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Easy Joe’s remodel features retro style, simple fare
Eight years of running a stolid dinner establishment was about enough for North Bend restauranteur Derrek Schaubroeck.
Now, a major remodel and renovation later, Schaubroeck’s new restaurant, Easy Joe’s, brings a lighter touch, ushering the fun back into dinner.
In November, Schaubroeck and business partner Bart Smith completed a six-week, $100,000 remodel of the former Gaston’s that kicked out anything fussy or complicated from the surroundings and the menu.
“The emphasis is on ‘easy,’” Smith said. “The ‘Joe’ part is just ‘Joe Public.’ It’s for everybody.”
The menu changed from continental and Italian fare to “basic American comfort food,” ranging from burgers and fries to beef Stroganoff.
“It’s a very casual feel,” Schaubroeck said. “It’s not just heat-it-up food; we actually have a chef in the kitchen making everything. He’s doing comfort food with care.”
Schaubroeck said the results of the big change can already be felt in the business.
“It’s not so heavy-handed with the dark atmosphere and the dinner house feel,” he said. “It’s a much happier clientele.”
It’s more enjoyable place to work, too, he added.
Before, it was mostly about couples. Now, bigger groups and parties are booking tables.
“We remember simpler times,” Smith said. “We want to bring back a time when things were simpler, that baby boomers, on down, can relate to.”
“The food and the image here reflect that,” he added. “It suits the time and it suits the area.”
Aiming for a late 1960s or early ‘70s look, Smith opened up the ceilings, brought in German wallpaper, tablecloths from England and lamps from Costa Rica. Vintage photos show suburban scenes from circa four decades ago, and the decor includes high school photos of Smith, Schaubroeck and his wife Jessica, a co-owner. Other pictures show children playing in a backyard pool, or dressed up like the band KISS.
While the menu is aimed at families, Easy Joe’s lounge draws a younger crowd, especially on weekends. Schaubroeck said the sofa and chairs around the fireplace are a popular spot for people to hang out or have a bite.
• Easy Joe’s is located at 101 W. North Bend Way. Hours are 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekends. Happy hour is 4 to 6 p.m. daily. Call the restaurant at (425) 888-1803 or visit www.eatatjoes.com.