A community short on dining options is about to get another - expect a February opening for Whitehouse Restaurant and Lounge in Bonney Lake. The Whitehouse will operate in a building that’s been empty for more than a year - the old Andre’s Bar & Grill restaurant site.
The restaurant comes from Sumner resident Tim Whitehouse, who also runs LumberJack’s Bar and Grill in Buckley. Whitehouse is a culinary arts graduate from Renton Technical College. He previously managed restaurants in Port Orchard and Sumner. His mother Charlotte Yearwood, who has worked at local restaurants for years and used to run an espresso stand in Sumner, will work with Whitehouse. Kayla Babcock will supervise the kitchen, Whitehouse will be the opening chef.
Whitehouse said in a phone interview he plans a menu with American fare that includes steaks and burgers. “It’s American cuisine, not fine dining. I want everybody to come to my restaurant, feel it’s very casual. I want people to feel comfortable,” he said.
How will he differentiate his new restaurant from nearby Hop Jack’s and Midtown Grill - restaurants with what sounds like an arguably similar American spin? Whitehouse said he’ll serve one thing he keeps hearing Bonney Lake diners want - a great steak. Good news for fans of char, he’s got a charbroiler in the kitchen. The day of our phone conversation, he was pricing and sourcing filet mignon. He said he’ll also serve burgers. I think they’ll sound familiar to those who eat at Cheers South Hill - the Whitehouse burgers will come with different toppings stuffed inside an 80/20 ground chuck patty. He’ll serve fresh-cut steak fries with the burgers and steaks. He’ll also offer shoestring and sweet potato fries as an option, and here’s something for kids - tater tots. Whitehouse said he’s keeping the layout of the restaurant unchanged - with a lounge on one side in a separate space and the dining room on the other. He aims to attract family diners with that arrangement.
Whitehouse said the old Andre’s space was a bare palette - most of the decor and seating had been removed, which is a shame because Sue Genty's decor makeover of that restaurant when it opened as Andre's was quite fetching, although the space's layout could feel awkward. Speaking of that, I had one question for Whitehouse - what would happen with that former clunky front entry - a space inexplicably filled with booth seating right next to the waiting area and host stand? Whitehouse said he’s turning the front entry into a single purpose waiting area, no diners will be on display as they were at Andre’s.
If you never dined at Andre’s, it was an eclectic - and some might argue confusing - menu of Northwest-American fusion cuisine. Here’s a previous dining report. The restaurant opened in 2009 by Andy Cardenas Jr. whose father, Andres Cardenas Sr., owns the local chain of Mazatlan restaurants.
In other Bonney Lake restaurant news: Old School Custard’s former location looks like prime real estate for a bakery. Someone should open one. Hint, hint.
Whitehouse Restaurant and LoungeWhere: 9801 219th Ave. Pl. E., Bonney LakeOpening: February 2013