La Cascina is a new taste for a familiar property

SNOQUALMIE - John Patterson never thought he would open a restaurant.
"People ask me all the time about opening restaurants and I tell them not to," he said.

SNOQUALMIE – John Patterson never thought he would open a restaurant.

“People ask me all the time about opening restaurants and I tell them not to,” he said.

Patterson has been eating his words the past few weeks as he’s been overseeing the grand opening of La Cascina, his new Italian restaurant that is the epicurean anchor of another new venture, the Snoqualmie Inn. With both, Patterson hopes to be hosting and feeding guests in the Valley for a long time.

Patterson has been involved with the food industry most of his working life, starting out at a Dairy Queen in high school and progressing to running other restaurants.

Four years ago, Patterson started the Woods Lake Winery in his hometown of Monroe. Wanting to expand into sales and have a retail outlet, Patterson looked for a home for the winery where it could possibly relocate as well. He was referred to the Old Honey Farm Inn in Snoqualmie, which had shut down. The inn had been home to the Wildflower Restaurant, which had also closed its doors.

Patterson liked what he saw at the inn and worked for seven months to secure a deal to buy the property.

“It’s a beautiful area,” he said.

He was not been a big fan, however, of the condition the inn was in and its interior decor. Patterson has been working to clean up and fix the basics at the inn. He has been replacing beds and recently got the air conditioning fixed.

Patterson also wants to steer the interior design away from what one guest called a “retirement home” look. There is only so much he can do with the outside of the building for the time being, but Patterson wants the interior to have more of a Tuscan/European theme.

“It [the inn] wasn’t marketed very well,” Patterson said. “It was way underdeveloped.”

Patterson will work to get people to stay the night while his chef will work to get people in the door. In the La Cascina kitchen will be chef Stanislao Riccio, nephew of Gianfranco Ristorante owner Gianfranco Bafaro. Riccio grew up in the kitchens of family members who owned restaurants and he went back to Italy to attend culinary school. When he returned to Washington, Riccio worked with Bafaro for one year and then moved onto Il Fornaio in Seattle.

With his father’s help, Riccio has developed a menu that includes everything from the $3.95 cup of minestrone to the $24.94 filet mignon alla rodolfo.

“A lot of new plates,” Riccio said. “True Italian food.”

An extra room at the inn will be converted into a wine cellar where Riccio hopes to build an extensive wine list as well.

Riccio believes the food will speak for itself, but there will be some effort needed to get people to realize that the restaurant is open. The facility has been closed on and off and it is not in a high-traffic area where people are reminded of its presence.

Patterson hopes a summer full of events will get the word out. He still plans to host weddings and parties at the inn, and he has been working on organizing a free outdoor concert once a month.

“We’re open to community and receptive to anything,” Patterson said.

Since the service will start and end with Patterson, he thinks he can adapt to his customers’ needs.

“I know who signs my paycheck,” he said.

* The Snoqualmie Inn is located at 9050 384th Ave. S.E., Snoqualmie. For information, call (425) 888-9399 or visit