Mat Brooke, his wife, Lisa Jack, and their dog Sherman stand at the bar of The Spruce, a restaurant the couple is preparing to open in downtown Port Angeles early this summer. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

Mat Brooke, his wife, Lisa Jack, and their dog Sherman stand at the bar of The Spruce, a restaurant the couple is preparing to open in downtown Port Angeles early this summer. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

Couple plans to open new restaurant in Port Angeles this summer

PORT ANGELES — A new restaurant opening in downtown Port Angeles this summer will feature locally-sourced comfort food and beer from the Pacific Northwest, the owners of The Spruce said.

“We’re going to keep everything Pacific Northwest,” said Mat Brooke, who is opening the restaurant with his wife, Lisa Jack. “It’s locally-sourced comfort food with emphasis on most things being scratch-made.”

The couple is looking to open the restaurant at 128 E. Front St. early this summer. Its menu, which they said isn’t yet complete, features mac ’n’ cheese, pot pies, a variety of toasts and salads.

Brooke said the restaurant’s flagship dishes will be its fried chicken sandwiches, but the new restaurant will also have burgers and salmon and feature a number of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options.

He said there will be eight Northwest beers on tap and that he was looking at local whiskeys, gins and vodkas.

They were unsure of exactly when the restaurant would be opening, but said they were shooting for early summer. Brooke said all of the permits are in order and more work needs to be done.

That includes putting in the open kitchen, where diners will be able to see the cooks at work.

This isn’t the couple’s first venture in the restaurant business. Together they operated a bar on Capitol Hill in Seattle called Redwood and a restaurant on Beacon Hill called The Oak.

They started the Redwood about 14 years ago, riding on the success of Brooke’s music career. The vocalist and guitarist has performed in Carissa’s Weird, Band of Horses and Grand Archives.

“Music is what gave us a lot of the capital needed to get started,” he said, adding that they had been bartenders before getting into the restaurant business. “Some things landed and we got a little chunk of money and we kept building off of that with the restaurants.”

Though they were operating the two businesses in Seattle, they increasingly found themselves in the Port Angeles area for camping or heading to Victoria.

About four years ago they purchased a home in Port Angeles and began commuting to Seattle for their businesses, a drive they said they won’t miss.

“Seattle started changing in ways that it just wasn’t the same place it was 20 years ago,” Brooke said.

The Redwood closed in November after Brooke and Jack lost their lease, making room for a seven-story micro-housing project. It’s at about the same time that they found their new Port Angeles location, Brooke said.

“It was like the stars aligned,” he said. “We found this location and decided to pick up stakes and put all our eggs in this basket.”

They parted ways with their business partners, who took over The Oak, and began work on their Port Angeles restaurant, The Spruce.

The Redwood closed abruptly and had to clear out of the building quickly, Jack said. In designing their new restaurant, they decided to bring pieces of the Redwood with them, including the 24-foot-long bar and seating.

They hung painted tables from the Redwood on the wall as decoration.

“It’s emotional,” Jack said. ” We took everything down hastily and now we’re putting it back up and dusting it off.”

Jack said she loves the atmosphere of the new restaurant, describing it as an intimate sit-down restaurant that can seat 48 people.

They said that, in preparing for their restaurant, they were hoping to find their own niche and provide something new for Port Angeles.

“We’ve been looking around at other restaurants to make sure we’re not stepping on toes,” she said.

Now, they are excited to become a part of downtown Port Angeles, which has a number of projects slated for downtown, including the Lower Elwha S’Klallam Tribe’s planned hotel and a performing arts center.

“It seems like Front Street has a lot of big changes coming and we’re thrilled to hopefully be a part of it,” he said.

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Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at [email protected].

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