Excellence on Main Street

Camas & the ‘Couve Win Big

Vancouver’s Downtown Association received the Economic Vitality award at Washington’s Excellence on Main awards ceremony in Bellingham on May 7. The ceremony is held in conjunction with RevitalizeWA, Washington’s Preservation and Main Street Conference. Specifically, the award recognizes a brochure and video that have been incorporated into the region’s economic development efforts and have become a valuable tool for landlords to fill spaces downtown. The video has been viewed nearly 9,000 times since it was posted, and the brochure has been viewed hundreds of times online and is in its second printing. For more details, visit vdausa.org.

The Downtown Camas Association will be honored at the same awards ceremony for its marvelous First Fridays, which are being recognized with the Outstanding Promotional Event of the Year award. First Fridays bringing people into downtown Camas for art, activities, dining, and after-hours shopping. This year marks the tenth anniversary for Camas First Fridays, which was also recently voted by The Columbian’s readers as “Best in Clark County for Outdoor Family Fun” (plus the event was runner-up for “Best Family Event”). The event draws locals and visitors off the sidewalks and into stores, boosting sales for merchants and introducing shoppers to stores they may have overlooked otherwise. Restaurants and shops claim record sales on First Fridays, and are expanding and hiring as a result. To learn more, visit downtowncamas.com.

Excellence on Main St.: Mill City Brew Werks

Mill City Brew Werks, a brewpub in downtown Camas and a relative newcomer to the North Bank craft beer scene, was recently honored with 2014 Excellence on Main Street Economic Vitality Award by the Washington State Main Street Program. The Economic Vitality Award recognizes economic enhancement efforts within a downtown district, focusing on businesses or projects that have contributed to economic growth.

Owners Mark and Fran Zech and Chef Erin LeDoux have quickly settled into downtown Camas' sweet spot with their pub-influenced menu, easygoing atmosphere, and broad, ever-changing selection of artisanal brews. Mill City also brews beer right on the premises. When you walk into the restaurant, check out the glassed-in cutaway portion near the west wall; you can see right through to the basement, where new beer is fermenting away in shiny tanks. The restaurant also just added an outdoor seating area: perfect for al fresco summertime brew-tasting!

YuccaFriesEditor's note: I've eaten here three times, and I've tried the pleasantly unusual yucca fries (pictured here), as well as the Brewer's Panini, which has a horseradishy bite to complement the corned beef. There's a laid-back family vibe—no one will be bothered if your child gets ketchup fingerprints on the table—and the inventive food is more than run-of-the-mill (if you'll pardon the pun). But, without a doubt, the best reason to come here is the beer; the beer list changes frequently and the staff is knowledgable about the restaurant's offerings. My absolute favorite is the smooth and sweet Fromudder Milk Stout, brewed right on the premises.