Interview | Chef Breanna Beike

Written by : Logan Portteus | Photographed by : Richard Duval

Chef Breanna Beike, owner and chef of Heritage Restaurant | Bar in Woodinville, lives by her mission to provide affordable, unique dishes for everyone. Her “come-as-you-are” mentality welcomes those in suits or sweatpants. The comfortable, inviting atmosphere attracts not only out-of-town visitors, but loyal weekly customers from the Woodinville area. The restaurant opened in April 2018, and features main courses that range from $16 to $32. The Heritage Burger with house cut fries is offered on both the lunch and dinner menu for $15. They also offer dry age beef and a $40 ribeye special that is not to be missed. Beike, 35, was Executive Chef at the Seattle Yacht Club for four years prior to opening Heritage Restaurant | Bar . Before that, she worked as a chef at four restaurants in Chicago. Heritage Restaurant | Bar shares a building with Milbrandt Vineyards and the Ryan Patrick Tasting Room, both owned by Beike’s longtime friends and professional associates Butch and Lisa Milbrandt. Beike, who manages both the business and the kitchen of Heritage Restaurant | Bar, took the time to speak with us about her passion for affordable, delicious food and her desire to treat her business like a family. See HeritageWoodinville.com

What is new at your restaurant?

What has remained and worked well? We try to stay tried-and-true to where we started. Seasonality and affordability are big goals for us. Things that are new — I have a small menu for Milbrandt Ryan Patrick Tasting Room, so our restaurant is able to service both the surrounding tasting rooms on either side of our business. I want us to remain approachable, so that you can come in in a dress and heels or a suit, or you can come in in jeans and a baseball cap and enjoy a nourishing, local, seasonal dish without it breaking the bank and while feeling comfortable doing it.

What do you recommend from the menu?

I’m a huge scallop girl. Every season, I’ll always have scallops on the menu. It’s one of my absolute favorite things to make. I didn’t grow up in a house that was predominant with seafood, so to be able to do that and change out the accouterments seasonally, is really fun. You don’t see a lot of whole-roasted trout in the area, you see a lot of salmon and halibut and things like that. I try to stay away from the norm and do things that you typically wouldn’t see on a menu. The whole-roasted trout has become one of our signature dishes.

One of my biggest reasons for moving out here is that I love seafood, I love shellfish, I love oysters. We always have oysters on the menu. I always have a seasonal clam dish, and we also do Dungeness crab donut holes. They’ve become a super popular starter for us as well.

We’ve created an environment that is ever-changing with the seasons. My menus don’t stay in place very long, and I don’t want them to. I want to keep things fresh and exciting. There’s always mainstays on the menu, but every eight weeks or so we are changing things up on the menu and I think that’s really important. We feature daily specials that change every couple of days, and I think that’s important to keep it fresh and exciting, and I just don’t want to become stale.

What are some challenges you face as owner and chef at Heritage Restaurant | Bar?

To cook every day, that’s a goal of mine. Being the manager of the entire place I have my hands in every single pot. But that pot might not always be the pot I’m stirring in the kitchen: There are many other living and breathing parts of this business that require my attention.

Your website describes Heritage as a “come-as-you-are” atmosphere. What does this mean to you, and why is it important?

I grew up in the Midwest where there is a sense of midwestern hospitality. I’m a very simple person and have a simple philosophy that every day is a dinner party. I’m very approachable and try to have my restaurant be approachable, and ultimately I’m relaying how I’d want people to feel if they walked into my home.

Where does your passion for food come from?

Family, for sure. My mom made dinner five to six nights out of the week, everything was from scratch. She never opened up a box, so I feel pretty lucky to have been raised in a situation that was focused on quality food. We didn’t have a whole lot of money, but I’ll tell you that when you pull tomatoes out of a garden, you get really excited.
Why is the food industry, and your restaurant specifically, important to you? I think there’s something to be said about seeing a smile on somebody’s face when they’ve just enjoyed a fabulous meal. That gets me out of bed every day! Everybody’s got to eat, you know. If you can create a fun environment and do things slightly different, putting your own spin on it, I think that’s what makes us unique.

What food or meal is your guilty pleasure?

Any kind of brothy seafood with a big, crusty baguette. A really great sauce that you can dip bread into, Oh my god! I could do it every day, but I think my waistline would continue to grow. To be quite honest, I [also] love American cheese! I know that it’s processed and whatever else, but I love it! I grew up with it, and I’ll eat it in a grilled cheese or I’ll even put it in mac and cheese. It’s just one of those goofy things that I haven’t really ever let go.

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