The Ruby Brink offers new take on dining
By Eric Ormseth, Reporter
The historic property has changed ownership multiple times in the past decade, previously housing multiple different restaurants and other assorted businesses. But according to its owners, the new business across from The Hardware Store — The Ruby Brink — is here to stay.
The Ruby Brink is a combination of a bar and butcher shop that recently opened for business in the heart of Vashon. Locally owned, the business seeks to become a public gathering place for the Vashon community, as well as an option for island dining.
“We serve lunch and dinner, but we don’t call ourselves a restaurant,” co-owner Lauren Garaventa said. “It’s more of a bar or a public house, so we’re open all day, every day. It’s casual enough that we don’t take reservations. It’s not a fine dining upscale restaurant; it’s a place for people to hang out, move around, and be comfortable.”
That idea of comfort is very close to the heart of The Ruby Brink. Since its inception, the business has been offering a new take on the traditional dining experience.
“We wanted to create a place where it felt very flexible in the way people dine; whether they get a snack, a drink, or a whole dinner — all of that feels very natural and normal,” co-owner Jake Heil said. “Naturally, that environment brings people together. Because you’re not isolated at tables, it’s very easy to feel like you can move and sit with friends that may have shown up unexpectedly.”
The Ruby Brink strives to separate itself from the competition by utilizing a technique called “whole animal butchery.” The business uses every edible part of the animals they butcher. In the conventional butchery process, many of these parts are discarded.
“There’s a lot of nutrients in the bones and waste of an animal, and it’s important to use all of them,” Garaventa said. “Getting a whole cow and using it to the best of my abilities is better for the environment, better for that cow, better for the farmer, and better for the people eating the food.”
The Ruby Brink took a considerable amount of time in getting ready to open for business. The building itself underwent a multiple-year renovation, completely changing the interior layout.
“This is a 100-year-old building, and we completely remodeled it,” Garaventa said. “We gutted it, and made it into what we wanted it to be. That in and of itself is a hard and expensive undertaking. That all goes into … making this space exactly what we want it to be. We weren’t going to settle for anything other than our vision, and that took extra time.”
In addition to a relaxed environment, the restaurant intends to focus on offering healthy, locally produced food that doesn’t put a hole in one’s wallet.
“There’s a lot of wonderful food projects opening that are, either because of environment or expense, not reachable by everyone, and don’t feel comfortable for everyone,” Heil said. “We were out to prove that there can be a farm-direct food establishment that feels casual enough [so] that no matter where you’re coming from, or who you are with, you can enjoy it.”
On Vashon, the origin of ingredients is often held to a high standard. Local products are popular among Vashon residents and businesses alike, and The Ruby Brink follows suit in much the same way.
“We are only getting citrus, garlic, and ginger not from local farmers right now, and we are moving towards getting those from farmers as well,” co-owner Rustle Bhein said. “Everything else is from farmers — our flowers, our grains, our coffee, our bread.”
Committed to the concept of locally sourced ingredients, The Ruby Brink aims to become a nexus point for the Vashon community. To achieve this, they aim to stay connected to and supportive of all of their ingredient suppliers.
“We really want to know who raised our food, where it was raised, how it was raised — and we want that person to make a living wage off what they are growing,” Garaventa said. “Since we are so committed to that, there are a lot of logistics that go into it, but that is what makes us stand out.”