I didn’t even realize that I had a martini-glass-shaped void in my life until I had a few– ok, more than a few– cocktails at the new Red Pickle on Thursday night. I now realize that it had been a very long time since I have had expertly and thoughtfully crafted cocktails at a restaurant in Ellensburg and I am absolutely thrilled that Mario has emerged from his food truck to bring the people of Ellensburg the Red Pickle House and all of its boozy and delicious glory.
The food is familiar to those who have eaten at the Red Pickle food truck and lends itself well to the bright and modern gastropub feel of the new place. My Buttermilk Fried Chicken Sandwich was crunchy, balanced, and overflowing with flavor: exactly what I needed to soak up some serious drinks.
Speaking of drinks…Mario makes wonderful food but that man was put on this earth to create drinks and own a bar. The cocktails at Red Pickle are truly original and very exciting. My first order was the Smoked Maple Manhattan, which features smoked bourbon and house brandied drunk cherries. Almost all of the cocktails include house-made elements such as infused or smoked liquors. Up next was the Earl Grey Infused Gin, mixed with grapefruit, honey, and orange. I keep trying to put my finger on what it is that this drink reminds me of, but I’ve come to the conclusion that it just tastes so right that I feel like I have, or at least should have tasted it before.
I had the privilege of sampling almost everything on the signature cocktails menu and nothing disappointed. The Strawberry Balsamic Vodka was among my favorites and if you’re not familiar with this flavor combination then I strongly recommend you get yourself acquainted with this drink. But, if you’re more of a classic cocktail, beer, or wine person then you’ll still find lots to love. Only the bar area is off-limits to minors so bring the whole family.
The location at 301 N Pine is that odd little building that used to house D&M coffee and then Roxie Allen Arts. I spent a lot of time there when it was the coffee shop and I’m so impressed by what Mario and his team have done with the building. It’s now cheery, open, and sophisticated without a hint of pretense, much like Mario himself, who moves around that bar with the certainty of someone who is doing exactly what they were meant to do.
The Red Pickle, 301 N Pine St, Ellensburg, WA