The suspense is over. Here’s what’s opening in the Brix 25 space in downtown Gig Harbor.
If all goes as planned, co-owners Katie Doherty and Thad Lyman plan to open Brimstone PNW Smokehouse Nov. 23 at 7707 Pioneer Way.
They started working on the concept more than two years before they moved their Brix 25 restaurant to its new waterfront perch on Harborview. They moved Brix in April, leaving the space ready for them to play with a third restaurant concept.
Brimstone PNW Smokehouse is an all-encompassing tour of smoked meats. That means a swath of world flavors will be part of the concept.
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Take, for example, barbecued pork. One version will be something like you’d find in Austin. Another will be like what diners can find in Hong Kong.
Doherty explained, “We’ve really broadened the idea of smokehouse food. We wanted to be more broad than that, so we added all the international flavors. Especially here in the Northwest, there’s so much influence from other parts of the world in what we cook. We wanted that to play in here too.”
So divorce the idea of what a smokehouse is before dining there. It won’t fit neatly into any definition.
“We didn’t want to do what people up here think is barbecue,” said Doherty. Rather, “It’s more of an international smokehouse. Char siu is on the menu. Seafood is one of our smoked items. If you’re getting a barbecue platter, it can be all seafood. It’s not just brisket and ribs.”
A smoked seafood emphasis is a hat tip to the bounty of seafood we have here that rarely makes it onto menus of local smoked meats restaurants.
Here’s something that will tickle Texas transplants. The restaurant will serve soft Texas tacos, a regional favorite not often duplicated in these parts.
A few wild cards should generate some buzz in the Harbor. Brimstone PNW plans to serve something called “big fluffy doughnuts” — or “BFD” for short —which Doherty said will be giant doughnuts topped with “chantilly, Coca-Cola sauce and potato chips.”
The owners of Brix 25 and Netshed No. 9 say the restaurant will fall more on the casual side of the dining spectrum and will be closer to the come-as-you-are vibe of Netshed No. 9 than the wine-and-dine approach of Brix 25.
The dining room of Brimstone PNW Smokehouse is outfitted with comfortable seating that includes picnic tables. A roll of paper towels plopped onto each table top, an indicator of just how casual and family friendly this restaurant will be. Family dining is in a space separate from the bar.
Brimstone PNW Smokehouse will be open for lunch and dinner Thursdays through Mondays (closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays, like their other restaurants).
There will be a robust happy hour program offered in that bar, which is now in a more enclosed space with its own entrance, said Doherty. Grownups will find a fun atmosphere in the bar, which Doherty said “is meant to feel like an old dive bar.” She sourced decor to fit that theme, all the way down to the bar stools she bought from an old casino. She described the barstool color, with a laugh, as “dirty maroon.” Happy hours will be 2:30 to 4:30 and 9 to 11 p.m. Diners will find 10 taps featuring all kinds of beer styles and a specialty cocktail menu focused on new spins on old fashioned cocktails, as well as updated treatments for cocktails such as Long Island Iced Teas and lemon drops.
As for the family-friendly dining room, Doherty called it a tongue-in-cheek style of gritty Americana with reds, whites and blues, burnt wood and really fun artwork. She said pops of color show up throughout the space, including graffiti artwork in the bathroom.
In the kitchen at Brimstone PNW Smokehouse will be Will Rieck, who has been the Netshed No. 9 chef since it opened, and Austin Nolan, who comes from a restaurant family that operated a barbecue restaurant in California.
Brimstone PNW Smokehouse
Where: 7707 Pioneer Way, Gig Harbor
Hours: Will be open for lunch and dinner Thursday-Monday. Closed Tuesday and Wednesday.
Opening: If all goes as planned, the official opening will be Nov. 23, 2018