Restaurant Spotlight: Graze

Graze, offering a simple but delicious menu of sandwiches, salads, and soups to Walla Walla for the last five years, strives to serve “fresh, wholesome, seasonal, and honest food.


A Family Project

The creators of Graze, husband and wife John and Becca Lastoskie, met while they were both working in a restaurant in Sacramento, California. Though neither were trained chefs, it was always their dream to open a restaurant of their own. “The restaurant business is hard, you’ve either got the disposition for it or you don’t. And we love it,” Becca told me.

About ten years ago, they decided to go for it. They quit their jobs, sold their house, and packed their van with their dog and young son, to move “somewhere we could start a business and make it.” They considered Portland and Bend before finally (and luckily for us!) settling on Walla Walla because of its burgeoning wine industry and relatively low cost of living. In 2006, they opened Graze Catering. Serving food at everything from backyard BBQs to weddings to big events at many of the town’s wineries, they made Walla Walla their home.

In 2009, the catering business was struggling, and John and Becca were considering closing it down. Their second child, a daughter, was born premature and they were spending all of their time at the hospital, not quite making ends meet. Instead, after two years of serving sandwiches and other lunch food on the weekends at a stand at the Farmers Market, they decided to open a restaurant. This was the beginning of Graze, ‘a place to eat,’ located on Colville Street a few blocks away from our Inns at Historic Downtown.

“It was a rough time, really rough. But we decided to push through and open the sandwich shop, and everything has just gotten better and better since then.” Now, every January (their daughter’s birth month) John and Becca fundraise for the Ron McDonald House where they once spent so much time by donating 10% of the proceeds of their very successful business.

Delicious Success!

So why serve lunch? “It was less intimidating!” Becca laughed. “And we didn’t want to work nights.” Now Graze is always busy, open for lunch and dinner and serving a wide selection of fresh, healthy, and tasty sandwiches, paninis, salads, and soups. The atmosphere is casual and familial, with great music on the record player and a large shady patio for outdoor diners during hot Walla Walla summers.

Veggie torta

Becca recommends the veggie torta sandwich–yummm.

Sandwiches at Graze

Along with delicious sandwiches, Graze serves fresh salads and delectable soups.

My favorite thing to order at Graze is the turkey pear panini—it is my definite go-to. When I asked Becca the same question, she answered immediately, “The veggie torta!” She also recommended the turkey bacon panini (“our most popular, by far”) and the roasted pear salad with blue cheese dressing. “I would encourage visitors to come order something interesting or unusual, something they wouldn’t get at your average sandwich place,” she added. “Branch out! Everything we serve is good.

The success of Graze has led to even more incarnations of the business. In 2012, John and Becca decided to put their catering kitchen, on 9th St., to further use by opening a drive-thru where they could serve their own version of fast food—Graze’s gourmet sandwiches—through the window. Standing amid all of the traditional fast food places—McDonalds, Taco Bell, etc.—it is quick, convenient, and my favorite place to stop for a full, healthy meal on my way out of town. “It was John’s idea, I thought it was crazy! It was slow at first, but now it’s going great,” Becca said of the drive-thru. And just this year, in 2014, John and Becca opened up a second restaurant in Kennewick, to bring their cuisine to the Tri-Cities.

Graze: A Drive Thru

If you’re looking for a quick alternative to fast food, check out Graze’s drive-thru on 9th!

We are so glad that they chose to make their home in Walla Walla and bring such dependable, delicious food to the local residents as well as all of our visitors. Next time you’re in town, swing by for takeout, a peaceful patio lunch, or a fun family dinner. Graze won’t disappoint.

