Just off of the highway, enticing smells from around the world waft from behind the counter at Clinton’s newest restaurant.
And the dishes come out fast since it opened its doors Oct. 27.
Owners of the catering business Midnight Kitchen, Scott and Stephanie Pendell, found success with their latest culinary project, Island Nosh, which will up noodle dishes from around the globe and offer takeout.
“The idea here was to serve fast, affordable and wholesome food,” co-owner Scott Pendell said. “What we were looking for as a young family on South Whidbey was a place where families can come and sit down, but also allows people to take their food home.”
The Pendells say the concept of a noodle-themed dining spot arose from what they saw as a lack of international food on South Whidbey.
Noodles, they decided, were a good way to tie different ethnic foods together, so it didn’t seem too “peculiar.”
Dishes ranging from ramen and handmade fettuccine to crab macaroni and cheese are served in the eatery, which can seat up to 25 customers at a time.
Scott Pendell said serving noodle dishes allows for a range of gluten-free items on the menu as well, since multiple recipes are rice noodle-based.
“We were looking for a place where my kids could eat more familiar food like mac ‘n’ cheese, but I could eat a bowl of Thai-style noodles with a beer to top it off,” Stephanie Pendell said.
During Island Nosh’s trial period, South Whidbey seemed to like the restaurant’s concept, at least according to the volume of food sold during the couple of days its doors were open.
The noodle bar held soft openings on Sept. 30 and Oct. 7, and was quickly “wiped out of food.”
“We served about 100 people in two hours,” Stephanie Pendell said. “I expected a hectic start, but I was surprised we were that busy. It’s definitely a confidence booster.”
Clinton Chamber of Commerce Vice President and neighboring MAKE Whidbey owner Janae Cameron says Island Nosh adds variety to downtown Clinton. Prior to the noodle bar, Cozy’s Roadhouse and Dairy Queen were the area’s only eateries.
Cameron said she encouraged the Pendells to open their business next to hers.
Adding additional business in which people can sit down over a plate of food will spur foot traffic, bringing new customers to nearby businesses, said Cameron.
Cozy’s Roadhouse owner Stephanie Cook shrugged any notion that Island Nosh’s opening two doors down will pull customers from her business.
Like Cameron, Cook said she thinks additional businesses in the area will encourage more people to stop in the downtown business core.
Island Nosh’s opening could be a sign that Clinton is headed down the right path, Cameron said.
“Part of the reason I worked hard to encourage them to open here was because one of my biggest hurdles was getting people to stop once they got off the ferry,” she said.