When people walk through the door of the Tribune Smokehouse in Davenport, they will notice three things: the atmosphere, the aromas wafting from the kitchen, and the gathering of patrons. Everyone receives a warm welcome when they come in and a genuine “thank you” when they leave.
The Tribune Smokehouse pub-eatery opened its doors Jan. 8, 2016, and is earning local kudos for its delicious menu and its cozy ambience. The smoked potato salad and cole slaw “with a kick”, are two examples of intriguing menu options, along with the traditional pulled pork, Reuben sandwich, brisket dip and smoked chicken Caesar salad. Menu items change frequently. (Hint: Ask what is not on the menu!)
The idea of the Smokehouse manifested from a combination of both proprietors’ interests. Peter (“Pete”) and Debra (“Debbie”) Brickner have both spent many years in restaurant and other service industries. Plus, both share a passion for antiques, up-cycling, and restoration. Together, they created a plan to combine these interests. What they created turned out to be the Tribune Smokehouse.
In September of 2014, the Brickners purchased the historic 1896 building that has served Lincoln County as everything from a pharmacy to a newspaper printing office to taverns, such as “Roy’s” and “Ernie’s.” The building is recognizable for its big, round, Eastern-facing window, placed during the Davenport Tribune era. The Brickners adopted the nostalgia of the Tribune, hence the name: “Tribune Smokehouse.”
The restoration process took approximately 15 months. “We wanted it to represent Lincoln County with farm, country, and industrial,” said Debbie, “so we have a little bit of Pete’s flavor along with Deb’s ideas.” The Brickners have incorporated an eclectic blend of local artifacts, donations from local artists, up-cycled materials, and personal touches to fashion together a truly unique place for people to gather.
Pete has spent many hours perfecting the meat-smoking process. “We really didn’t know, for some time, what our menu was going to be like,” said Debbie. “Then one day, Pete thought about the ‘not-so-usual’ smoking of foods. So, it took off from there.” The smoked meats, and other unique menu items, have attracted diners from Davenport and the area.
Davenport is a community which supports local businesses. Many folks from the area have expressed gratitude for a place to enjoy great food in a cozy and family-friendly environment. “I feel we have impacted the community in a positive way.” said Pete. “People feel they have a gathering place for family and friends. People like what we’ve done.”
“Our goal for our establishment is to bring unity to the communities around us,” states Debbie. “It’s a place to meet up with old friends and families.”
The Brickners have many plans for the upcoming year. “We want to keep our doors open seven days a week and extend our hours for the summer months,” said Debbie. “We do have plans to expand, so we can accommodate larger parties or hold meetings, along with some outside seating in the nicer weather.” Currently, the eatery is able to make some special arrangements for groups of six or more and request that groups try to reserve tables in advance.
The Tribune Smokehouse is located at 502 Morgan Street in Davenport. Just look for the big round window! Current hours are Wednesday and Thursday: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. They are also on Facebook. Call-in orders are always welcome. 509-725-8509
Christina Ulrich has been a resident of Davenport, Washington, for approximately three years. She is a mother and student, and works as a server at the Tribune Smokehouse. Photos by Val Mohney.