Walla Walla Sandwich Shop

Phone: 509.522.9991

Hours: Daily: 10am-7:30pm & Sunday, 10am-3:30pm”

Address: 5 South Colville Street Walla Walla, WA 99362

Walla Walla Drive Thru:

Phone: 509.540.1261

Hours: Daily: 10am-7:30pm & Sunday, 10am-3:30pm”

Address: 213 S 9th Ave, Walla Walla, WA 99362

Kennewick Sandwich Shop

Phone: 509.221.1020

Hours: Daily: 10am-7:30pm & Sunday, 10am-3:30pm

Address: 8530 West Gage Blvd. Kennewick, WA 99336

Restaurant Spotlight: T. Maccarone’s

Visitors to Walla Walla wine country: Are you looking for fine dining with a local flair? Wondering what might be a good restaurant for a date, family gathering, or special occasion during your stay at Walla Faces? A few blocks away from our downtown inns is T. Maccarone’s, a self-described “modern Washington wine country bistro influenced by classic Italian sensibilities,” perfect for all these occasions and more.

I had the chance recently to sit down with owner and general manager Tom Maccarone in his beautiful blue and grey dining room. Born and raised here in Walla Walla, Tom opened the restaurant in 2005. He moved away to Seattle for years, working for Nordstrom’s and Eddie Bauer, before returning to his hometown and pursuing his true passion in the restaurant business.

The Food

From at big Italian family, Tom says that the restaurant initially served a lot of his own grandmother’s recipes and more traditional Italian food, but that the menu has changed and grown as he’s brought on new chefs and grown the business. These days, Tom says head chef Gerry Mezza is whipping up new delicacies all the time. “Yes, we have bolognese, tagliatelle, and we use gnocchi, but we have a lot of things that we play with curry, and have a lot of Asian-inspired food. So, you know, you have to stay relevant in the business, you have to stay on top of things, stay a step above what everyone is doing.”

Since we were already on the topic of the menu, I asked Tom about his favorite thing to order.

At first he just laughed. “Ohh, that’s tough. Probably my go to is the bolognese. It’s been on the menu for five, seven years… there are certain things that we just cannot change or take off the menu. For something lighter, not so filling, the halibut is just drop dead. For a mix, there’s the Land and Sea—it’s two beautiful lamb chops and two seared scallops. But there is nothing on the menu that I wouldn’t order!” I would have to agree—everything I’ve tried so far at T. Maccarone’s has exceeded my expectations, from the fresh, tangy pear and arugula salad to the rich and creamy lamb gnocchi.

It’s A Local Thing

T. Maccarone’s strives to serve “everything local we can get,” including everything from meat to eggs to herbs to, of course, wine. But the business is a love letter to Walla Walla in more ways than just its menu.

“I have a huge local following, ‘cause I was born and raised here,” Tom explained, rattling off a long list of friends, relatives, schoolmates, teachers, and other relations who regularly visit the restaurant. “It’s endless!”

“I’m really the only person that has this caliber of a restaurant in Walla Walla who was born and raised here… It’s an old community, it’s an old town, so the heritage here is strong and long.

Tom reflects that the familial feel of T. Maccarone’s is one of the things he tries hardest to create in his day-to-day work as the face of the restaurant. Even if customers are from out-of-town, he hopes to include them in the community when they visit T. Mac’s.

“My whole philosophy with this business is that I want people to feel at home here, I want them to feel comfortable, I want them to feel like they’re at my house having dinner. So the experience is me coming over to them, saying hello, asking them where they’re from, talking to them, making them feel welcome.”

T. Maccarone's dining room

T. Maccarone’s dining room

Owner and general manager Tom Maccarone

Owner and general manager Tom Maccarone

The chefs, waiters, and staff all come together at T. Maccarone’s to make Tom’s vision come to life.  The fresh, local food that is simultaneously classic and new, along with the modern and comfortable space and friendly faces, make this one of my favorite places in town to “go out.”

“Good food, good wine, good friends, and good atmosphere equals success to me,” Tom told me, looking around the room with a smile. We think so too!

T. Maccarone’s is located at 4 N. Colville Street, Walla Walla WA 99362, and is open daily 11:30-9pm for lunch and dinner. Call them at (509) 522-4776, or visit them online at

Restaurant Spotlight: Green Spoon

Take a short walk from the Walla Faces downtown tasting room down Main Street, and you’ll soon find a unique little restaurant decked out with stylish modern furniture, funky artwork and splashes of bright green. This is Green Spoon, a local restaurant that has, over the course of six years, worked its way into the heart of Walla Walla. Along with their stylish interior decoration, Green Spoon’s notable for its tasty New American cuisine!  We thought we’d show our love and support by letting you in on one of our favorite places to eat on Main Street.

