WENATCHEE — Two classic gotta-have goodies — beer and barbecue — are luring the thirsty, the hungry and the curious to a renovated Wells & Wade warehouse here at the foot of Orondo Avenue.
“Microbrews and baby-back ribs — what’s more American than that?” smiled Jim Blair, manager of 6-month-old Badger Mountain Brewing. “It’s a really great combination.”
The brewery and Country Boy’s Southern Style BBQ — yes, THAT Country Boy’s BBQ from Cashmere — share not only a trendy new upscale space (Amish-made tables, corrugated-tin wall coverings, chalkboard menus) but a brash new energy that’s helping spark business in the once-sleepy warehouse district that lines the city’s railroad tracks.
Don’t worry. Even though Badger Mountain Brewing and Country Boy’s Southern Style BBQ have separate wait-staffs and ordering-payment systems, beer-and-barbecue fans will hardly notice that quirk in the bustling, upscale space the two businesses share at 1 Orondo Ave.
Here’s what customers will find:
Badger Mountain Brewing — Owner and brewmaster David Quick, his wife Cirri and owner-manager Jim Blair opened in January with 12 Northwest microbrews, hard ciders from East Wenatchee’s Snowdrift Cider Co. and a selection of local wines. This week, finishing touches are being applied to the Badger Mountain brewhouse, visible from the dining room, with a first batch (likely a pale ale) ready for thirsty customers by mid- to late-July. In full operation, the brewhouse has capacity for six brews of about 15 barrels each (about 465 gallons). Open 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and 11:30 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday. 888-2234.
Country Boy’s BBQ — Owners Tom and Anitra Dew and son Benjamin, the company’s pitmaster, slow-cook their baby-back ribs, pulled pork, sausages and chicken thighs at the restaurant’s original location in Cashmere, then truck it daily (sometimes twice daily, depending on demand) to their new location in Wenatchee. Lighter fare? Yes, they’ve added salads — but, really, is that what you want? At the entrance, the Dews have even installed a pig sculpture made of recycled farm tools and implements by Waterville artist Kelly Hough. Open 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. 667-7427.
— Mike Irwin, World staff
“We weren’t thinking of Pybus when we started thinking about expanding here,” said Tom Dew, who runs Country Boy’s with his wife Anitra and son Benjamin. The brewery-restaurant is about a rib-bone’s toss from the Pybus Public Market, the retail-and-restaurant development that opened five weeks ago on Wenatchee’s Columbia River waterfront.
“But now that they’re open, and we’re open, and people are enjoying these new businesses, we’re thankful to be in this great location,” said Dew.
The first foamy bubble of inspiration for Badger Mountain Brewing actually came about 20 years ago, when owner David Quick began experimenting with a home-brew kit for making beer. “I fell in love with the process and have continued brewing ever since,” he said. “For years I’ve wanted to have my own commercial brewery, but it didn’t all come together until just last year.”
Quick and his wife, Cirri, leased the former fruit-and-equipment warehouse and then brought in Jim Blair as business partner and manager.
In the mid-1990s, Quick and a group of partners took a run at opening a brewery in Wenatchee but it didn’t work out. The Quicks opened One Shot Firearms & Accessories in 1999 at the corner of South Chelan Avenue and Yakima Street and last year moved it to a new upstairs home above the proposed brewery-restaurant.
“We decided early on that we wanted to do beer, but not do food,” said Blair, “So we started exploring what our food options might be — what food pairs up perfectly with beer? Who could cook and serve it?”
That’s when Country Boy’s stepped in. “I’d never eaten at the Cashmere restaurant,” said Blair. “But one good pulled-pork meal there, and I asked to talk with the owners — maybe their barbecue would be the answer to our prayers?”
Nearly nine years ago, the Dews opened Country Boy’s on a quiet corner about a block from Cashmere’s downtown. By all accounts, the restaurant was an instant success, drawing local residents, vacationing river rafters, cruising motorcycle clubs and barbecue fans from around the Northwest.
Tom said that for years he and his staff have been repeatedly asked two questions: “When will you open in Wenatchee?” and “When will you serve beer with your barbecue?”
The Dews had been thinking for years of expanding into Wenatchee — for a short while even considered an outpost at Pybus — when the possibility arose to partner with Badger Mountain Brewing. “We immediately realized this was a sweet deal that was meant to happen,” said Dew.
The brewery and barbecue restaurant operate as separate enterprises in the same space, with separate wait-staffs and customers receiving separate checks for their beer and BBQ. It may sound complicated, but isn’t — some diners last week barely noticed the two layers of service and payment.
Now, Badger Mountain serves on tap a dozen microbrews — “ranging from light to chewy,” said Blair — from around the Pacific Northwest. Last week, Quick put finishing touches on his brewing operation of stainless steel fermenting tanks, piping and electrical lines — all visible from the dining room. He could begin brewing his very first batch sometime this week and pour his own Quick-brewed beer for customers by mid- to late-July.
Country Boy’s offers nearly the same menu (no ribbon fries, added salads) at the brewery that it does in Cashmere. Fans will find baby-back ribs, Texas hot-link sausages, chicken thighs, pulled pork sandwiches, cole slaw, potato salad, corn bread and other side dishes. The 2,000-square-foot space has room for 108 seats inside, and another 42 seats outside in a shady sidewalk setting.
“This blend of beer and barbecue is a product of good timing,” said Quick. “We’ve got the right people together at the right time. And the result feels right, too — for us and the customers.”
Mike Irwin: 665-1179