Burgers, brews, and a great view; Milepost 111 Brewing Company delivers it all with a friendly atmosphere to boot.
Located off Highway 2 at, you guessed it, milepost 111, this burger and brew company is still fairly fresh in Cashmere. But just two years after opening, Milepost 111 is quickly establishing itself as the place to go for a world class burger and a beer.
Stop in any day of the week, take a seat, and chances are you’ll see Melissa McClendon, owner and proprietor of Milepost 111, running around directing her business. McClendon, who was raised in Cashmere, opened the restaurant in October of 2012, and like all the food on the menu, her business was made from scratch.
After graduating Cashmere High School, McClendon attended WSU studying the science and education of horticulture. With Master’s degree in hand, McClendon traveled to the East Coast to work in the already-established wine industry. When she returned home in 2010, the wine industry had boomed in Washington, but McClendon had another elixir on her mind.
“I thought this was the perfect place, the perfect venue,” McClendon said about her hometown. “Cashmere needed a brewery.”
Originally conceived for the heart of downtown, that plan changed when the property at 407 Aplets Way came on the market. With great views of the surrounding mountains, as well as a spacious interior, this building also has a unique history of prior tenants.
Originally a Chevy dealership, the remnants of the showroom and antique garage doors still resonate throughout the restaurant. And the landing pad in the middle of the parking lot belonged to Cascade Helicopter, enabling their vehicles to fly into work. And while the history of the building is interesting, it made the nine-month renovation process quite the chore.
“A lot of people don’t realize what we had to do to get in here, the behind the scenes work. There was no water and no plumbing on this side of the building,” McClendon said, referring to the kitchen behind her. “We had to figure it out and make it happen.”
But all of that hard work has paid off, because now instead of hoods being popped and helicopters taking off, a fully functioning restaurant is taking orders and pleasing customers. And the history that is on display from each wall to the parking lot, whether it’s the shiny showroom windows or all of the front patio space, it plays nicely to the ambiance of the establishment.
Customers can look into the glass-walled brewing factory, admire the local flare on the walls, or gaze upon the upright mountains right outside the front door. And even with plenty to see, what really catches your eye at Milepost 111 is each tantalizing entree option listed down the menu.
Milepost 111 has a breakfast menu ranging from short stacks to the 111 omelet (bacon, sausage, mushrooms, and Tillamook cheese). If you catch the lunch crowd (11-3), you’re likely to see the Yaksum Rueben or the Mini-Milepost Cheeseburger being doled out of the kitchen. And if you want to really treat yourself, stop by the evening and order yourself some dinner.
For appetizers you can begin with Buffalo wings smothered in homemade sauce, or try the unofficial signature item on the menu, truffle fries. These hand-cut potatoes are fried in truffle oil, leaving a lasting taste on your fingers with each bite.
If you are in the mood for soup, the Cashmere Tailgate Chili is made from scratch and includes ground brisket, Italian sausage, and applewood smoked bacon. And while Milepost 111 does have some delicious entrée items (i.e. stuffed apple chicken and salmon fillets), the real treasures lie within the burgers and sandwiches category.
Milepost 111’s sandwiches and burgers menu includes items like the Pineapple Express (teriyaki chicken, cheese, pineapple, lettuce, & tomato); the Bacon Bleu 111 Burger (ground brisket, gorgonzola cheese, apple wood bacon, caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms, vine-ripened tomatoes, shredded lettuce, & homemade 111 steak sauce); and of course, the classic Milepost 111 Bacon Cheeseburger.
For complete menu options check out www.milepost111brewingcompany.com
Need help deciding? If you ask head Chef Amilee Capelle, she’ll recommend the Mile-High Burger.
“The hamburger bun is custom made for the burger, the cheese is local, and we only use 100 percent angus beef,” Capelle said. “It’s great for the meat-eaters; bacon, ham, turkey, all with home-made, hand-picked onion rings.”
McClendon emphasized that one of the most important things to know about her kitchen is that everything comes in fresh.
“We do our best to buy locally. We buy from a local bakery, from a local creamery, and hand-make all of our own patties,” she said. “We work very hard to make everything in-house. Soups, dressings, and sauces, we don’t buy anything in tubs.”
And even with so many hand-made options to choose from, one cannot forget about all the beers offered alongside the menu. And although the Milepost 111 Brewing Company doesn’t have its own house-ale yet, there’s plenty of local beer on tap to choose from.
Only beers produced in the Pacific Northwest are served, with everything from the latest concoction from Icicle Brewing Company in Leavenworth to the Old Schoolhouse out of Winthrop.
Milepost 111 Brewing Company has the resources for brewing, and has put out some seasonal suds, but they haven’t perfected the recipe for a permanent handle at the bar. McClendon said the wait is nearly over however, and customers should be seeing more Milepost 111 brews in the fall.
Between the burgers and the brew choices, it is clear that Milepost 111 is not going unnoticed in Cashmere. With positive review after review online, and the customers that fill the seats each day, Milepost 111 is doing pretty well. And it’s not only McClendon and her customers who are rooting for success.
“They are really strong business members with us, they support the Chamber, and we really appreciate it,” said Wendy Lesesne, manager for the Cashmere Chamber of Commerce. “They pull a lot of people off the highway which is good for Cashmere. They have a really positive influence on the business here and the business culture.”
While McClendon has experienced the ups and downs of starting a business, specifically a restaurant business, she is most happy about adding back to the community in which she was raised.
“Hearing people in the community say how much this kind of establishment is needed, and how they enjoy it, it’s been a really big enjoyment of mine,” she said.
And to illustrate her community appeal, McClendon has begun a small campaign and created a quasi-mascot for her restaurant. The “Local Riff Raff” T-shirts, which are available in the gift shop, all began, as McClendon explained, with a negative review.
Somewhere in the outer regions of the Internet, an anonymous user degraded Milepost 111 for attracting the “local riff raff.”
Instead of dwelling on the negative, McClendon embraced and embroidered the message, saying it is the local community (or “riff raff”) that makes any establishment succeed. And to follow it up, at the request of some of the local riff raff, McClendon introduced Fire Pasta to the menu.
“When people come here they are going to quite possibly have the best meal in all of Cashmere and even the Wenatchee Valley. There are a lot of great restaurants out in the valley, and I aim to be up there with any one of them,” McClendon said.