Port Angeles pizza eateries are on the move

Plus grocery reopening for West End

PORT ANGELES — Two Port Angeles pizza eateries are on the move, one down the block and the other opening a new restaurant in Sequim.

And hundreds of West End residents don’t have to drive long distances to buy their groceries anymore.

The owners of Barhop Brewing and Artisan Pizza, at 124 W. Railroad Ave., and The Strait Slice Pizza Co., at 121½ W. First Street, joined the co-owner of West End-area Beaver Grocery Store, a 70-year-old establishment stirring to life, at a Clallam County Economic Development Council presentation last week.

Tom Curry of Barhop Brewing and Scott Sullivan of Strait Slice confirmed Monday they plan to open new facilities by this weekend.

Curry’s newest restaurant will be at 845 W. Washington St. off the Costco traffic circle where Curtis Cabinets was located for about eight years.

Sullivan will offer only take-out service until probably next spring — when sit-down dining will be added — at the former Dynasty Chinese Restaurant at the corner of 136 E. First St. and Lincoln Street, the city’s busiest intersection.

Carrie Merrill and her husband Jonas re-opened the former Lake Pleasant Grocery at 200361 U.S. Highway 101 in July after it closed for two years following the owner’s passing, Merrill told the Zoom audience Wednesday at the EDC’s weekly “Coffee with Colleen” program.

The store, a vital link for about 400 people in the Beaver-Bear Creek area, may begin serving hot food including hamburgers, chicken burgers, growlers to go — and pizza, she told chat participants.

The gas station may be closing, and an electric-car charging station added, Merrill said.

“We do have big plans for the store,” Merrill said.

Curry, who features Neapolitan pizza, and Sullivan, who offers New York-style fare, are both growing their businesses, Sullivan 1½ blocks from his Strait Slice pizzeria, too tiny to allow indoor dining with outdoor seating, weather permitting.

Take-out will be standard operating procedure at the new facility, with restaurant dining planned for next spring along with outdoor dining and, eventually live outdoor music, Sullivan said.

Sullivan, a professional photographer and lifelong snowboarder and surfer, opened Strait Slice on West First in 2015.

But he wanted his own place.

“I could run this restaurant for 10 years, and if I don’t own the building, then at 10 years, I don’t really have much,” he said. “I could maybe sell it. I don’t really know.”

“It’s really important to me to find a space of my own,” Sullivan added.

He and his wife, Natalie, purchased the 1,192-square-foot building in July 2020 from Yan Yi Thompson for $215,000, according to Clallam County Assessor’s Office records.

Then came the hard part for the Rhode Island native, who would rather be proudly hand-tossing his pizza instead of dealing with what he confronted.

He did all the demolition work himself for the next six months.

“I refused to let anybody in because of the absolutely disgusting condition of it,” Sullivan recalled.

“You don’t understand how nasty it was, how rat infested it was, and how gross the whole place was.

“So I am blood, sweat and tears into that place, and nightmares and everything, from restoring the Dynasty building.”

The property has been broken into, he’s found feces in his doorway and homelessness is an issue, he said, adding he is not alone among other businesses in the area.

“That said, I’m moving forward,” Sullivan said.

That includes his excavation of the parking lot, intentions to serve draught beer and offer live music, and construction of an outdoor seating area.

Curry said he will be serving the same 10 Barhop beers and two ciders and the Sequim Barhop as he does the Port Angeles establishment.

The former vice president in the skilled nursing home industry “was bored out of my mind,” he recalled Monday, when he started brewing beer in his back yard.

Barhop, 11 years old, started as a craft brewing outfit in a logging-truck parking garage behind Harbinger Winery west of downtown Port Angeles. He opened the Tap Room on Laurel Street in 2011 and Barhop in 2012.

The brewing operation moved from Railroad to next to Fairchild International Airport, and a new canning line begins operating this month. In spring, he purchased the Dairy Queen restaurant on Railroad Avenue six weeks before COVID-19 hit around March 2020.

Then he pursued the Sequim location, leasing it in February and beginning a year-long renovation.

“We’re just looking forward to coming into the community,” Curry said.

“It’s fun getting a blank slate and working with it.”

Barhop in Port Angeles has 33-35 employees and generates an annual payroll of $700,000, which Curry hopes to duplicate in Sequim.

“The key issue for us, and I think for anyone, is staffing, you know, staffing, staffing, staffing,” Curry said.

Merrill said the Beaver-area community is grateful the store has reopened.

She and her husband purchased the store for $150,000 from Margaret Henson in March 2021, according to the assessor’s office.

They reopened the store in July.

“Everyone is like, ‘Now I don’t have to go to Forks; now I don’t have to go all the way to Port Angeles,’ ” Merrill said.

Merrill said she has hired a couple of people.

“I see that everyone’s needing help, everyone’s looking for employees, but I have almost, two or three times a week, someone asking for a job, which is kind of crazy,” she said.

“We’re not there yet to be hiring a bunch of people.”

Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].

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