If you live in Steilacoom or know anything about the town, you know The Bair has been a central gathering post for many, many years. Unfortunately, the place closed down a couple years ago and only recently was it reopened as The Bair Bistro.
We stopped in the other day for a late lunch and were pleasantly surprised to see the place nearly full at 1:30 pm. Actually, the inside had several full tables but the outside seating was packed except for a single table for two.
Inside the former hardware store, post office and soda fountain deluxe has been transformed into a bright open place. The antiques and soda fountain are still in place and at the rear the former post office boxes separate the dining area from the kitchen space.
The Bair is owned by the Steilacoom Historical Museum Association and the association has spent a lot of time, labor and money getting it to meet today’s health and safety requirements. The interior has nice lighting, ceiling fans and a sprinkler system. One counter that formerly held antiques and displays now has bar stools for additional patrons. The soda fountain remains at the front of the store where a variety of delectable dessert type items are available as well as ice cream cones.
Mary Lou wasn’t that hungry so she asked for the soup of the day … on a Friday it was clam chowder. She said the chowder had a good clam base and included potatoes as well as some veggies mixed in, obviously for seasoning.
I decided to try what The Bair calls Ruben’s Rueben. It came on marbled dark rye with fresh cut fries. The corned beef was adequate (not a huge amount) for the sandwich and I detected nothing but meat … no stringy chewy ends. The cider kraut had a great tarty taste and was matched to the 1,000-island dressing. I added some mustard (I would have preferred Dijon but the standard mustard was OK). With some Swiss cheese in there it made a nice sandwich.
Although I’m not really complaining, I prefer my fries to be crisper than the ones that came with my order but the taste was good and there were sufficient fries that when matched with the sandwich, I left a few on the plate.
The bill for the sandwich and soup was an even $12. Quite reasonable!
We’ve not been to The Bair Bistro for any other meals so I can’t comment on them but reading through the menu it appeared to me breakfast lovers will think they have died and gone to heaven, given all the choices offered. The menu include eggs Benedict, eggs Florentine and eggs in a basket. There are scrambles and omelettes and things from the griddle include smoked salmon potato pancakes, flapjacks, Belgian waffles and French toast. All come with seasoned red potatoes, bacon, ham or sausage and choice of toast. Nothing on the breakfast menu was over $10 and coffee is under $1.
Oh yes, oatmeal, granola with yogurt and fruit plate are available, too.
For lunch, you can order a variety of salads, fish & chips, beef or veggie burger plus half a dozen sandwiches in addition to the Rueben. Prices for all items are quite reasonable.
Sarah Cannon is the amiable entrepreneur who took on this project. She’s open Wednesday through Saturday from 7 am to 4 pm. Sunday hours are 7 am to 2 pm. There’s adequate street parking at the front or side, catering is available and just about everything can be made to go.
Reservations are available: 253-588-9668.