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Skagit Landing

A restaurant and more, part 2

Last month we shared how five kids who grew up in the Skagit Valley teamed up to bring the area back to what they remembered it to be. This month is all about their Skagit Landing restaurant.

Obviously, the menu features local bounty and connection. One of Chef Josie Urbick's first steps was to take her sous chef and do farm tours, connecting with local farmers. "Water Tank Bakery started up about the same time we did, so it's been good to go through growing pains with someone. We buy her buns and bread; she picks up lunch for her staff. I take my compost to Viva Farms and get items for the menu. It's an incubator farm, creating the next generation of farmers. More than half of the incubators are women of color, many Latinx. I get my tomatillos from them and things you might not find at other farms. Using local farms is true to what's important."

Grilled cheese & tomato soup, Amber Strehle Creative

"Because it's difficult to find staff these days, the menu has to be easy to execute as we find and train people. I've also learned the lesson that so often it's the simple food that appeals. I used to make staff meals at Lola and could make any fabulous thing I wanted. One day I made a family recipe, a chili-taco-Frito thing. The staff went crazy. I find here that I can do creative things, yet the big sellers so far are grilled cheese and egg salad. But they're really good sandwiches!" Andrew adds, "The idea is to be approachable yet world class, exposing people to different flavors." Breakfast items include a breakfast biscuit, chorizo or sweet potato burrito, seasonal hand pie, and bagels. Lunch is primarily sandwiches and a burger, soup, and salad. A more innovative and intentional menu will come later. Their bar manager Angie wrote the cocktail menu with a nod to local distilleries, wineries, and breweries. She created a number of specialty drinks.

Josie is running Skagit Landing, the café at Skagit Acres, beer garden/café at Tulip Town, and the catering program. "We've done food that people have picked up, and taken food to various homes where we platter it there. We've done 'social bite' things and mingle events. Skagit Landing is a great space for holiday parties, retirement parties, birthdays, anniversaries, and personal and business meetings." There's a private room on the second floor next to their lounge that has been used for book club and other meetings. "People are looking for something new and different, and we have it." They can also hold events at Skagit Acres. Andrew notes, "I'm surprised at how much we do is about celebration and tradition. There are people who met every Friday at this location; now they can start that tradition up again."

The Landing Cocktail

"85% of what SBV has done so far has been done during a pandemic. It's been hard but we see results," says Andrew. "Our leadership pain tolerance is really high. Each time we've been confronted with ambiguity, we've been able to respond. Our effort is honored by the community. People understand our vision and mission. And if we do anything wrong, we know our parents will hear about it." Although they grew up in Mount Vernon, none of them were prepared for the Tulip Festival. "We were serving 6,000-7,000 people a day," recalls Josie. "Originally, I had this whole idea of homemade pretzels. That went out the window! Everyone was so relieved."

Andrew feels the demographic is there to support what they're doing. "There are 1,500 people who work at the Port of Skagit. An Amazon distribution center and Westland Distillery's barrel room are coming. There's a Chuckanut Brewery South Nut Tap Room here and Garden Path Fermentation and neither serve food so we can support them. We're between Seattle and Bellingham and near Anacortes and the San Juans. We're close to Highway 20 and just 2-1/2 miles from I-5. There are 130,000 people in all of Skagit Valley and we're the only restaurant in a 2-mile radius."

If you're ready to enjoy the beauty of Skagit Valley and "The Bounty of the County" with a runway view, it's time to visit Skagit Landing. And keep an eye on Spinach Bus Ventures. They're up to things.

Connie Adams/November 2021

Skagit Landing
15426 Airport Drive, Ste B
Burlington, WA 98233

Spinach Bus Ventures

Tulip Town

Skagit Acres

Caprese by Amber Strehle Creative

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