Coupeville’s Front Street Grill open for business

With a spectacular view of Penn Cove and chefs preparing food originating from Whidbey Island, Coupeville’s newest restaurant is open for business.

Chef Jerry Ritchie cooks in a tight kitchen of Coupeville’s newest restaurant

With a spectacular view of Penn Cove and chefs preparing food originating from Whidbey Island, Coupeville’s newest restaurant is open for business.

The Front Street Grill, operating out of a recently completed building in historic downtown Coupeville, is offering a high-quality selection of seafood and steaks from its location nestled between Front Street and the high water mark of Penn Cove.

“Its emphasis is trying to take the view and put it on the plate,” said consulting chef Vincent Nattress, while he pointed out the windows to the view of the water and the pasture land located north of the cove. He highlighted two local products, Penn Cove Shellfish and Three Sisters Beef, that will be a prominent part of the restaurant’s menu.

“Those products are the backbone of the restaurant,” Nattress said. He also highlighted the regional flair of his menu. The pork is produced by Horns and Hooves in Ellensburg and the beef comes from Painted Hills in Fossil, Ore.

In addition to the eatery’s regular menu, Nattress said the restaurant will offer Kobe beef in coming weeks and he will see if restaurant-goers in Coupeville would be willing to purchase such a pricey, but tasty, item.

The restaurant’s opening is a homecoming of sorts for the chefs and manager of the grill.

Nattress, who graduated from Coupeville High School in 1986, returned to Whidbey Island to raise his family. Prior to that, he had worked as a chef for several wineries in Napa Valley, Calif. He is serving as the consulting chef for the Front Street Grill. He expects to continue helping out for a year or so and then move on to other endeavors.

Chef Jerry Ritchie, who will work at the grill permanently, has spent 21 years working at various restaurants on Whidbey Island and Skagit County.

“The valley and island are unique because you have so many fresh things available to you,” Ritchie said. Prior to joining the Front Street Grill, he served as the chef of the Star Bar in Anacortes.

Manager Sean Anter brings a familiar restaurant name back to Coupeville. His uncle owned and operated Michael’s Your Place and Rosi’s Garden. A graduate of South Whidbey High School, he worked in several casinos in Skagit County and came to Coupeville excited about the prospect of opening a new restaurant.

Coupeville builder Dan Miranda owns the new building and he hopes Front Street Grill will bolster the business community in downtown Coupeville, making the area become even more of a draw.

“Having another restaurant will add credibility to Front Street and bring more people here,” Miranda said.

It took three-and-a-half years to complete the permitting process. That process required approval from such entities at the Department of Ecology and the Department of Fish and Wildlife before construction could begin.

The two-story building’s odd shape can be attributed to the shoreline’s ordinary high-water mark, which determined the shape of the lot Miranda could build on. He broke ground for the new building in October and his restaurant opened last week.

The restaurant seats 66 people in a 1,400-square-foot space and a cramped, 200-square-foot kitchen. The second floor houses a condo that tourists can rent when they visit Whidbey Island.

Miranda, who enjoys windsurfing off the shores of Whidbey Island, points out that the Front Street Grill employs 31 people mostly on a part-time basis.

Even though he opened a little later than he hoped, he picked a good time to do it. Diners simply had to look outside the windows to watch Race Week, as sailboats wove through Penn Cove last week.

In the coming months, Miranda, along with restaurant management, will continue to fine-tune operations. Miranda hopes to soon start a program that will feature Seattle-based chefs visiting Whidbey Island.

More in Business

Clinton Chamber of Commerce gets new president

The former president stepped down to focus on her own business.

New wheels add shine to grooming biz

The newest addition to Oak Harbor’s grooming salon Posh Puppies may have… Continue reading

Rockin’ a Hard Place: Beth’s tasty 20-year road to success at bayleaf

I’m always intrigued by the fascinating, sometimes convoluted stories of how people… Continue reading

Dolls of historical figures are available at Purple Moon.
Whidbey offers unique gift ideas

Shoppers looking for gifts beyond the usual online and big-box options have… Continue reading

Restaurant owners see wharf location as a plus

If Damien and Tiffany Cortez could only say one thing about their… Continue reading

New Oak Harbor chamber director not content to ride others’ coattails

The former “poster child” for the Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce is… Continue reading

Pet rehab: Dogs in ‘doggles,’ cats get post-surgery care

For dog and cat owners, seeing their loyal companions endure aches and… Continue reading

Marvelous marbling: New Coupeville business bringing added dimension to Front Street

A drop of blue spreads rapidly across the still water, growing and… Continue reading

New children’s clothing boutique opens in Coupeville

Rain Puddles Kids Boutique has a variety of items for ages up to 5

New take on thrift

‘Storage wars of Whidbey Island’ leads to unique store

Kingsview opens Coupeville office

Kingsview Asset Management recently opened the doors to its new office and… Continue reading