There’s a new eatery at Squalicum Harbor in Bellingham as Lombardi’s Italian Restaurant opened its doors in early October 2019. A gorgeous new interior opens up to beautiful waterfront views of the marina, and evening sunsets.
Lombardi’s is a family-owned business with locations in the Everett Marina and Mill Creek. Kerri Lonergan-Dreke, proprietor and vice-president of the company, said she’d had her eye on Bellingham for several months. “We started doing research, looking at the market and talking to other restaurants and breweries in the area, but really got serious in November 2018 when we became aware that Guiseppe’s Ristorante Italiano was for sale.”
The location worked well and had an uncanny number of similarities to Lombardi’s in Everett. Both restaurants are on the marina with water views, both have hotels alongside them and Lombardi’s Bellingham rubs shoulders with Anthony’s and Hearthfire Grill, while in Everett, Anthony’s and Anthony’s Woodfire Grill are also close.
The two cities are similar in other ways too, Lonergan-Dreke said. “Both are tight knit communities that are not saturated with restaurants in the way Seattle and some of the suburbs are,” she reflected. “We love our location on the water in Bellingham, because it’s a destination spot. And we know the city of Bellingham has fantastic amenities, a vibrant community and lots of festivals, which make it attractive to visitors from Vancouver and Seattle.”
The Bellingham location seats 225, and that’s without the large marina-view patios, which will boast a gas firepit by the time next summer rolls around. The Bellingham Lombardi’s also has a private dining room seating up to 70, “perfect for birthday parties, retirement dinners and corporate events,” said Lonergan-Dreke.
Before opening in early October the Lombardi’s team gutted the kitchen, put in a new bar top, replaced half the equipment, improved the flooring and private dining room and opened up the lobby so that it connects visually with the rest of the restaurant.
Signature dishes at Lombardi’s include the chicken marsala, chicken breast medallions in a mushroom marsala wine sauce ($14 for lunch, $22 for dinner), the tortellini gorgonzola, a pasta dish where cheese tortellini are topped with gorgonzola cream sauce, walnuts and basil (lunch $14, dinner $22), and the Sicilian lamb meatballs, house-made meatballs serviced with a sauce of caramelized onions, figs and pomegranate ($22). Be sure to try the bruschetta sampler ($12), where toasted bruschetta is served with a choice of delicious toppings including my personal favorite, the fig and raisin compote. All entrees come with bread served with olive oil and roasted garlic cloves.
Early next year Lonergan-Dreke said she hopes to begin Club W in Bellingham. The “W” stands for wine, women and Wednesdays, and is a monthly four-course meal of small bites coupled with wine pours and a speaker that has been successful in Everett. The wine focus is emphatically on Washington State, she added. “We’re very protective and supportive of the Washington wine industry and we truly believe Washington wines are premier.”
Lombardi’s, located at 21 Bellwether Way, is open daily 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. for lunch and from 3:00 p.m. for dinner. Info: lombardisitalian.com