Green Spoon wasn’t always the contemporary restaurant it is today. Owner and manager Katie Gonzalez originally opened Someone’s in the Kitchen to teach cooking classes, but as the venture expanded, the focus shifted to being a full time restaurant, with a menu that presents soups, salads and burgers in an upscale take on classic American diner cuisine. Although Katie’s background is in marketing, she launched into the planning of the menu with zeal and originality. She recently let me in on her process, saying, “I always know what I want the finished product to be, but we work a lot on trial and error by trying recipes until we arrive at that taste that’s just right.”

Although Green Spoon has seen a number of changes in its six-year life, including a name change, a relocation and changes in management, today, dining at the restaurant is nothing but smooth sailing. What’s more, Katie is still cooking up new additions to the menu. Lately, she and her team have been working on a Green Spoon take on a Juicy Lucy–a hamburger stuffed with cheese. The Green Spoon Juicy Lucy is dressed up with guacamole, Tapatío hot sauce, Pepper Jack cheese and jalapeños. Yum! Once the Juicy Lucy is refined, Katie and her team are planning to present a different iteration each week until they settle on a permanent rendition for the menu.

There’s more in the works for Green Spoon, too. The restaurant already pours Walla Faces wine for guests to enjoy with their meals, but with the new year, Katie is planning to add a full-service bar to the restaurant! The restaurant will begin by serving draft beers from area brewers and hopes to broaden into spirits shortly.

One of Katie’s favorite things about owning Green Spoon is “all the friends I’ve made through the restaurant. We’ve been here just long enough to see some people start dating, get married, become pregnant, and then the baby is eating with her parents at the restaurant.” Green Spoon’s warm atmosphere is the perfect place for a first date, a proposal, to take the kids, or all your friends; the eclectic and delicious menu is sure to please even the most picky eater.

Located at 13 E Main St., Green Spoon is open for lunch Monday-Saturday 11-3 and for dinner Thursday-Saturday 5-9. They also deliver until 8pm.  Give them a call at 509-876-2583.

A special note for our guests: Green Spoon will deliver to the Walla Faces Inns, at either the Downtown location or the Vineyard–perfect for a dinner around the pool!

Restaurant Spotlight: Saffron Mediterranean Kitchen

The first time I walked into Saffron Mediterranean Kitchen, it was a complete accident. As I walked down Alder Street, I saw one small restaurant that was bustling with activity, a sharp contrast with the quiet street around me. “If that many people are in there on a weekday, it must be pretty good,” I thought. As it turned out, that was a dramatic understatement. (Although it’s tough to get a seat at Saffron without a reservation, I lucked out and got a seat at the bar.) Saffron is one of the most flavorful, unique, and high quality restaurants in the Walla Walla Valley. My love of their constantly changing menu is only matched by my passion for their lamb tartar.

I sat down with chef and owner Chris Ainsworth to talk about this Walla Walla treasure.


“I’ve always loved to cook [Mediterranean] food… the style and the flavor,” Ainsworth asserted. To keep the flavors authentic, Ainsworth says, “I read a lot, eat out a lot, and travel as much as I can.” Ainsworth and his wife, Island, take an annual research-intensive vacation centered around culinary discoveries. They use these trips to inspire their menu. For example, their popular Turkish flatbread, the lahmacun, was inspired by one of their annual trips. “We ate a few of ’em when we were in Turkey and we loved them,” Ainsworth said. “What we do in Turkey is eat and eat and eat, and we get inspiration from that.” The gozleme, another popular menu item, was also influenced by their annual trip.

Other dishes start as Walla Walla-based experiments before Ainsworth is able to go out and taste the real thing. He says the first time he tastes a dish in the native country, it’s a relief to be able to say, “‘Oh, wow, cool, I was totally doing that right!'” People also come from the regions; “they’ll see a specialized dish and they love it” Ainsworth laughs.

The menu changes “as often as daily or as little as monthly”. A few things, though, stay the same consistently. The house salad and the hanger steak are permanent fixtures, for example. “Some people come in and that’s all they order,” the chef observed.

