Columbia River Brewing Company

My family headed out to have pizza last night at the Laurelwood Pizza Company on NE 40th last night and were shocked to find it gone. In its place, an upstart, just-opened place called Columbia River Brewing.

A sign at the front advised that this was the soft-opening, which I knew was a risk, but at the same time our readers are worth it. So, in we went.

In appearance, it is the same place. This owes strongly, I suspect, to the fact that ownership appears to have changed hands and the new shingle raised in less than a week. In checking the news section of the Laurelwood site (link to be supplied later, when I'm on a computer), I learned that Laurelwood closed doors at this location on July 5th, so Columbia startes a scant four days later.

We'd come for a family-friendly pizza and beer. Family-friendly is still there - same play area, same color books, same crayon buckets. Beer was also there, as expected. I sampled the Peacenik Pale and the Wry Pale, which were both commendable. My wife, who craved a wheat, had to settle for the Mother Lode Golden, which I found entirely disinteresting. My Bro-in-law had a smoked ale with an inmemorable and inpronounceable name, which I passed on sampling.

The menu is varied but not particarly interesying. There are personal pizzas (only pepperoni, cheese, or Hawaiian) but no full-size ones. There are salads, sandwiches, and burgers. Also a wide variety of appetizers.

My wife and I decided to get an order of onion rings for the table. She ordered a shredded pork sandwich. I went for the Turkey and avocado sandwich. The Bro-in-law ordered a bacon burger.

The service was miserably slow. I chalk this up to the first-night thing. The eaiter, who was very nice but obviously still getting his legs beneath him, didn't know the menu. We chatted him up a bit during the hour we waited for dinner and learned that the wait staff apparently hadn't been given the opportunity to sample the wares, which I would guess is pretty important. The kitchen only had two people in it, which accounted for the slowness of the grub.

The food was adequate but nothing special. Bro-in-law's burger patty was too small for the bun, which made it appear like intentional skimpiness, where it may just be a sign of work-in-progress. My wife's shredded pork had a too-sweet sauce on it which totally ruined it, in my opinion. My turkey avocado was pretty good, but the chipotle mayo used had something wrong with it, which I can't quite place. Again, perhaps awork in progress.

For four beers, three dinners, an order of mostly-overcooked onion rings and a kids meal, the total came in at just over $50, which isn't bad.

The first impression wasn't strong, and a little more preparation was in order, for sure. I'll give the place a month or two and go back. I'd encourage our readers to also wait.