With the opening of Maynard’s Restaurant in Silverdale, Chef Maynard “JJ” Meland’s dream of feeding people in a unique and sustainable way has become a reality. The son of a chef, and cooking professionally himself for more than 25 years, Meland has had plenty of time to develop his personal philosophy about food.
“I have been cooking as long as I can remember,” he said. “I have been in a kitchen since I was in a car-seat, because if there was no babysitter available, my dad just strapped me in and set me up on the counter.”
Meland has a long string of professional certifications, reflecting his quest for culinary education and his expertise in his field, and leading to his becoming a culinary educator. He is a tenured faculty member at Bates Technical College, and was also named Washington Chef of the Year 2018 by the Washington State Chefs Association. He is lauded for his community involvement, vast experience and dedication to culinary education.
During his long cooking career, Meland has also developed his philosophy about feeding people, and what his dream of the ideal restaurant would be.
“I always knew my concept would be farm-to-table, with a marketplace component and the ability to offer cooking classes,” Meland said.
The intention to make Maynard’s a Kitsap culinary destination led the search for the space and the design of the building.
“This is the last 3-acre site in Silverdale; it has a great view and is in the perfect location for a restaurant,” Meland said. “Silverdale is the hub of Kitsap County. It’s where people come to shop and seek other services, so it makes sense to have a fabulous place to dine and gather as well. Until now, the restaurant choices in Silverdale included mostly those among the national chains, and we wanted to do something unique.”
BCRA architectural firm worked closely with Meland to bring his ideas for a midcentury-modern design to fruition. The design gives the building a classic flair and is instantly recognizable when traveling up Bucklin Hill Road. The builders are Wilcox Construction, and Bargreen and Ellingson Restaurant Supply and Design were also involved.
Parking surrounds the 15,000-square-foot building, and allows access both through the front entrance and up the steps to the multilevel terraces in the back. Total seating on the site is upward of 300, which includes 150 on the main terrace and 50 or so on the auxiliary terrace.
Inside, restaurant, bar and classroom seating is adaptable to accommodate private events, cooking classes and dining. A quarter-acre lawn space and 140 parking spaces allow for flexible use between parking and outdoor events that may require large tent setups, such as a farmers market.
While the exterior profile of the building is an attention grabber — “over the top, but not grand,” according to Meland — the inside is spacious, sleek and comfortable. Diners can look into the open kitchen and see prepared food coming up onto the counter ready to be delivered by the wait staff.
The kitchen contains state-of-the-art cooking spaces, appliances and tools. Custom-designed, hand-built and fitted by Jade Range LLC, the design is based on Meland’s culmination of experience over the past 25 years. Seating areas in the dining areas are modern but comfortable. Wall and floor surfaces are made from sustainable materials, which are also modern but classic.
Meland’s roots are in the West Sound area, and as a local chef and culinary class instructor, he is most supportive of those getting their start in the restaurant world. The restaurant employs 120 crew members. Meland heads up the culinary team, which includes an executive chef, pastry chef and four more chefs and sous chefs. Thirty additional people make up the back of the house support staff and there are 65 servers, bartenders, hosts, etc. The restaurant supports community projects and benefits for culinary staff education and development.
The Maynard’s bar features about 20 draft handles, which include regularly stocked brews in addition to rotating seasonal choices. Specialty cocktails, ciders and a well-rounded wine list offer libations for every palate. From 3 to 6 p.m., “Happiest Hours” drink specials and snacks are at discounted prices. The “Happiest Hour” snack menu and bartender cocktail special change on a regular basis.
Lunch is served in the dining room 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily, and dinner service hours are 4 to 10 p.m. Along with the regular menu, there is a “daily inspired menu” that showcases the chef’s creativity or features seasonal ingredients.
Although some standard items are on the menu year-round, the chef-driven menus emphasize seasonally available and locally sourced ingredients. Many gluten-free, dairy-free or vegan menu choices are included on the regular menu, but Meland reminds diners to let their server know if they have a special request. Many menu items can be adapted to fit a dietary preference.
In addition to the restaurant and bar hours, there is a small market/espresso/grab-and-go shop to the right of the front entrance that opens every morning at 8. Patrons can purchase cold-brew coffee, beer or kombucha on tap, house-made pastries, sandwiches and almost anything the restaurant offers when it is open.
A cold case features locally smoked salmon, cheeses and other refrigerated products, while local jams and jellies, pickles etc, are on the grocery shelves. During the growing season, local produce is stocked in the baskets for customers to take home and prep using their favorite recipes. There is inside seating and a huge rollup door that opens during fine weather.
As a culinary destination, it is only fitting that Maynard’s would feature cooking classes. Guest chefs offer classes in everything from appetizers to French cuisine, to knife skills, to vegetable carving. Most classes are hosted on Friday or Saturday evenings and are “hands-on,” and participants are offered a nibble and a glass of wine while enjoying the demonstration. There is a state-of-the-art sound system and large, overhead TV screen so no one will miss any details. Classes are limited in size; and pricing, class content and other are details are listed on Maynard’s website.
In addition to cooking classes, there are many other types of entertainment events at Maynard’s. Live music on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, Friday trivia nights, weekend brunch on Saturday and Sunday mornings are among the offerings. In March, there will be a St. Patrick’s event and as the weather warms, community members may look forward to Yoga on the Lawn, outdoor concerts, Paella on the Patio dinners, paint and sip parties, and, beginning on Tuesdays in May, the Central Kitsap Farmers Market.
For New American, globally influenced cuisine, Maynard’s is definitely “Kitsap’s Culinary Destination.”