Bringing a wealth of experienced management to their newest restaurant, Twigs Bistro and Martini Bar, located along the Vancouver Waterfront, opened this week on Sept. 26 along the pier at 801 Waterfront Way just northwest of the Interstate Bridge along the Columbia River.
This is the 11th Twigs restaurant for President and Owner Trevor Blackwell of Spokane, who opened the first Twigs location in 2001 in downtown Spokane along with his two partners – his father Jeff Blackwell, and wife Jayne Blackwell.
Twigs Bistro and Martini Bar restaurants are located across several states, including Idaho, Oregon, Utah and Texas. In Washington, in addition to the new one in Vancouver, there are currently four locations in Spokane and one in Kennewick.
Blackwell has a lifetime of experience in the restaurant business.
“I literally grew up in the business as my dad owned everything from juice bars to delis and fast food restaurants in food courts,” he said. “This is all I’ve ever done, so I naturally evolved into the restaurant business.”
“My entire management team has relocated to the Vancouver area to be part of this exciting endeavor,” Blackwell continued. “They were all happy to come to live and work in Vancouver. General Manager Todd MacLean has been with us since 2011 and comes from Kennewick, as does our Assistant Manager Ariel Durand, who has been with us since 2013. Our amazing Executive Chef Spencer Galbraith has worked in Yakima, Tucson and Salt Lake City in multiple different roles. He has been with us since 2013. Rounding out our team is our Sous Chef Teagan Moore, who has been with us since 2016 and comes from Salt Lake City. I am thrilled to have this experienced and knowledgeable management team opening this location.”
Blackwell said the big draw for his team was the location, as they often don’t get an opportunity to have the unique, amazing atmosphere that the Vancouver Waterfront has to offer.
“Almost every single table has a great view,” he said. “We do not have a single restaurant that is like this one. We will have seating for 100 people outdoors on our patio, with 17 overhead patio heaters and partially covered awnings; the glass slider doors will open the 200-seat restaurant to the beautiful riverfront. We are very excited to be able to offer our guests such a great place to hang out and enjoy the view while dining.”
MacLean said he is thrilled that Twigs has given him the opportunity to come back home.
“I am a Portland/Gresham kid as I grew up here,” he said. “I’ve been in the Tri-Cities area for seven years and opened the Kennewick location as a bartender and have been managing for about a year and a half, and have opened several other locations as well. We have a strong motivated crew with a great attitude and a strong guest/customer service focus.”
MacLean was responsible for hiring the entire crew of about 65 employees from over 150 applicants. They are still hiring for a few more positions. His two main bartenders also relocated to Vancouver from Kennewick.
“The cool thing is that we have a lot of new hires who are new to Washington state and Vancouver; I have employees from Montana, California, back east and of course Vancouver, but not one from across the river in Portland,” MacLean said.
“We are of course known for our craft cocktails and have about 18-20 martinis on our menu,” MacLean continued. “It’s all about the presentation, with our signature ‘Smoke on the River’ we offer a smoking pour at the table cocktail that is kind of like a whiskey old fashion with applewood smoke and an amazing aroma. It’s quite the presentation. We will also offer four rotating local breweries’ craft beers and local wines along with our cutting-edge cocktails. Our happy hour is awesome as we offer $2 off craft beer, local wine and our signature martinis as well as a small plate appetizer menu ranging from around $6-$8.”
The American menu offerings will include signature items such French fries with fresh basil and warm gorgonzola fondue dip, a Moroccan steak sautéed in seasonings and spices served with bread and fondue dip, and Pork Osso Bucco, a slow-cooked pork shank served over parsnip puree with seasonal vegetables and mushroom Marsala sauce.
A large gluten-free menu that includes salads, sandwiches, hand-made pizzas, pastas, steaks and a unique chef-inspired rotating menu creation is also available. Every couple of weeks a new appetizer, entrée dessert, different pizza and pasta will appear on the menu.
“We love to offer menu items that you will not find anywhere else,” MacLean said. “The presentation of the food from our kitchen is something we are excited about. Executive Chef Spencer Galbraith is always looking for new menu items, fresh sourced food and a growing expanded menu make for a lot of variety. He really works to offer a large variety of vegan and gluten-free options to accommodate each guest.”
They also offer a children’s menu, daily happy hour menu and drink specials in the entire restaurant, and on the outdoor patio from 3-6 p.m. and 9 p.m. to close. They open daily at 11 a.m. for lunch and serve both lunch and dinner daily until 10 p.m. on weekdays and 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturdays.
Twigs Bistro and Martini Bar also offers catering and has a private event space that seats 35 and has audio and video capabilities. Free Parking is available in the adjacent lot.