WildFin Grill set to open along Vancouver Waterfront

Restaurant chain’s fourth location will be open to the public for dinner on Monday, September 24

WildFin American Grill
President and Operating Partner of WildFin American Grill, Attila Szabo, and Karla Connelly, regional manager and general manager for WildFin, are pictured here in front of the new WildFin restaurant, located along the Vancouver Waterfront. Courtesy of Melinda Thompson

WildFin American Grill will open their doors to the public with their first full dinner service on Monday, Sept. 24, at 5 p.m. Lunch and dinner service will follow on Tuesday, Sept. 25.

An invitation-only soft opening is scheduled for dinner on Sunday, Sept. 23.

Set along the scenic Columbia River just northwest of the I-5 Bridge, this large open-kitchen concept restaurant is the first business to open prior to the citywide grand opening ribbon cutting event set for Sept. 29.

The Vancouver Waterfront project – valued at more than $1.5 billion – is set to bring a vibrant mix of retail, green space and living to the city as part of the 32-acre, 20-city-block master plan developed by Gramor Development of Tualatin, Ore.

The restaurant, set directly in front of the cable stay pier that extends out over the Columbia River, has a large open feeling with floor to ceiling windows and large open glass doors that extend the seating outside. Indoor seating will accommodate 200 guests, and 130 guests in the outdoor bar seating and dining area. Outdoor tables will line the outdoor perimeter of the building weather permitting.

Attila Szabo, president and operating partner of WildFin American Grill, has more than 33 years of experience in the restaurant business and is thrilled to open the fourth WildFin American Grill here in Vancouver. Other locations are in Issaquah, Tacoma and Renton Landing. A fifth location is set to open in Beaverton, Ore., in April 2019.

“We like to think of WildFin as a restaurant for every occasion, including that special celebration,” Szabo said. “We are not stuffy or pretentious but a place for Friday night date night as well as Sunday happy hour. Our location and setting overlooking the Columbia River is truly awe inspiring and we are a one of a kind. With our open exhibition kitchen, warm wood textures, steel and bright pop of orange color, we are meant to be a fun playful place where everyone will be welcome.”

Szabo has three partners – Chris Anderson, Bob Acree and Chris Bryant, who is also the executive chef for WildFin. The group also owns several other restaurants, including the popular Stack 571 Burger & Whiskey Bar, with locations at Point Ruston in Tacoma; Lakeland Hills in Auburn; Capital Mall in Olympia; and The Junction in Bothell.

With a large flavorful and seasonal menu of fresh, organic, free range and local offerings specific to the Northwest, the restaurant incorporates locally sourced fresh ingredients – produce from local farms, Washington poultry, local beef ranchers and well-known local Northwest microbrews and wines. The diverse menu offers everything from sandwiches, burgers, pasta selections, salads, steaks and chicken. Perhaps best known for their vast menu of fresh wild Northwest and Alaskan seafood offerings, they offer fresh hand-battered cod and halibut fish and chips, Alaskan salmon and halibut, wild salmon and trout and Alaskan snow crab, as well as a seasonal daily fresh catch offering.

As an official James Beard Foundation “Smart Catch Certified” restaurant, all of the WildFin restaurants are considered leaders in the program and are committed to serving seafood fished or farmed through natural environmentally responsible practices.

Szabo has brought in Karla Connelly, who he has worked with in the past, as both regional manager and general manager for WildFin. Connelly has more than 25 years in the restaurant business and brings a wealth of knowledge and management experience with her.

“My philosophy is that we treat our guests as friends who we gladly welcome in every day when we open our doors to serve them,” Connelly said. “I also really enjoy working with our staff of about 150 employees. Seeing them grow, develop and succeed is always so fulfilling as a manager.”

“Once we are up and running we will be offering weekend brunch starting mid October,” Connelly continued. “We will open at 9:30 a.m. and serve brunch until 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. A Bloody Mary Bar, brunch and lunch menu will be offered. We also have a children’s menu, and a daily happy hour in both our indoor and outdoor bars from 3 to 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. to close daily. The happy hour will offer appetizers as well as drink specials on beer and wine.”

Unique to WildFin is their popular “The Daily Catch” window – a walk-up kitchen food window that is an extension of the restaurant kitchen where customers can purchase fresh hand-battered fish and chips, a variety of fish tacos, calamari, seafood chowder, soft serve ice cream and hand-spun shakes, as well as blackberry basil lemonade. They also have a children’s menu available. The window will be open seasonally in the spring of 2019 in April and will stay open through the fall, weather permitting.

With the outdoor green space, walking trail along the river and the large open picturesque view from all sides, WildFin American Grill is set to be a popular inviting and delicious dining addition for lunch, brunch, happy hour and dinner.

WildFin American Grill will be open Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-12 a.m., with brunch hours Saturday-Sunday, 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m., beginning in mid October. The restaurant is located at 777 Waterfront Way, Suite 101, Vancouver.

Phase-one opening event

On Saturday, Sept. 29, Phase One of the Waterfront Vancouver Development project, including the Waterfront Park and Grant Street Pier, as well as two of the project’s first restaurants – WildFin American Grill and Twigs Bistro and Martini Bar – will open to the public.

From 11 a.m.-3 p.m., residents and visitors are invited to the Waterfront Vancouver for festivities to commemorate the historic opening of the new downtown waterfront park and pier. A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. with speeches from elected officials as well as other project stakeholders.

For more information on the Waterfront Vancouver Phase-One Opening and Community Celebration, visit www.cityofvancouver.us/waterfront.

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