Powerhouse Restaurant and Brewery overhauls its menu, adds bourbon bar

Grownups can look forward to include a new "bar garden" too

By Jackie Fender on September 10, 2014

As leaves begin to change color and sunny skies dim to cloud cover, so too do restaurant menus shift. However, Powerhouse Restaurant and Brewery in Puyallup is in a much more dramatic transition than the usual seasonal menu update. Blaine Baird, a manager with roots in the corporate world, once worked at Joey, a chain to the north. He joined the Powerhouse team in May of this year. Baird, along with Chef Ben Williams, who Baird professes is the "most passionate person he's ever met about food," had their sights on a more gastropub-styled menu.

The Powerhouse succeeds in managing its historical roots as a 1907 substation for electrical trains without being kitschy. The intimate dining space is charming and small but, with a selection of high-backed booths, manages to avoid feeling crowded and appeals to a wide demographic of Puyallup-area diners.

The menu overhaul launched last week includes changes in cuisine from start to finish. Tasty buffalo wings ($11) bring a sweetness to the usual vinegary heat. Fresh green salads are aplenty, and lots of new burgers and sandwiches have been added to the mix, including the North Western ($14), which includes a juicy burger accompanied by barbecue sauce, sliced ham, cheddar and jack cheese, a large crisp onion ring and a perfectly runny fried egg. Also new is a barbecue pork sandwich ($11), teeming with tender, slow-roasted pork slathered in sauce topped with fresh, light and crisp slaw. Perhaps my favorite touch of TLC to the menu is a beer or wine suggestion alongside each dish, adding to the Powerhouse's already exemplary service standards.  

Grownups can look forward to include a new "bar garden," which is not drinking among the lilies, but rather the Powerhouse utilizing  a once simply cosmetic landscape bed as a new home for fresh herbs - including mint, basil, rosemary and dill - for craft cocktails and recipes. A focus on fresh ingredients and infusions will kick the old syrupy boozes to the curb with full-flavor fun.  

Other new beverage delights include fall brew releases such as an Oktoberfest, a pumpkin-Graham Cracker brew, and the Winter Warmer, which is dark and warm, and, Baird says, "everything you want on a cold day in a glass."

Other boozy additions include compelling concoctions such as the Bourbon Buck, which is oak barrel-aged bourbon mixed with citrus and honey on the rocks.

And with bourbon on the brain, folks can get especially excited for the bourbon bar upstairs. You heard me: Bourbon. Bar. Every Friday and Saturday beginning Sept. 19, 72 bottles of beautiful brown liquor will line the walls and invite adults to enjoy a more traditional lounge experience separated from the family dining downstairs. Those who simply can't wait can join the Powerhouse for "A Special Night of Bourbon Tasting" at 5 p.m. Sept. 11 for a special preview. Sip on three Elijah Craig bourbons paired with an Artisan Baked Bourbon Bread Pudding produced by Baird's own pastry chef wife.

With Baird and Williams at the helm, and with a clear love of the culinary and vision to bring good food to the Puyallup area, I recommend you re-visit the Powerhouse Restaurant and Brewery.

POWERHOUSE RESTAURANT AND BREWERY, open 11:30 a.m. daily, 454 E. Main St., Puyallup, 253.845.1370