Picture it: You’re dining on the patio at Keenan’s at the Pier, overlooking Bellingham Bay. The water glints in the early summer sunshine, sailboats skim over the waves, and the San Juan Islands crown the horizon. You begin to smell something truly mouthwatering, and turn your head. It’s a sizzling filet mignon and hot corn cakes just out of the oven. Is it a dream?
No, it’s real life, thanks to Whatcom County officially entering Phase 2. This means that some of your favorite eating and drinking establishments have reopened for dining services (with safety precautions, of course). For Keenan’s at the Pier, it also means plenty for new and returning guests to feel excited about—a bigger, better kitchen and a mouthwatering seasonal menu.
Keenan’s Food and Beverage Director, Abby Skywalker, has put her heart and soul into making sure the reopening goes smoothly (and, of course, deliciously). She and her team have been working hard during lockdown.
“We had a kitchen remodel, which is exciting for everyone,” she says. The restaurant’s layout has changed, with tables further apart, and plexiglass partitions will soon be installed between them. “We have the patio and the terrace available from open to close instead of just for happy hour—so anyone who feels more comfortable dining al fresco will have that option. And all our servers wear gloves and face masks.”
The best thing about these changes isn’t the technical aspect—though Skywalker is quick to admit that the new kitchen is pretty spectacular. “Everything is bigger, better, and new!” she exclaims. There’s a new deep fryer and a larger flat top, so they can do even more French toast, plus a beautiful combination oven that Skywalker describes as high-tech. “You can plug your phone into it and make a recipe from your phone. We’re not using that because we have our own recipes, but still—it’s like a robot!”
While the upgrades are helpful, the heart of Keenan’s is their customers. “It’s really nice to just see people again,” Skywalker says. “That’s been the most exciting thing for us—getting to see our guests again. Oh, and a new scallop dish, which is just gorgeous!”
Keenan’s Executive Chef, Ashley Kovacevich, and her team have been working together to come up with innovative ideas for a summer menu. “It’s been really fun to watch them all work together,” Skywalker says. “We’re going to come out swinging.”
The upcoming menu showcases the best of the Northwest, and especially the best of Whatcom County. Since Keenan’s is located right on Bellingham Bay, being close with fisherpeople and procuring fresh seafood is a core value of the restaurant. Such a local focus ensures that Keenan’s diners get the highest quality products and produce available.
That’s why guests will especially enjoy the upcoming menu. Choose an ahi poke bowl with rice, fried wontons, seaweed salad, and avocado. There’s also a phenomenal roasted eggplant dish with grilled polenta and sheep’s feta. And don’t overlook the halibut with a fruit salsa and spicy Cuban-roasted sweet potatoes. There’s also the famous scallops nestled in lemongrass quinoa and topped with watermelon radishes.
Keenan’s is also renowned for its filet mignon—complete with delicious corn cakes and house chimichurri sauce. “Every time I see that one go out, I’m like, ‘Ahhhh,’” Skywalker says with a laugh.
Keenan’s is open from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. daily; until 10:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays—and guests can sit outside any time. “Come on down and see us the next sunny day,” says Skywalker. Even in drearier weather, they have an outdoor covered area with heating lamps. “There’s lots of flexible space and opportunities for people to be where they’re most comfortable.”
Guests’ happiness is the number one priority at Keenan’s. “I love seeing people try something for the first time,” Skywalker says. “They’re like, ‘This is so good; it’s so good to be out again!’”
That appreciation extends from customers to Keenan’s staff. “Our team has really put one foot in front of the other to keep things moving forward. It’s been so nice to see everyone come together as a team through this.”
Whether you’re hungry for brunch, lunch or the freshest seafood dinner around, head to Keenan’s for exceptional service, delicious food, and that million-dollar view.