If you love your soups and salads you’ll want to visit Mix, a new restaurant that opened October 10, 2018 at 215 W. Holly Street in downtown Bellingham.
Serving build-your-own-salads, (also available as a Mixwich – i.e. in a flatbread wrap) protein topping options (tofu, chicken, steak, falafel or bacon ), soups and frozen custard desserts, Mix focuses on healthy fare that leaves you feeling light, sprightly and pleasantly sated.
Owner Helen Neville was supposed to be taking time off after a lengthy career in the grocery business when she conceived of the idea. The tenacious 48-year-old had been commuting between Seattle, where she worked at Metropolitan Market, and Bellingham, where her family lives, on a daily basis until April 2017. That’s when the traffic situation went from difficult to impossible and she needed a time out.
After 25 years in the grocery business, including stints at Haggen where she was vice president of marketing, Neville opted to take a breather from work, exercise and reevaluate what she wanted. As she searched for restaurants in Bellingham she realized she couldn’t find anywhere she wanted to eat.
“I felt like there needed to be more options for healthy eating in the city,” she reflected. “Specifically, a restaurant that placed a premium on good, clean food, affordability and time efficiency.”
Neville did extensive research on how to combine the three and called on the vendors she knew from the grocery business, like Seattle-based Dreamland (makers of the falafel and flatbread), Anacortes-based Lopez Island Creamery (which supplies her frozen custard) and Bellingham-based Cauldron (broth makers). Ian Thompson, who previously worked in food service at Metropolitan Market, became Mix’s executive chef and another Seattle colleague, Megan Murray, moved to Bellingham to be the restaurant’s general manager.
Walk inside and you’ll notice Mix is a fun, bright place where vegetables and fruit are center stage. There are silver pails filled with fresh greens and visible displays of fruit. The salads are available in small ($6) or regular ($11) portions and there are innovative combinations that whet your appetite. We tried the Marrakesh, where greens are mixed with spiced chickpeas, pickled carrots, feta, cucumber, tangerine, red grapes, cashews and a tahini dressing. A $2 topping of falafel and the bowl was ready in minutes, a filling, healthy meal that delivered everything it promised. Our second selection, the Fall Harvest, is a definite crowd pleaser, with quinoa, roasted beets, apples, Whatcom Blue cheese, candied walnuts, chia seeds and vinaigrette. The fried tofu addition moved the salad firmly from appetizer to entrée.
Other salad selections include Kale Caesar, Whatcom Cobb, the Thai bowl (red cabbage, sprouts, fried noodles, peanuts and a mint tamarind dressing) and Nacho Libre, with black beans, tortilla chips, chicharrones, jalapenos and pico de gallo. Mix menues hot broth bowls for the same price as its soups and the three selections, tomato shakshuka, chicken verde pozole and boat noodle beef, are available daily. And there’s a kids’ menu that uses the same ingredients but in a slightly more kid-friendly format. Choose from the bento bowl, rice bowl, kiddy ‘pho’, quesadilla, nachos or fruit and nuts.
Neville is super excited about her Lopez Island Creamery frozen custard, a dish unique to her restaurant. “It’s a silky custard dessert with a velvety texture, richer than ice cream,” she said. A dessert reminiscent of the East Coast Jersey shore where she visited family as a child, the frozen custard comes with topping options including pistachio cardamom crumble, cocoa nibs, five-spiced candied cashews and seasonal fruit.
Don’t even think of ordering Coke or Pepsi at this restaurant. Drinks include Rishi sparkling botanicals, sweet lemonade and three beers on tap (Wander Brewing).
Look up the word ‘go-getter’ and Neville fits the description to a tee. Her second location of Mix will open in Barkley Village in November, and she’s all ready planning a third restaurant on State Street for January. After all, why stop at one? A great location for a quick, healthy, inexpensive lunch or dinner, Mix is an awesome addition to Bellingham’s restaurant scene. Stop by between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. daily or check out the menu online at mixrestaurants.com.