Come for the ale, stay for the food

  • Andrea Miller<br>Enterprise features editor
  • Thursday, February 28, 2008 8:48am

Tucked away in the northernmost corner of Mill Creek is a pub with the unassuming name, McMenamins. You wouldn’t know from its distinctly English pub influenced decor that this location is just one of more than 40 locations now in Oregon and Washington. That’s because this isn’t your typical cookie-cutter restaurant chain.

The McMenamin’s history actually starts in Oregon in 1974, with the conversion of an old truck stop in southeast Portland. Since that time the company has expanded to produce their own microbrews and Edgefield wines, and now owns and operates several hotels, theaters and pubs, most in renovated historic buildings.

But back to the Mill Creek location. Opened in 1996, the restaurant is just one of seven McMenamins in Washington. Upon entering the restaurant patrons are greeted by a classically English pillared wood bar. Booths feature high backed wood benches with padded seats and the walls are adorned with a decidedly British theme.

Ales are concocted on site in the restaurant’s “fish-bowl” brewery and run the gamut from light and wheaty pale ales to rich and dark porters and stouts. The wine list exclusively features their own Edgefield wines, from the Chardonnay ($5.75/glass), fermented in French oak barrels to the Black Rabbit Red ($5.75/glass), a unique blend of Cabernet, Merlot, Syrah, Zinfandel and Pinot Noir. Spirits from the Edgefield Distillery, such as Eau de Vie, brandy and whiskey, are also prominently featured.

You’ll come for the one-of-a-kind beverage selection, but you’ll want to stay for the food. While the menu offers a typical selection of pub fare, there is more to it than just standard burgers and sandwiches.

The appetizers went over big in our group: black bean dip ($6) topped with fresh salsa and cilantro sour cream were served with freshly made tortilla chips; a generous portion of delicious beer battered onion rings ($6.90) was more than our group of three could finish.

Moving on to the salad course, the Caesar salad ($7.20) features the traditional romaine lettuce, Parmesan cheese and creamy Caesar dressing is topped with fresh croutons made on site. Add grilled chicken breast ($3.25) and you’ll have a meal in itself.

Be sure to ask for extra napkins if ordering the juicy house special cheesesteak sandwich ($8.10). Tender, thinly sliced ribeye, Tillamook cheddar, grilled onions, mushrooms and bell peppers with a “secret sauce” are piled on a chewy sourdough roll.

For dessert we tried the creamy “Ruby” (raspberry) cheesecake ($5), named for one of the pub’s more unique brews, the Ruby ale, a light bodied, fruity quencher with a pink hue. We also had the choice of the “Terminator” (coffee) cheesecake, named for the pub’s dark, hearty Terminator stout.

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