When you walk in, the first thing you notice is the smell of wood and waiters dashing around with sizzling food and ice cold drinks.
Crockett’s Public House opened its new location in Maple Valley March 24.
The first location in Puyallup was opened by owner Shaun Brobak in 2011. He decided to open his second in Maple Valley because he and his family live in the city and he thought the area was great for a new restaurant.
“The community is rapidly expanding and I felt there was an opportunity for new and different restaurants to come to the area. So I decided Crockett’s is in Puyallup — my first restaurant — and I thought, ’ Well, why not bring Crockett’s to Maple Valley?’ It felt like it would be a good fit,” Brobak said.
And so far, he said he thinks it’s met his expectations — the restaurant has been super busy since opening.
While both restaurant locations are similar, the atmosphere is different between the Puyallup and Maple Valley locations.
The Puyallup Crockett’s sits in a 100-year-old building on at piece of land originally belonging to a man named Hugh Crockett.
Crockett was an early pioneer who came over on the Oregon Trail in 1851 and settled on Whidbey Island, according to the restaurant’s website.
In 1875 he moved to Seattle and two years later he moved to Puyallup where he and his wife purchased land. Crockett ended up donating that land to build an Episcopal Church.
The description of the land itself was called “Hugh Crockett’s addition,” which is where the name of his restaurant came from, Brobak said.
When you walk into the Maple Valley location, it’s quite a different experience. The building is brand new and the inside is covered in wood, from the floor to the walls.
Even though everything about the Maple Valley Crockett’s is new and modern, the food is the same — everything made from scratch.
“We make all of our food from scratch, which requires a lot of effort and attention to detail and it’s difficult and challenging, but we’re willing to take on that challenge. That’s where it starts, is with the food,” Brobak said.
Brobak said he has a difficult time answering the question, ‘what kind of food do you have?’
“We don’t describe ourselves as this type of food, or that type of food. We’ll have a Thai chicken salad on the menu and we’ll also have burgers on the menu,” Brobak explained. “We play with a lot of different influences.”
“We purposely don’t create labels on ourselves,” he added.
The menu changes four times during the year, according to Brobak. He added, he and his team look at ways they want to improve menu items. He said they also look at customer feedback regarding any changes or new items.
With the Maple Valley location, Brobak said he too the opportunity to try out some new recipes.
A popular menu item at the Puyallup location — shrimp and grits — gets a modified twist in Maple Valley.
If the new recipe isn’t a hit, Brobak said he will bring the Puyallup version to Maple Valley.
When asked what his favorite menu item was, Brobak said the lobster macaroni and cheese is outstanding. He also encourages people to try Crockett’s burgers as well.
As far as community feedback goes, Brobak said people seem to really like the food but there’s something about the restaurant that has really gotten people talking.
“One of the things that’s come up, that is really raising an eyebrow, is we were a little bit progressive in how we put together our restrooms and we did that on purpose. We wanted to be forward thinking,” he said.
When you walk into the restrooms at the Maple Valley Crockett’s, there is a gap under the mirror separating the men’s and women’s bathroom. While you cannot see the stalls on either side, some people have concerns.
A Facebook commenter from the Community of Maple Valley Facebook page said the layout makes them feel uncomfortable.
Another commenter said the owner did this just for attention, but concluded that they enjoyed the food and that the restrooms were not a huge deal to them.
“Major cities’ building code is requiring restrooms to evolve and maybe be gender neutral or unisex,” Brobak said. “We didn’t bring that fully to Maple Valley. (But) we did challenge people’s notions about what a restroom is supposed to be. We’ve gotten positive and negative feedback about that, but the intention was to create a conversation and that’s been pretty successful.”
Brobak and the staff are taking things one step at a time and are just trying to get through the first few weeks of opening, he said.
Crockett’s Public House is located near the Monarch apartments in Four Corners at 26300 238th Lane SE.