When a new, local and walkable business moves into a small neighborhood most people in the community get excited about it. It’s especially joyful when that new small business is a place where neighbors can congregate for food, drinks and socializing.
Of course, there’s not much social gathering happening these days due to the COVID-19 pandemic which makes this story about the opening of RidgeWood Bottle & Tap all the more interesting.
The new home for RidgeWood is in the space next to Red Mill Burgers, formerly occupied by Starbucks. Owners Stuart and Robin planned to have their doors open in mid-March which was inevitably delayed by Washington State’s stay at home order.
Stressful times indeed, however determined to move forward they didn’t let the unexpected challenges stop them in their tracks. Stuart and Robin’s “one foot in front of the other” attitude provides an uplifting sentiment that makes the unknown more palatable if not inspirational.
Stuart, taking a positive look at the crisis, puts it this way: “The extra time has given us the opportunity to work out the details that frankly, we would have missed if we tried to do a grand opening back in March.” They also feel fortunate that their landlord, Red Mill Burgers, (who owns the building), views the two businesses as “in it together” – both looking out to do what’s best for their businesses and the community.
With perseverance and a “rolling with the changes” attitude, RidgeWood opened their street front garage door in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, on Cinco de Mayo at noon! Implementing social distancing markers combined with plenty of parking, they were ready to safely open their door to online pick up orders and walk-ups.
Since May 5th they’ve steadily sold yummy beer and thirst-quenching cider to customers. Robin says they’ve received a positive response and the neighbors are excited about RidgeWood’s presence in Phinney. Even during the build out they could count on seeing friendly faces curiously looking through their windows checking in on the construction progress. It felt great to see folks literally following along with their growth and even stop for a moment to introduce themselves. “We feel like we have become part of a community that is cheering us on”, Robin says.
An online shopping presence wasn’t in the initial plan for RidgeWood. The original vision aimed to make it a neighborhood gathering place to host families, friends and neighbors. A lively, indoor and outdoor environment where everyone is encouraged to bring outside food into the taproom and to pair up with cold brews. Stuart and Robin’s vision of a community gathering spot is still very much part of the plan. They’re also looking at additional ideas that will help their business thrive and contribute to the well being of the community.
Who are Stuart and Robin?
Both are kids from the neighborhood who loved the community so much that it’s a dream come true to open a neighborhood joint in Phinney Ridge. Stop by RidgeWood’s garage door on your next trip outside and say hello. They love to talk and want to get to know you too!
As for the brews? You can rely on a wide variety of fresh tastes and always something new to try.
*Salmon Bay Community Lending is not affiliated with Ridgewood Bottle & Tap.