Have you seen what’s new in the Yakima Valley? If you haven’t visited in awhile, check out these exciting developments, from artistic light shows to new breweries, wineries and restaurants!
LIGHTING UP YAKIMA
The iconic Larson Building has some new lights! And not just ordinary lights; these festive, colorful and changeable lights wash over the building’s façade, giving the tallest building in Yakima a bright new look . Right now, the lights cover the entire eastern side of the tallest building in Yakima, and there are plans for the north side to be covered as well. Check out this video of its new look!
Speaking of lights, a new public art installation called “Bins of Light” is scheduled to appear in 2017 over the Lincoln Avenue underpass in Downtown Yakima. The colors on the glass bins will represent fruit grown in Yakima Valley, with yellow representing apricots, and red representing apples and cherries. The LED lights inside the glass bins will flicker, with a synchronized on-and-off rotation at night and when trains pass by, for a brilliant light show!
With over 75% of the nations hops grown in the Yakima Valley, is there any wonder that a few new breweries are opening? Berchman’s Brewery Tasting Room recently opened in the Downtown Yakima’s Historic District opera house at 25 North Front Street. Redifer Brewing Company will be opening in Downtown Yakima in early 2017. Their new location is at 123 East Yakima Avenue, in the historic 1910 Beaux Arts style S.O. Hawkes building. Cowiche Creek Brewing Company made their debut at the 2016 Fresh Hop Ale Festival. The brewery’s newly built taproom is located at 514 Thompson Road in Cowiche, WA. And Downtown Sunnyside will be the home for Varietal Beer Company, a new collaboration between some of the Yakima Valley’s most experienced brewers.
NEW SPOTS TO EAT
Crafted Gastropub and Catering will be opening a new restaurant at the former Barrel House Restaurant in the historic 1915 Building on 22 North First Street. The owners, Dan and Mollie Koommoo, previously ran restaurants at the Rosario Resort & Spa on Orcas Island. We’re excited to see what they will be offering at this new location!
The owner of one of the newest restaurants in Yakima, Cowiche Canyon Kitchen and Icehouse Bar, is planning a new eatery across the Plaza at the former Speakeasy property at 104 South Third Street. This will be a different dining experience from Cowiche Canyon Kitchen, and will feature a large outdoor dining area after the extensive remodel.
HopTown Wood Fired Pizza will be opening a full wood fired restaurant at the former Donald Fruit and Mercantile building. Many may also remember this as the location of the Piety Flats Winery in Wapato. They will offer hoptizers, salads, pizza and dessert. Expect an expanded outdoor area where families can enjoy this rural restaurant. Currently Hop Town Pizza is serving their specialty pizza, featuring a sprinkling of Yakima Valley hops, at Hop Nation Brewery in Downtown Yakima.
The Yakima Valley is Washington wine country, with acres and acres of vineyards and numerous wineries with more on the way. Here are a few of the new wineries to visit during Red Wine & Chocolate in February or Spring Barrel Tasting in late April. Mill Lane Winery, located west of the city of Yakima, is unique for its use of aronia berries in its red wine blends. They are offering an extensive selection of delicious handcrafted fruit wines. County Lane Tasting Room in in Prosser’s Vintners Village is the new home to two wineries, Smasne Cellars and 2Dor Winery. Purple Star Winery, located in Benton City, handpicks their grapes at optimal flavor to produce wines with softer tannins, retaining more varietal character. Recently their Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2013 received 91 points by Winespectator!
Looking forward, a downtown Yakima Central Plaza project is proposed, within view of the fabulously lit Larson Building and iconic Capitol Theatre. Slated to become the heart of the community, with gatherings such as farmers markets, concerts and other family friendly events, this tree lined square will offer a quiet respite in the center of the city for visitors and local families to enjoy Downtown Yakima. The Plaza is being funded mostly by private donations by local people wanting to build something special for generations to come.
As you drive down Yakima Avenue you will see the shell of what used to be the Nordstrom Building that is currently being renovated as a multiuse space. While tenants have not been confirmed, the design allows for a rooftop restaurant, stores on the ground level, offices on the second level and condominiums on the third level.
Downtown Yakima historic buildings are continuing to be renovated by removing a façade at 121 East Yakima Avenue, revealing the original 1900’s brick exteriors’ large windows. Pita Pit, Fro-Yo Frozen Yogurt and Royal Sports, offering sports apparel, will be occupying the ground floor. In 2017, an event center and meeting space is planned for the second floor, which overlooks Yakima Avenue and the Larson Building.
When you visit, consider staying at Yakima’s only boutique hotel, the Hotel Maison. This historic building was built in 1911 by the Masons to house their temple. The hotel has been lovingly and thoughtfully renovated to retain its architectural character with modern amenities. The ceremonial Lodge Hall on the sixth floor remains intact and replicates the throne room of King Solomon’s Temple. This space will soon be offered for dining, conference and private events and will retain its historic character and spectacular views of the Yakima Valley. The location is within walking distance of the Larson building, Capitol Theatre, wineries, restaurants and Downtown Yakima events.
These are just a few of the many developments in the Yakima Valley as we let our “light shine” and begin a new year of great expectation for our community! Hope to see you soon, and Happy New Year!