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Taprock Northwest Grill making steady progress

 - Brad Camp/Staff Photo
— image credit: Brad Camp/Staff Photo

POULSBO — It’s been more than a year and a half since its predecessor, Mitzel’s American Kitchen, was destroyed in a May 30, 2006 fire, and soon the new Taprock Northwest Grill will debut in Poulsbo with all the flair and flavor the region has to offer.

The building is now 80 percent complete, and construction will most likely be finished by mid-September. Elmer’s Restaurant, Inc. (ERI) CEO Dennis Waldron said the aim is to open the eatery in mid- to late-October.

“Mitzel’s was a beloved, long-time restaurant,” he said. “Taprock will have a similar casual feel and prices will be moderate, as they were at Mitzel’s. This is a new concept that we feel it will be well received by past customers of Mitzel’s and new customers.”

Boasting an array of locally-grown foods and family-friendly dishes, ERI is promising its newest west coast establishment is one that will draw in crowds of all ages.

Taprock menu designer Diane Morgan, a renowned chef and cookbook author who has written for the Los Angeles Times food section and appeared on shows such as NBC’s “Today,” said the restaurant will offer dishes that pay tribute to its Northwest location.

“We’ve created a menu that showcases the spirit of the Pacific Northwest,” she said. “We’re excited to offer a diverse menu that will feature fresh, local ingredients whenever possible. We are confident the new menu will provide delicious options for every family member.”

Taprock’s interior design will work to incorporate the Northwest atmosphere as well, with casual but warm elements that include two river rock fireplaces and high wood ceilings. The objective is to create a “vacation lodge” appeal.

“The Northwest is famous for its fresh food, active culture and scenic landscape,” Waldron said. “We’ve created an everyday, family-friendly restaurant that will draw in customers throughout Kitsap County. Taprock is a destination restaurant that offers the best this region has to offer.”

Greater Poulsbo Chamber of Commerce executive director Stuart Leidner said he is looking forward to reestablishing a venue at the site.

“Like everybody else, I see the construction going along and look forward to it getting actually completed,” Leidner said. “Mitzel’s was an anchor tenant here in the Poulsbo Village. It’s going to be important to have that back.”

Portland-based ERI owns and operates three restaurant chains under its corporate umbrella: Elmer’s Restaurants, Mitzel’s American Kitchen and Taprock Northwest Grill. Its establishments are located throughout the west, including Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Montana and California.

The hiring process at Taprock will begin in September.

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