Stefen Bosworth (right) and his partner, Ron Rois, are transplants from the Chicago area with roots in the Pacific Northwest. They are the owners of Langley’s newest restaurant, Savory. (Kira Erickson / South Whidbey Record)

Stefen Bosworth (right) and his partner, Ron Rois, are transplants from the Chicago area with roots in the Pacific Northwest. They are the owners of Langley’s newest restaurant, Savory. (Kira Erickson / South Whidbey Record)

New Whidbey Island restaurant serves ‘eclectic comfort food’

Owners Stefen Bosworth and Ron Rois offer cozy dining overlooking Saratoga Passage.

LANGLEY — A prolific home cook who has worked for decades in restaurant administration has decided to open an eatery of his own.

Stefen Bosworth, along with his partner Ron Rois, are the owners of the new Savory restaurant in downtown Langley. The couple has roots in the Pacific Northwest, although they have spent the past 25 years living and working in the Chicago area.

Bosworth is a 40-year veteran of the restaurant scene. He started as a server at a French restaurant in the Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle. Since then, he has been a general manager, director of operations and managing partner for a number of other restaurants — but was never officially a cook. Until now.

Nevertheless, the new restaurateur said he has the chops — no pun intended — to pull it off after working with award-winning chefs. Both owners develop recipes for Savory, although Bosworth wears the chef’s hat and Rois takes the role of the server.

Rois, who has never worked in a restaurant before, said he found opening night to be “nerve-wracking.” But “just like Ron, opening night for him as a server in the dining room was my opening night as a cook in the kitchen,” Bosworth said.

The restaurant replaces Portico Latin Bistro, which permanently closed on First Street last year.

Stefen Bosworth, co-owner and chef of Savory, cooks up some squid ink linguine. (Kira Erickson / South Whidbey Record)

Stefen Bosworth, co-owner and chef of Savory, cooks up some squid ink linguine. (Kira Erickson / South Whidbey Record)

Though it’s only 700 square feet, the cozy dining room and deck overlook Saratoga Passage. There is room to seat about nine tables in all. Because of the small space, the restaurant does not take reservations.

“We are a small operation, and that’s the way we wanted it to be,” Bosworth said.

“Part of the idea is that folks can roam in,” Rois added.

Savory’s menu is a combination of recipes handed down from the owners’ mothers and grandmothers, new twists on Pacific Northwest meals and dishes inspired by the pair’s international travels.

On the menu you’ll find lasagna — a nod to Bosworth’s Italian heritage and the couple’s travels to Italy — as well as miso-butterscotch braised pork, a Moroccan vegetarian stew and beef brisket with a tarragon and Dijon jus. Sides include roasted Brussels sprouts and rosemary potatoes. For dessert, there’s good old-fashioned chocolate cake, lemon curd with berries and Hello Dolly cookies.

The restaurant intentionally avoids any one label or cuisine. Instead, Bosworth and Rois prefer to refer to it as having “eclectic comfort food.”

Squid ink linguine — pasta made using actual squid ink — is just one of the eclectic dishes on the menu at Savory. (Kira Erickson / South Whidbey Record)

Squid ink linguine — pasta made using actual squid ink — is just one of the eclectic dishes on the menu at Savory. (Kira Erickson / South Whidbey Record)

Not wanting to step on anyone else’s toes, Bosworth said they consulted menus of existing restaurants in Langley before opening for business.

“There’s a wonderful world out there of culinary delights, and there’s no reason to be cookie-cutting somebody else’s concept,” Bosworth said.

“We wanted to bring part of us to the table and find a niche within the restaurant community here that was just a little bit different,” Rois said.

Savory aims to be a relaxed eatery without any stuffiness. Although Bosworth said the new restaurant may be hard-pressed to ever have any Michelin stars, the Langley area has given it a warm reception.

“We’ve opened quietly and slowly and the community has been pretty welcoming,” Bosworth said.

Now that the weather is warmer, the couple is planning “lighter and brighter” fare. Bosworth and Rois have several new recipes in store, including Jamaican jerk chicken, tomato salads and chilled soups.

If you go

Savory, 220 First St., Langley, is open 3 to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 2 to 7 p.m. Sunday. Call 360-221-7106 or go to www.savoryrestaurantwhidbey.com for more information.

This story originally appeared in the South Whidbey Record, a sister publication to The Herald.

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