When 44-year-old Ryan Ziegler talks about how he got into the restaurant/cooking business, he said it’s just something that he’s always loved doing.
“I decided to go to the Western Culinary Institute, I started attending right as it was transitioning into Le Cordon Bleu,” Ziegler said. “I worked at Hudson’s Bar and Grill at the Heathman, then moved on to work for Pacific Coast Restaurants. I worked at Portland City Grill, then went on to open five restaurants for Pacific Coast and became the head chef at one. Eventually, I got on board with Levy Restaurants.”
Ziegler signed on as the head chef of Line & Lure Seafood Kitchen & Tap at the Ilani Casino Resort, and has been there since the opening of the restaurant back in April of 2017. During his time as chef at Line & Lure, one of the things Ziegler has been most excited about is the Seafood Brunch Buffet that the restaurant started offering on Sundays back in December.
“We have around 200 people come in for the brunch buffet every Sunday,” Ziegler said. “There is a cold station, a seafood section, a meat carving area, omelet station, crepe-making station and an area with all the traditional brunch items (bacon, sausage, etc.).”
In addition to Sunday brunches, Ziegler said the restaurant is consistently busy on Friday and Saturday nights, especially if there is an event going on at Ilani’s Event Center, which officially opened on April 1.
“Definitely when there are events we see an increase in sales,” Ziegler said. “Especially the two hours before a show, when people are waiting or getting in line, and sometimes after the show, depending on what time it gets over.”
Ziegler said the restaurant also offers live, mostly acoustic music on Friday and Saturday nights from 7-10 p.m., which also tends to draw more people in. He said he’s hoping they might add some entertainment out on the restaurant’s patio during the summer months, as the patio is usually a popular place on warmer weekend nights.
Aside from the Seafood Brunch Buffet on Sundays, Line & Lure’s regular menu offers some unique items that have quickly become some of the patrons’ favorites. Ziegler said they offer three different kinds of fish & chips – rockfish, Pacific cod and halibut. Another popular item is the Captain’s Plate, which includes Great Lure Kolsch beer batter rockfish, Pacific cod, breaded clam strips, panko prawns, house-made tartar sauce, chipotle-lemon cocktail sauce and fresh coleslaw.
Ziegler said other top-selling items include the grilled Columbia River salmon, crab-crusted Pacific cod and the Painted Hills top sirloin. Boils are also popular among restaurant goers, including a lobster boil, shrimp & clam boil, and crab boil. All boils are served with corn on the cob, roasted potatoes, andouille sausage and a cheddar cheese biscuit with honey-cayenne butter.
The restaurant’s pastry chef makes sure guests save room for dessert with items like her chocolate espresso cake, Florida key lime tart, coconut cake, lemon soufflé cake and salted butterscotch pudding.
Having just updated the restaurant’s menu in March for the spring/summer season, Ziegler said he probably won’t make another menu change until he does some seasonal updates for the fall.
Line & Lure is open Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m., and Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Sunday Brunch Buffet hours are from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.