Owner of A’Town Bistro in Anacortes, Timothy Moffitt, spent most of his life working in restaurants so he knew what he’d do differently when he got the chance to run things. For starters, A’Town Bistro sources ingredients from local food purveyors. About 85-90 percent of their summertime produce gets picked up from the Anacortes Farmers Market, he picks up shellfish twice a week, and local rabbit makes an appearance in several dishes. Moffitt goes beyond keeping his customers happy though. He strives for an ideal work-life balance for his staff. It’s achieved by keeping the restaurant closed on Sundays and asking for menu inputs, especially for cocktails. The concept is working: Staffers are friendly, knowledgeable, and seem happy.
Moffitt ensures his head chef, John Blanton, enjoys creative freedom to push the envelope, which translates into an exceptional menu of dishes that hit the mark in taste and presentation, making the come-as-you are restaurant feel like a fine dining experience. The menu switches up twice a week in summer and about weekly in winter, depending on what’s available. There are no daily specials, allowing Blanton and his kitchen staff to spend more time with each dish; Blanton says this menu method “allows for a little more control,” with enough changes to keep regular customers coming back for more.
There are mainstays that get ingredient swaps. For example, the smoked scallops served with tender fingerling potatoes, lemon segments, and blistered peppers will be served with shishito peppers one week, then Fresno chile peppers the next, whichever one is in season. Blanton is up for trying anything — “We don’t have big egos, if it doesn’t work, let’s fix it.” In the culinary world, that attitude and open imagination is key to a memorable menu. His creativity shines in A’Town Bistro’s elevated comfort dish, the sweet potato ravioli. Creamy sweet potato and ricotta-filled raviolis are cooked to order, then served with succulent braised rabbit, sweet nuggets of roasted golden beets while ribbons of chipotle nectarine jam melt through the dish. It’s topped with crisp sage leaves and a wedge of brie that melts into it all. You didn’t even think to add the brie, but once you taste it you’ll understand why Blanton did.
For menu mainstays, try the made-to-order clam chowder, which features fresh clams served in a house-made fume (fish stock), house-smoked bacon, and crusty bread. Rich, buttery old-fashioned pate is always on the menu, as are the moules et frites, and the Scotch egg — a soft poached egg wrapped in sausage, breaded, then fried. Pair your meal with something off the seasonally changing cocktail menu. Bitters, shrubs, and syrup are made in house and the creative cocktails are composed by staff or sourced from Moffitt’s collection of vintage bartending books.
A’Town Bistro’s careful sourcing of ingredients, creative approach to food and drinks, and comfortable atmosphere is why it’s about to become your new go-to restaurant.