A new gastropub now sits on the corner of 12th Avenue and Hudson Street, thanks to efforts from a former executive chef and caterer who recently moved to Longview to realize her dream of opening a restaurant.
Michelle Kruse, head chef at the newly opened The Lemon Drop, said their Friday the 13th opening date was a good sign.
“We needed the luck,” Kruse said.
Kruse went to culinary school in San Francisco, then worked as a private chef, caterer and restaurant cook in The Golden City for about five years, and another roughly 20 years in Colorado and Southern California, before moving to Longview.
For the last two years in Longview, she offered catering and personal chef services under the name The Lemon Drop, and attended events like local farmers markets and Squirrel Fest before opening a brick-and-mortar in the spring.
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“We needed some sunshine in our lives,” Kruse said. “We needed something that’s bright and inviting, like yellow, like lemon drops.”
The Lemon Drop gastropub opened May 13, with a menu that often changes as Kruse comes up with new ideas. Kruse said she wants to provide high-quality but affordable meals, and tries to prioritize fresh and local ingredients from nearby farmers markets.
Lemon Drop is a 21-and-older space, where patrons can order one of the several cocktails, draft beers or local wines. Speciality drinks include an absinth, St-Germain and pineapple juice cocktail called the fairy godmother and, of course, lemon drops. Kruse said staff make their own infused vodkas, in flavors like lemon and watermelon, as well as homemade syrups that “help take cocktails to the next level.”
On the menu customers have options ranging from short rib paninis, vegan Caesar salads to a charcuterie appetizer. Past specials have included black cod and a spinach salad with blue cheese, roasted mushrooms, marcona almonds and sherry shallot vinaigrette. Eating at The Lemon Drop ranges in cost from around $15 to $30.
The new restaurant is placed in the warehouse-style space on 12th Avenue. Kruse said she liked how many windows there were, making it feel like an open and welcome space. Kruse said she wanted to decorate in a more rustic way, though bright yellow furniture accents the industrial approach.
“Our mission is to just provide an experience for locals and for travelers that are passing through, or looking for a destination, to have an experience that they’ll remember or want to share or want to come back for,” Kruse said. “And so that is great cocktails, and it’s great food and it’s great atmosphere and great music and, you know, just a great vibe.”
Kruse started offering lunch earlier this month, giving her an opportunity to add more lunch items and share plates. She has around 10 staff members, and plans to release a new menu in August.
“We just want to grow organically,” Kruse said.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include more information on speciality drinks and to clarify where Michelle Kruse has worked.
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