New flavors come to the Pavilion

The Local Harvest restaurant opened last week at the Pavilion. Chef and owner Dan Miller checks the status of an order cooking in his brick fired oven. The restaurant features Northwest dishes served in the tapas style.

The Pavilion has received a makeover of sorts in the last six months. Out are Penelope’s (Italian) and Simon’s Chinese Cuisine, and in are SuBI and Local Harvest.

Last December marked the opening of SuBI, a Japanese restaurant featuring an expansive menu based on much more than sushi. And last week Local Harvest, an all-organic tapas restaurant with signature northwest ingredients opened its doors for the first time.

Both restaurants emphasize unique menus and an ambience all their own.

Local Harvest: All green, down to the tables and cushions

Local Harvest owner Dan Miller’s cooking influences are worldwide. He spent years as a private chef in Europe, cooking for some of the world’s elite. But the constant travel was a lot to handle, and as a married man wanting to start a family, he was looking for somewhere to settle down.

Bainbridge was a top location for Miller and his wife Jessica. They knew a number of island residents. The only question to answer was where they could set up shop for a restaurant based on fresh, organic ingredients. The location in the Pavilion, which used to be Penelope’s, came open and the couple jumped at the opportunity.

“This came on the market and we just thought it was perfect because it was small and in a good location,” said Jessica Perkins Miller. “We liked the fact that a lot of families come in. We want to have a great place to have a bite to eat and feel comfortable bringing kids.”

The Millers have accomplished their goal and opened Local Harvest. The new restaurant focuses primarily on small portions for low prices, allowing customers to order several different dishes. Prices vary from $6 for the cheapest entree, up to $18 for lamb chops.

The restaurant will feature almost entirely local products. Vegetables come from farms on the island, the cheese comes from Port Madison, and the lean, grass-fed beef comes from Eastern Washington.

Jessica Perkins Miller said they chose to focus primarily on local ingredients with the idea of reducing the amount of transportation needed. The couple also made this decision with thoughts to the future of their 2-year-old child.

“We’re not leaving a huge carbon footprint,” she said. “How his generation has to deal with our mistakes is a huge influence on us. We do as much as possible to make sure we keep the environment clean for him.”

The green practices don’t stop at food. The restaurant itself features recycled newspaper seat cushions, and reused beachwood benches and tables.

Only a few weeks in, the Millers hope to expand their services by adding lunch hours. Dan Miller also wants to offer cooking classes.

“I want to teach people to entertain; how to start from hors d’oeuvres, to entrees to desert,” Dan Miller said.

They want to offer a large space in the back of the restaurant, which they could rent out for private parties, for speakers or other community engagements. They want to make the restaurant a place to gather in the community.

“We care deeply about this community,” Dan Miller said. “We want to use the freshest available ingredients; we want to reflect the pacific northwest as much as possible; and we want to create a welcoming atmosphere for all groups of people.”

SuBI: More than just sushi

Six months after the opening of SuBI (Sushi Bainbridge Island) Japanese Restaurant, co-owners Helen and Richard Lee are still on a quest to prove that there is more to their brand of Japanese cuisine than sushi.

“Not everyone comes for sushi,” Richard Lee said. “A lot of people have seen our place and they pass by because they don’t want raw fish. We have other stuff too.”

The menu features more than 50 different kinds of rolls. But patrons can order other japanese dishes such as tempura, katsu and teriyaki. Helen Lee said the chefs are always experimenting with new dishes that regularly cause changes to the menu.

“You can come here and have lots of choices,” she said. “People enjoy the new menu items here.”

The restaurant opened in the Pavilion the day after Christmas last year, filling the space vacated by Simon’s Chinese Cuisine. Richard Lee said the owners and staff had to tear apart the inside to prepare the low-key, modern atmosphere the restaurant presents today.

Like its neighbor Local Harvest, SuBI’s ambience, and the fresh ingredients are some of its greatest draws. Richard Lee said everyday deliveries are impossible as most of the restaurant’s vendors are based in the Seattle area. But the restaurant’s chefs are so committed to delivering fresh ingredients to customers that they travel to Seattle themselves to pick them up.

And the customers have responded. In less than a year, the restaurant has already picked up a consistent clientele. The business has seen some ups and downs during its time, but going into the summer it was picking up momentum.

“Six months has passed so fast,” Richard Lee said. “We’re very grateful that we’ve gained regular customers.

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