Whidbey Island’s historic Captain Whidbey Inn, which originally opened in 1907, is sporting a sleek new restoration along with new bar and food menus. New owners Matt and Mike French and Eric Cheong brought on acclaimed bartender Erik Hakkinen to oversee the cocktail menu, along with chef Eric Truglas, whose resume includes time as culinary director of Semiahmoo Resort and Eat Restaurant and Bar in Bellingham.
Truglas has overhauled the restaurant’s menus, adding plenty of island-grown ingredients—including some from an on-site garden. His menus include dishes like clam chowder, roasted Dog Island mushrooms, Penn Cove mussels cioppino, and Whidbey Island oysters.
On the bar side, Hakkinen has developed a seasonal cocktail menu of 10 original drinks, which will change quarterly. Non-cocktail options range from draft beer along with bottles and cans, and wines by the glass and bottle. The bartender — who made a name for himself at Pike Place Market mainstay Zig Zag Cafe — is also working on a new Belltown bar called Roquette.
The French brothers, who are accomplished hoteliers, and Cheong, a noted architect, have breathed new life into the old hotel. The property’s restoration includes a new back deck with waterfront views, a deepwater dock with sailboat and seaplane access, row boat rentals, bicycles and lawn games, event programming, and new design features.