Owners continue emphasis on local foods, quality preparation
By Ashley Lodato
With its namesake flower in full bloom throughout the Methow Valley, Winthrop’s Arrowleaf Bistro has recently reopened in its new location at 207 White Ave., at the junction of Twin Lakes Road and Hwy 20 in Winthrop.
It’s a new look for a restaurant that for nearly a decade served from a quaint white clapboard house on Riverside Avenue in downtown Winthrop.
Designed by Barb Preston at Pinto Designs and built by Larry Miller, the Arrowleaf’s new look is airy and modern, yet cozy and with enough rustic touches to impart a casual atmosphere. Vibrant Doug Sredinsky paintings cover the walls, while up-cycled and vintage style fixtures and frosted glass sliding barn doors give the main dining room a fun and funky appearance.
But rest assured, faithful customers — the main reason you’ve been loyal to the Arrowleaf Bistro all these years remains the same: the excellent quality of the food.
“Our ideals and food ethic have remained the same,” says co-owner Joanne Uehara. “We still offer the same type of menu, we still source high-quality, locally produced food and we prepare it in the best manner possible.”
The difference, says Uehara, is that with the addition of a bar dining area, the Arrowleaf is now able to offer two separate menus served out of the same kitchen.
“With our bar menu, we can offer faster and more economical options,” she says, although Arrowleaf encourages even bar diners to linger as long as they’d like (“faster service doesn’t mean you have to eat it faster,” says Uehara).
She continues, “Separating the bar menu enables us to make the menu for our main dining room more focused.” Arrowleaf customers have a diverse palate and are adventuresome diners, and Arrowleaf likes to both delight and surprise them. Indeed, Arrowleaf’s menu promises to be a reflection of the “soul of the Methow Valley: fresh, inviting, and honest.”
The promise holds true, with the menu on any given day offering venison, Bluebird Grain Farms farro, a wild nettle option, or lamb from BCS Livestock.
It is this menu that has enabled Arrowleaf to build such a loyal local customer base. “We have such great support in this community,” says Uehara. “The word-of-mouth referrals that locals are giving us are incredible.”
Uehara and co-owner Jon Brown feel as connected to the environment as they do to the community. “You can’t care about food without caring about the environment,” says Uehara. To this end, Arrowleaf has for four years donated 20 percent of its Earth Day sales to a valley nonprofit concerned with the environment. This year’s beneficiary is Methow Recycles, so if you’re still able to get reservations at Arrowleaf for Friday night (April 22), you can eat a delicious dinner while supporting recycling in the Methow Valley.
“I love Earth Day,” says Uehara, “it has always struck a chord with me.”
Although the Arrowleaf Bistro’s move may seem sudden to some, it’s the culmination of many years of strategic thinking on the part of Uehara and Brown, who is also the main chef. “We didn’t own the old building,” says Uehara, referring to the Riverside Avenue location. “We never knew if a new owner would renew our lease.”
She adds, “Remaining here in the Methow Valley has always been our goal. We want to make our living and make our life in this valley. This new space is a reinvestment in that goal.”
Uehara expresses gratitude to the customers who have made this next stage of Arrowleaf Bistro’s journey a reality. “So many people have contributed to this,” she says, “we sit back and we’re amazed that we’re here.”