Friday, June 14, 2013

Rediviva: A Rustic Revival

It was just after that random Aberdeen planning commission meeting I went to a while back, discussing ways to improve downtown, when I first heard the news that Andy Bickar had plans to open a new restaurant. The "young people" (that's what they call us, I'm sure) from the meeting headed out to happy hour at Billy's for a debrief. There's nothing quite like commiserating with fellow business owners and community leaders over a beer and a salmon quesadilla, compliments of the chef. Andy was among us and dropped the news that he was in the process of buying the old Mallard's Restaurant building, a few blocks away.

Best. News. Ever.

That was back in November of 2012. Now, we are mere weeks away from the opening of Rediviva. Named after the ship of Captain Robert Gray (yeah, hi, namesake of my store as well), the name literally means "revived."

He is, very literally, reviving this old downtown Aberdeen building. I stopped by last week to see the progress and, let's be honest, to get a first glance at what will probably be my new drinking hole. Compared to the previous building's high-end restaurant, I'll say this is going to be anything but a "hole." During my visit, I saw a lot of scaffolding and drywall, but I could already tell that it will likely be one of the most beautiful spaces in Grays Harbor. High ceilings. Exposed beams. Talk of a chandelier and over-sized art work. I'm in.

Andy wants this place to look like it was plucked right out of downtown Seattle and dropped in Aberdeen. Now, I'm a sucker for good interior design, but I'd also be willing to bet that the food will be top notch as well. He told me about his plans to offer fresh, local and foraged food at reasonable prices. Fresh seafood and oysters. New American, he called it. And let's not forget about the bar: micro-brews, hand-crafted cocktails and Mexican Coke. Anybody who cringes at the idea of serving regular fountain Coke is ok by me.

As far as I can tell, Andy's doing everything right: the layout (banquette seating really is the only reasonable choice), the design (rustic yet modern), historically significant (because us Harborites are weirdly obsessed with the past), and good food (we can assume, based on Andy's fancy awards and press attention). Next time you see me cruising the streets of downtown Aberdeen some random evening on the old Schwinn, you can assume I'm on my way to Rediviva.

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