Greater Issaquah Chamber of Commerce / courtesy photo
                                Levitate Gastropub executive chef Pa Jallow holds the golden spatula he won for creating the best Salmon-based appetizer for the Issaquah Epicurean Experience contest in 2019.

Greater Issaquah Chamber of Commerce / courtesy photo Levitate Gastropub executive chef Pa Jallow holds the golden spatula he won for creating the best Salmon-based appetizer for the Issaquah Epicurean Experience contest in 2019.

Epicurean Experience returning to Issaquah

Vote for the best appetizer, cocktail, dessert in Issaquah.

Everyone gets their chance to be a food critic and judge in an upcoming Issaquah Chamber of Commerce’s contest.

The second annual Epicurean Experience event takes place March 7-27.

Participating restaurants will offer their creations of an Irish themed cocktail, appetizer or dessert. Restaurants can choose to enter one, two, or all three categories.

Patrons can order the competing menu items, sample the fares, then go online to vote for their favorite at

The restaurants with the most People’s Choice votes will win the People’s Choice award. A panel of judges also will go to scheduled tastings at the restaurants to award the winner of each category. People can sign up to be an official judge on the chamber webpage (see above) as well.

A golden spatula is awarded for each category to the top three restaurants. The cocktail category is new this year, widening the variety.

Brenda Devore, Community Engagement and Events Manager, said the goal of the contest is to bring more people into local restaurants during a less busy time of year. She said the Irish theme was chosen because St. Patrick’s Day is in the middle of the contest window.

The list of restaurants participating soon will be announced on social media at @IssaquahChamber and on the chamber’s website.

Devore said she expects many of the restaurants from last year will again take part this year. She said they also have expanded to include more restaurants from a wider area, not just in Issaquah.

Devore said it is “a great opportunity for chefs to shine” and for the chamber to share stories.

“They can share and create something new, and we celebrate them,” she said.

Overall, the chamber aims to spotlight local restaurants and get more people in the doors.

Devore said folks might see some tweaks to a particular restaurant’s classic favorites, but so far what she’s mostly seen are all new creations.

Last year’s winners were Levitate Gastropub, in the Best Appetizer category, and Vista Prime Steaks and Seafood (at Snoqualmie Casino), in the Best Dessert Category. Vista Prime Steaks and Seafood also won the People’s Choice award.

Last year, there was a requirement for either salmon or berry to be an ingredient in each dish, she said. There is no ingredient requirement this year, just the Irish theme.

“It’ll be interesting to see what they come up with,” Devore said.

In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

State Capitol Building in Olympia. File photo
Politicians get pay raises, state workers get furloughs

A citizens panel approved the hikes in 2019. Unable to rescind them, lawmakers look to donate their extra earnings.

Human remains in West Seattle identified

Bags of body parts were found in a suitcase along a West Seattle beach on June 19.

According to King County’s Mental Illness and Drug Dependency (MIDD) annual report, Seattle had the highest rate of people using services at 36 percent of the total, followed by 31 percent from South King County, 18 percent from the greater Eastside, and 7 percent from north county including Shoreline. Courtesy image
Drug courts, officer de-escalation programs impacted by MIDD cuts

The fund provides money for mental illness and drug dependency programs across King County.

Summer vehicle travel projected to decrease this year

Traffic this summer will likely be lighter across Washington state than previous… Continue reading

Governor Jay Inslee smiles and laughs Sept. 3, 2019, during a speech at the Lynnwood Link Extension groundbreaking in Lynnwood. A Thurston County judge ruled he exceeded his authority when he vetoed single sentences in the state transportation budget in 2019. (Olivia Vanni / Herald file)
Judge invalidates Gov. Inslee’s veto in roads budget

Lawmakers said the governor crossed a constitutional line.

King County cases among younger adults drives increase in COVID-19 numbers

Over half of all new cases are among people ages 20-39

From the Issaquah Black Lives Matter demonstration, Friday, June 12. Photo by William Shaw
Issaquah starts conversations on action plan for police accountability, equity

While contrasting, passionate ideas were expressed by the speakers at the June 29 meeting, Mayor Mary Lou Pauly said it left her optimistic that they were all closer than they think on public safety.

Kirkland man found guilty of promoting prostitution in Eastside sex trafficking ring

Authorities say suspect ran “successful enterprise” for greater half of a decade.

Public and private universities, colleges, technical schools, apprenticeship programs and similar schools and programs may resume general instruction, including in-person classes and lectures, starting Aug. 1. Pictured: The University of Washington-Bothell campus. File photo
Universities and colleges may reopen in fall, governor says

His order requires masks and physical distancing, among other measures, to help prevent infections.

Most Read