Saffron takes pains to ensure their food is as fresh as possible. “We order mostly locally… as much as I can!” Ainsworth says. “We use Washington and Oregon beef and Blue Valley Meats”. In the winter, Ainsworth collects butternut squash from a local farmer, who grows the gourds in his cellar. “We’re always seasonal,” he adds. Saffron’s fresh, homemade bread also comes from nearby: their kitchen contains two sourdough starters, including one that Ainsworth made himself and an eighty-four-year-old starter that he adopted. “The one I birthed myself is just a baby, only six years old,” he said.

This attention to freshness, authenticity, and flavor profiles has gained national recognition. Ainsworth has been nominated as the James Beard Award Best Chef in the Northwest, every year for the last five years, constituting five out of the six years that Saffron has been open.

The small, cozy environment makes Saffron feel comfortable and inviting and the stellar service complements the spectacular food perfectly. “We’re geared towards whatever your mood is,” Ainsworth says, “whether that is a flatbread and a beer or a multicourse meal.”

Saffron Mediterranean Kitchen is located at 125 West Alder Street and is open Tuesday through Sunday from 2-9pm.

Restaurant Spotlight: The Colville Street Patisserie

Walking into the Colville Street Patisserie is a dizzying experience. The display case boasts of a rainbow of fresh gelatos, ranging from mint to a tart, refreshing rhubarb. Their list of handmade sodas, luxurious hot chocolates, and perfect espressos adorn the drink menu. The pastry shelf has vanilla bean eclairs, buttery croissants, and chocolate mousse cakes.


Pastry chef Matthew Zack opened the Patisserie in 2005. Owners Tiffany Cain and David Christensen purchased the French bakery in 2008. Before that, Cain had owned the Weinhard Cafe in Dayton for ten years. Christensen had been the sous chef and pastry chef at the Whitehouse-Crawford. When Zack first trained Christensen, the two owners had no idea what would come next. “We never imagined we would buy it, but we were really passionate about French pastry,” Cain recalls. “We have added to it, made our own gelatos and homemade sodas. We’ve been having fun and learning as we go.”

Since they took the helm, Cain and Christensen have added even more diversity and uniqueness to their dessert menu. “We experimented around and added new flavors… the latest was the banana caramel.” Cain estimates that the Patisserie will offer a brand new recipe at least every other week. Right now, the tarragon chocolate cake is the newcomer in the display case.

The Walla Walla agricultural opportunities have ensured that the Patisserie desserts are as fresh as possible. Cain smiles, observing, “We try to get [our ingredients] as local as we can”. Indeed, the Patisserie has employed some unique methods of getting local ingredients. Last year, they did a “call out” for local farmers to send them rhubarb.

In addition, they are stocked by Welcome Table Farm, an organic farm. Welcome Table is horse-only, meaning draft horses, not tractors, do all the work. Pure Eire Dairy, a local dairy with all-grass-fed cows, provides the milk for the gelato. In addition, Cain and Christensen frequent the Walla Walla Farmer’s Market. “That really determines what we are making,” Cain adds.

The Patisserie also features local artists on the walls. “If I like it, I display it,” Cain states. “I feel like this is my living room.” If only all of our living rooms came stocked with gelato.

The Colville Street Patisserie is located at 40 South Colville Street and is open Monday-Thursday from 9am-8pm, Friday-Saturday 9am-10pm, and Sunday 9am-5pm.

Restaurant Spotlight: Brasserie Four

“Do I owe you a recipe?” Hannah MacDonald, the owner of Brasserie Four, asks, smiling widely.

Last winter, I had been so enamored with Brasserie Four’s duck cassoulet that I begged for the recipe when the menu changed. A chef came out and chatted with me, giving the numerous, complicated steps. The three day process, involving duck confit, homemade sausage, and exquisite beans, proved far too time consuming and difficult for my meager cooking skills. Alas, I will have to wait for it to come back on the menu.

Brasserie Four, Walla Walla

Hannah MacDonald, Owner

“Actually, I’ve already got it,” I say, laughing.

