Lifestyle

Comfort food is the fare at Heather’s Homegrown Grill

Heather Sanders has spent the last 12 years cooking at Vashon restaurants, and with the opening last Tuesday of Heather’s Homegrown Grill, she now is cooking at her own.

She and her parents, longtime Islanders Sterling and Beverly Hill, closed on the purchase in December, and after two months of cleaning, painting and sprucing up, with plenty of help from friends, the former Vashon Homegrown Café has been transformed (see it on a map).

“It was retire or buy my own restaurant,” Sanders said. “So here I am.”

Though retaining some of the Homegrown name, she has created a menu of her own, with attention to what she has come to know people want and an eye toward offering items that other Island restaurants do not.

“I think people want something a little different and something affordable,” she said.

Everything is made from scratch, she noted, from the cashew chicken salad to the bruschetta to the prime rib dip. She was also influenced in her menu choices by Fred Johnson of Fred’s Homegrown, who ran a restaurant in that location several years ago.

She cooked with him and says his business was the most successful of the succession of restaurants in that spot. She has brought back Fred’s popular migas, tofu scramble and huevos rancheros to the breakfast menu, which she serves all day. She also promised on Fridays she will serve her seafood chowder, which, she said, has a reputation of its own.

Opening a business during this economic time can be a tricky proposition, but her father, a businessman, reassured her.

“A lot of good restaurants opened during the Depression, and they’re still open,” she said he told her. She believes many people welcome life’s simple pleasures, including comfort food.

Opening this business was the right decision for another reason.

“The best thing we can do in this economic climate is create jobs, and I created six or seven. I put those people to work — not to mention myself,” she said.

Indeed, many people have expressed interest in working there. During the first Friday art walk, when she hosted an open house before the restaurant opened, eight or nine people applied, and four or five more applied her first day open, according to front of house manager Mia Carlton.

Right now the restaurant is open seven days a week for breakfast and lunch. By the end of the month, once the staff is in place and trained, Sanders will expand to include dinner Thursday through Saturday.

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