Forest Grove's Ridgwalker Brewing brings in new chef, offers revamped menu for summer.

COURTESY PHOTO - Manager Jeff Farrar and head chef Josh Trueb go way back. They've been reunited by Ridgewalker, and plan to shake the food scene up in the community.Since its opening at the end of summer last year, Ridgewalker Brewing has done quite a bit to establish itself in the Forest Grove community.

Known for a wide selection of beers, an eccentric social media presence and special events, the venue is now offering a brand new food menu.

The slew of new options, introduced May 15, features all-star recipe selections from both old and new faces, including the space's brand new head chef, Josh Trueb. Prior to the recent offerings, Ridgewalker was partnered with Mammoth BBQ, a Forest Grove based barbecue company.

"Mammoth was with us for eight months, and we're very appreciative of what they've done for us," said Justin Marble, one of the owners and brewers. "People will miss the brisket and fried mac and cheese, but we're working on feedback, and it's been a good transition so far."

Mammoth and Ridgewalker were originally slated to be partners for a year, but when the owners approached the barbecue experts about ending the contract early to get new things rolling in, both parties came to a mutual agreement.

Trueb and Jeff Farrar, Ridgewalker's manager, are childhood friends going all the way back to their early days in Northern California. The new head chef has managed the likes of Redding's Ultimate Pizza, worked at View 202, a high-end restaurant, and trained under some notable chefs. He graduated from the Oregon Culinary Institute and also managed Premiere Catering in Redding, Calif.

"Jeff and I grew up together, and it's great to be comfortable with people you've worked with before — it's less stressful," said Trueb. "The new changes have been explosive. We're breaking records ... getting busier for lunch. We're open an hour earlier now."

Every single thing on the menu is made in house, right down to the dressings and pickles. Trueb put the entire menu together and wrote all the recipes.

The re-worked menu includes a wider variety of sandwiches, fish and chips, beer mac and cheese, tuna wraps and salads. Customer and staff reactions to the changes have had incredibly positive feedback, according to Farrar, Trueb and Marble.

This past Saturday, Ridgewalker put on a Medieval Dance Night, which featured patrons donning knight's armor and wizard robes to groove the night away. The weekend featured a food special that saw turkey legs smoked, then fried.

"It's great that we can collaborate for these special events and daily specials and just rock it together," said Farrar.

Some top sellers in the last two weeks, to Trueb's surprise, have been his fried brussel sprouts and sweet potato fries. The team is also still dedicated to the smoked meats that helped Ridgewalker launch in the first place.

The menu's debut has largely been a successful one, and Trueb and company have no signs of slowing down when it comes adding new options and maintaining a high degree of freshness and quality.

"We'd like to do seasonal menus and change things up, and it will happen eventually," said Trueb. "For now, we're very excited to offer these new menu items, and we've got a lot of cool things in store for the community."

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