In France, a brasserie is an informal, upscale restaurant that traditionally serves the same menu all day. “It’s like a step up from a cafe, but equally casual,” Hannah noted. In keeping with that theme, Brasserie Four is open for both lunch and dinner, serving the same menu at both times. This taste of Paris, located right on Main Street, is Hannah’s way of bringing a little bit of France back to eastern Washington. The simple, classic flavors are both spectacular and perfectly meshed with classic French cuisine.

Hannah MacDonald herself is originally from Walla Walla, but she moved to Paris for her first year of college. She lived with a French family full of extraordinary cooks, who helped her develop her love of food. She then made her way back to the states, where she graduated from Western Culinary Institute in Portland, OR. She moved back to Walla Walla in 2004 and opened Brasserie Four in 2008.

Brasserie Four, Walla Walla

The Brasserie Four kitchen in action

Hannah says that she is inspired by the bounty of local agriculture in the Walla Walla area, allowing her to offer food that is both “responsibly sourced and responsibly priced”. Herbs, greens and edible flowers are provided by a local farm that produces exclusively for the restraunt. They also get produce from Edwards Farms and ‘Vince, the Pickle Guy’. “I try to use everything that is brought to me,” Hannah observes. “[Farmers] bring me something and I try to make something delicious out of it.” Brasserie Four maintains the same ethical standards for its proteins, using Blue Valley Meats, serving only Washington-grown, grain-fed steak, getting seafood from Penn Cove, and cooking shellfish exclusively from the Puget Sound. These practices are evident in the taste of the food, which allows the flavors to shine through in simple, clean, beautiful ways.

Although Brasserie Four is certainly a sophisticated restaurant, the employees make a specific effort to be family-friendly, from their art shows that go to benefit local preschools to their “Kid’s Corner”, a spot perfect for young ones to play around without disturbing other patrons. The Kid’s Corner is so popular, many parents explicitly ask to be seated at Table 3 so they can be placed right next to it. Everything on the menu can be ordered in a kid-sized portion for half the price. “It’s about half the size… usually more than half,” Hannah chuckled. “I want to give people the opportunity to eat well with their families, without [resorting to] normal kid food.”

Brasserie Four Walla Walla

The Dining Room and Bar

Brasserie Four has struck the perfect balance, allowing it to function beautifully both as a family restaurant and as a refined date-night restaurant. It’s one of Walla Walla’s culinary gems. And, if you see the duck cassoulet on the menu, I promise that it is delicious.

Brasserie Four is located at 4 East Main St. They are open Tuesday through Saturday from 12:00-10:00pm.

Restaurant Spotlight: Bacon and Eggs

Bacon and Eggs Walla WallaThe name says it all: Bacon & Eggs is all about breakfast—with a twist.

An eclectic menu with items inspired by years of travel makes its home in a renovated Jackpot gas station on East Main St. The original walk-in refrigerator is stocked with everything from pineapples to bottles of bubbly, its glass panes frosted, allowing customers to catch a glimpse of staff members walking back and forth between it and the kitchen.

This afternoon, I met up with owner Michelle Adams for a chat about the story behind Bacon & Eggs and the restaurant’s strong support of the local community. Bacon & Eggs is a locavore operation, dedicated to using as many local products and ingredients as possible.

“The Walla Walla valley has so many incredible local things that I feel are almost untapped. If you hop on for the ride, it’s kind of amazing.”

Adams and her partner Michelle Giannunzio moved to Walla Walla from Seattle. They first visited the area in 2006 on a weekend wine tasting trip, and, like many of the small town’s transplants (myself included), instantly fell in love.

Bacon and Eggs KitchenAccording to Adams, opening a restaurant in Walla Walla was “intuitive.” Giannunzio has been whipping up delicious dishes in the kitchen for 25 years, and Adams has worked in the restaurant business for 15.

“We wrote a list down while we were clear-headed of the things that we had to have. And she and I both took, from all of the restaurants we’ve worked in, our top 10 favorite things and our top 10 least favorite things.”

After the move, the two did their fair share of market research before opening the restaurant in December of 2011.

