Salty Reed had always had a dream to own his own restaurant. After living in downtown Vancouver for a while, he realized it was time to make his dream a reality and embrace the community in a special way – by opening a one-of-a-kind drink and food establishment.
“While we were putting together the business plan, we knew we wanted to focus on locally sourced foods … but we were stunned by the amount of craft distillers that Washington state has to offer,” Reed said. “So, we switched our focus and decided to highlight the Washington craft spirits, beers and wine. The Grocery Cocktail and Social was born.”
This October will mark four years of business at its downtown Vancouver location at 115 W. 7th St. The cocktail lounge currently has 11 employees and the buzz among Clark County residents is still going strong. When asked why The Grocery Cocktail and Social is succeeding in the competitive dining scene in Vancouver, Reed shares that they provide a unique experience and offer special events that are different such as “meet the maker” events with distillers. In addition, Reed and his team are committed to building community partnerships and his staff believes in what they’re doing.
“We are always looking for new ways to highlight other small businesses and grow together,” he said.
The Grocery is currently partnering with Red Truck Farms, Ash Tree Farm and Sprout & Blossom Farm for specific menu items, where customers will find items like coffee-brined pork chops, lamb steak bites, cornbread-crusted macaroni and cheese, or sautéed green beans and mushrooms, just to name a few.
But The Grocery’s unmatched selection of local spirits is what makes them especially distinct. Reed explains that 90 percent of their back bar is distilled in Washington and their private whiskey parlor is dedicated 100 percent to Washington-distilled whiskeys. For people that love local craft beer, The Grocery has plenty of rotating breweries on tap, including those from Trap Door, Fortside, Heathen, Loowit and more.
“The Grocery has a lot of pride in our community,” Reed said. “We participate and collaborate with our neighbors and encourage growth. We push ourselves to continually raise the bar and focus on the future.”
Their growth plan includes growing with the market and catering to their customers’ tastes. In addition, Reed is hopeful that the new waterfront development will continue to drive growth.
“Vancouver is going to see unprecedented growth with the opening of the waterfront,” he said. “With that growth will come new challenges as well as new opportunities. It’s not about what Vancouver used to be, it’s about the community that exists now and how we are growing together. We hope to be a part of the downtown scene for a long time to come.