Business

Whiskey Creek Ranch House: Bring on the Southwest flavor

Brad Camp/Staff photo Whiskey Creek Ranchhouse opened in downtown Poulsbo recently. Chef Robert Goninan leads the kitchen. The Ranchhouse staff includes (left to right) Keonz, Mindy Teigen, assistant manager, and Kelle Taplin, hostess. - Brad Camp/Staff photo
Brad Camp/Staff photo Whiskey Creek Ranchhouse opened in downtown Poulsbo recently. Chef Robert Goninan leads the kitchen. The Ranchhouse staff includes (left to right) Keonz, Mindy Teigen, assistant manager, and Kelle Taplin, hostess.
— image credit: Brad Camp/Staff photo

POULSBO — Apparently, there just wasn’t anywhere in these parts to find Rocky Mountain Oysters — until now.

“They’re selling like hot cakes,” said Pat Ziarnik, owner of Poulsbo’s new Whiskey Creek Ranch House Grill.

He gives a slight chuckle, as the infamous delicacies have become a popular portion on the menu of his newest restaurant, which tailors Southwestern staple flavors to the Northwest palate.

“We designed the menu to not compete with or be compared to any other here or in Kitsap County,” he added. Ziarnik and his wife Karan also run the Whiskey Creek Steakhouse in Keyport. They recently renovated what used to be known as Garcia’s Family Mexican Restaurant, situated near the Port of Poulsbo on Liberty Bay.

Replete with mounted game heads, saddle bar stools and a 300-year-old wagon wheel, Whiskey Creek Ranch House’s new interior offers a warm, textured atmosphere, with woods, leathers and decor from the King Ranch, a Texas landmark known as one of the largest privately owned ranch operations.

The objective, Ziarnik said, was to “bring the feel of being outdoors indoors.”

An intimate lower banquet room offers a more private pub feel, while the chef’s table seats at least eight for larger parties. The main room also features a music stage and living room set-up, where patrons can wait to be seated or even served.

The waitstaff, said Ziarnik, was hand-selected as “strong, energetic and very hospitable.”

Sixteen years in the restaurant business, Ziarnik described the pricing as “comfortable,” affordable from drinks in the cocktail lounge or a snack up to the full dining experience.

It’s also the right-sized treat during economic tough times, when pocketbooks aren’t heavily padded, he said.

Whiskey Creek Ranch House’s varied menu contains fresh shucked and pan fried oysters, cedar plank “wild” Northwest salmon and Southwest firebolt potato au gratin, along with soups and salads, burgers, meats, seafood and ranch hand favorites. Every meal comes with starch and vegetables.

Leaning to its country state of mind, Whiskey Creek Ranch House kitchen staff work with cast iron skillets, Ziarnik said.

The services of local vendors were sought for both the restaurant’s decor and food items, he added.

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