“We spent two years learning the clientele. I worked at T. Macarones and [Giannunzio] was at Brasserie 4. It was actually, for us, in hindsight, the best thing we could have ever done. We spent two years getting to know the people we were about to serve.”

Every aspect of the Bacon & Eggs, from the friendly waitstaff, to the large open window into the kitchen, to the steaming mugs of Stumptown Coffee, fosters the same sense of community on which the restaurant thrives.

“We want you to really see where your food is coming from. It’s a relationship that we really like.”

Bacon and Eggs Walla WallaThe couple’s commitment to hospitality and many of Bacon & Eggs’ gourmet menu items have roots in Mexico, through which Adams and Giannunzio have extensively traveled. Signature dishes include the migas (a scramble of chiles, tortilla and pico de gallo), huevos con chorizo, and an authentic huevos rancheros.

“We love a little spice in things, or a little something unexpected.”

And for an extra kick, add a dash of hot sauce to your meal (there’s a wide selection available on the rack next to the kitchen) or complement it with a breakfast cocktail.

“Try a Bloody Mary or some nice spicy tequila with a chorizo scramble. It really is a good pairing.”

Bacon & Eggs is located at 503 E. Main St. and is open Thursday through Tuesday, 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Restaurant Spotlight: Maple Counter Cafe

There’s one question our guests seem to be asking lately: Where’s a good place to go for breakfast? Lucky for visitors and locals alike, Walla Walla offers a host of delicious dining options.

One of my favorite local breakfast spots is Maple Counter Café, a homey restaurant housed in a renovated transmission shop in downtown Walla Walla. You’ll be able to spot it easily—just look for the crowd of hungry customers that tends to gather outside its heavy wooden doors on Alder St.

Everything about Maple Counter is warm and inviting—from the French country-style décor, to the friendly waitstaff, to the endless coffee served with heavy cream.

I sat down this morning for a chat with owner Kory Nagler who let me in on the secret behind Maple Counter’s success: a long family tradition of outstanding service complemented by classic recipes.

Maple Counter Cafe Walla Walla

Kory and Rachel

Originally from Sequim, Washington, Kory and his wife Rachel opened the restaurant in November of 2011 after moving to Walla Walla in February of the same year.

“We fell in love, got married and decided we wanted to open a restaurant—actually I had always known that I was likely going to open a restaurant.”

Kory comes from a long line of restaurateurs—his grandparents ran a breakfast restaurant in Chicago, Illinois and his parents own the Oak Table Café in Sequim, which they opened right before Kory was born.

Maple Counter Café is part of this evolving tradition.

“That’s where the name comes from. We wanted to be different but we also wanted to be sure to pay homage in our own cute way because what we’re doing here really draws so much from the family tradition.”

Menu staples like the buttermilk pancakes, 49er flapjacks and crêpes get their fluffiness thanks to a sourdough starter

from the original family restaurant in Chicago. The style of the food and the techniques used to prepare it—thick-cut bacon, basted eggs, French-baked omelets—have been passed down as well.

But the Nagler family tradition is present in more than Maple Counter’s mouth-watering recipes and down-home cooking style.

“The secrets to hospitality, good food and all that stuff were just bred into me as a kid—it was all around me. The food is a complement to the service and to the warm feeling you want to get when you’re going out.”

And if you’ve already eaten at Maple Counter, chances are Kory’s literally had a hand in your food, working the line alongside the other chefs.

“I’m here every day.”

Maple Counter Walla Walla

Kory at work in the kitchen

He and Rachel help to foster the infectious, welcoming energy that fills the air in time with the telltale train whistle—a gift from Kory’s parents that announces the arrival of another sumptuous apple pancake and embarrasses customers on their birthdays.

At the end of our chat, Kory and I discussed some of our favorite dishes. I almost always get the quiche: rich, fluffy and whose ingredients change with what’s in season—right now it features Walla Walla sweet onions.

And what was Kory craving this morning?

“There’s sweet and there’s savory for breakfast. Today, I would say 49er flapjacks and bacon—it’s a little bit of both.”

Maple Counter Café located at 209 E. Alder St. and is open Tuesday through Sunday, 7 a.m. – 3 p.m.