Comfort food with heart

Pioneer-inspired Mill Creek Pub raises the bar in Battle Ground

When you walk into Mill Creek Pub, you're entering an environment inspired by the area's historical past. And, you can be certain that the 10-foot water wheel between the bar and the dining room has a story to tell.

“Someone suggested I pick up the book, Battle Ground …In and Around, which is a pictorial drama of northwest pioneer life,” explained pub owner Russell Brent. “I was inspired by the many mills and covered bridges that were in the area.”

Mill Creek Pub opened its doors in November 2011. The atmosphere feels inviting to adults and families with children. Brent's inspiration for the restaurant comes alive in the rustic décor, water wheel and covered bridge entrance that utilize reclaimed wood from around Clark County.

“I searched by bike for old barns in Clark County, acquired lumber from a Camas paper mill that's over 100 years old and salvaged 35-foot beams from a barn in Ridgefield,” Brent said.

Mill Creek Pub's menu is simple, but features plenty of surprises.

The bar offers several pleasing twists on signature cocktails such as a Maple Maker's Manhattan and a Lavender Cosmopolitan made with house-made simple syrup. For those interested in beer, a carefully curated selection includes some of the finest local microbrews on tap as well as bottled Rogue and Samuel Smith beers. There are also treasures like the limited batch Deschutes Abyss Russian Imperial Stout (say that 10 times fast) and the Widmer Bourbon 2010 Resurrection, aged one year in bourbon casks.

For starters, the Chilled Shrimp and Avocado Martini is a refreshing mix of shrimp and avocado in pico de gallo, served with crunchy house made tortilla chips.

The Lamb Shank entree is tender with light gravy on a bed of seasoned mashed potatoes and a side of buttery green beans. And, the Pub Burger is over-the-top with house made onion rings and peppered bacon inside the bun. It's paired with light and crunchy french fries.

For dessert, the Crème Brulee is sweet and tart, and finished before you realize what you've done. The Pecan Praline Brownie is decadent and the Berry Cobbler is a divine mixture of hot cobbler and cold vanilla ice cream, reminiscent of simpler times.

Brent said of the menu, “I chose food reflective of pioneer life – comfort food with heart, I like to say.”

It was also important that the food be locally sourced as much as possible. According to Brent, this has become much easier in the last three-to-four years as small farmers coordinate their efforts to supply local restaurants.

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