If you’re thinking about stopping by The Public House of Yakima for a beer, you should probably plan to wait a few.
Owner Jim Williams and his staff of five have barely been keeping up with demand since the Northwest-inspired beer-and-food hangout opened Feb. 12 at 5703 Tieton Drive.
“It’s been pretty nuts,” said Williams, who has turned the former antique store into a family-friendly community gathering place since he bought the property last summer.
“People are really liking it, but we’ve had to turn them away some days because there’s just nowhere for them to go,” he added. “There wasn’t even anywhere to stand last weekend.”
Capacity is only 49 people inside, with 11 bar stools and seven large, rectangular tables. All of them but one are bar height, so customers can stand or sit. The kitchen is not meant to handle restaurant-style crowds, but the customer response thus far has been positive.
“The flatbreads and pretzels have been selling like crazy,” Williams said. “We can’t keep them in stock.”
It only makes sense that The Public House would catch on so quickly in West Valley. Few bars and restaurants west of 40th Avenue carry anything close to the variety being offered there, making it a welcome addition to the neighborhood for many.
With 40 tap handles and a small prepared food menu, The Public House is already standing out after only two weeks.
The pizzas, charcuterie boards and salads have also been popular in the early going, but the real focus of this business is beer. Not just any beer — local beer.
Williams has tried to carve out space on the tap line for as many local breweries as he can, saying the best-sellers so far have been from Varietal Brewing Co. (Sunnyside), Single Hill Brewing (Yakima) and Wandering Hop (Yakima).
“Our customers just can’t get enough of these local brews,” he said. “So we’re going to keep bringing in as many different kinds as we can.”
The Public House’s 37 beer handles (two are for wine and one is for nitro coffee) already ranks near the top of the list in greater Yakima for its beer selection.
Williams has thought for years that West Valley residents needed a place just like this. Now they have one.
“It’s been a lot of fun to see it come to fruition,” the former educator and apple farmer said. “It’s been everything I envisioned and more — a lot more.”
Standing-room-only has been the norm during the first two weeks, and that will likely continue into the spring and summer, especially on the weekends. Once the weather warms up, Williams plans to open up the fenced patio area. He also has long-term plans to turn the back forty into an outdoor hangout spot.
But for now, the number of people dropping by every day — even with this month’s severe weather — has kept Williams and his staff plenty busy.
“We’re pushing capacity, but that’s a good problem to have, I guess,” he said. “We just want to make sure people are happy, and they will help sell it for us.”
The Public House of Yakima is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 to 10 on Friday and Saturday, and 11 to 7 on Sunday.