners Monica Oberg and Steve Duthie say they had a bit of a rough start, as the sous chef quit just hours before opening night.
“That really hurt us for the first couple of days,” Oberg said.
But now the kitchen is running smoothly.
“We’ve been crazy busy from day one,” Duthie said. “We had the usual opening issues, but we’re making adjustments.”
The restaurant is focusing on fresh, handmade foods. The salad dressings, sauces, and pastas are made right in the restaurant.
The lunch menu includes sandwiches, soups, salads, and burgers. For dinner, it has everything from steak to seafood.
“We want to fill a void that’s been here for a long time,” Duthie said. “We are offering fair-priced polished, casual dining.”
The bar and restaurant is open seven days a week until 11 p.m. and until 1 a.m. on the weekends. The bar is fully stocked, and also carries local microbrews.
Right now, Robert Kirby is supplying coffee made on the island, and Oberg says they hope to use as much local produce as possible.
Madrona Bar and Grill is located in Windermere’s old offices (below Christina’s) and overlooks Fishing Bay. With glossy wood floors and rough-hewn beams, the space is both rustic and classy.
Duthie and Oberg come from families of entrepreneurs. Duthie learned the restaurant business early, first working at Firwood, his grandfather’s restaurant in Fife. In 2002, he opened the Rogue Hero Pub in Bellingham, which is still going strong. The couple are now living on Orcas full-time, although Oberg still commutes to Bellingham a few days a week, where she is a mortgage loan officer. They will be married at the Emmanuel Episcopal Church next month.
Oberg is handling the books and human resources aspect of the business, and Duthie is running the restaurant.
“We’ve been waiting a long time for this,” Duthie said. “It’s exciting. We definitely want to cater to the community. We’re here to stay.”