Just a short, and scenic drive from Walla Walla, awaits one of the very best restaurants in the country (according to the New York Times). Welcome to Bar Bacetto, the intimate, 18-seat, hyper-seasonal Italian restaurant in downtown Waitsburg, brought to you by industry veterans Mike and Erin Easton.
Bar Bacetto is warm and inviting, and you can see the thought that’s been put into every detail here from the bottles on the shelf to the fabulous decor. It features a menu that is handwritten on a chalkboard and changes weekly, and Mike and Erin focus on dishes and cocktails that reflect the seasons and the place, Eastern Washington.
Arrive early to enjoy a cocktail in their Cordial Room next door (trust us, you’re in for a treat), open Thursday – Sunday (as staffing allows).
Chef Mike Easton is at the helm of Bar Bacetto, whom many will recognize from his earlier days on the West Side of the state. He made quite a name for himself in Seattle (and beyond) with powerhouses like the lunch legend Il Corvo, and later with the more fine-dining and upscale sister restaurant, Il Nido in West Seattle. He is a highly acclaimed chef with more than one James Beard nomination under his belt, and Bar Bacetto seems to be the vessel that’s allowing him to get back to his roots and serve us the rustic, but oh-so-elegant comforting pastas, fresh salads, fluffy focaccia and top grade cured meats that make up the ever-changing menu here.
After humble beginnings, Mike has become one of the most recognized chefs in the Pacific Northwest. “I left home and got a job washing dishes and chopping vegetables in a Mexican restaurant at the age of 16, “ he says as he rolls out and flours fresh pasta for service that evening. “No culinary school for me, just the school of ‘hard knocks.’”
He says that he fell in love with Italian food and cooking due to its simplicity and use of super fresh, quality ingredients, which we are abundantly blessed with in this region.
“I get all the produce I possibly can around here. Hayshaker Farm and Frog Hollow [Farm] are my main sources, but then I get lots of things from smaller farms as well. Like my eggs come from Joan [of Monteillet Fromagerie], and almost all of my flour comes from small, local family farms.”
When asked what the secret to great pasta is, he smiles and simply replies: “Pay attention. All the details are important. Know what you want the end result to be – that’s the most important.”
The menu is handwritten on the blackboard at the beginning of each week.
While Mike is busy making pasta and running the kitchen, his wife and business partner Erin is running the bar program. Like her counterpart, she features very seasonal and local-driven ingredients on her cocktail menu, which she changes up every 2 to 3 weeks and constantly tweaks based on what’s in season and what’s hitting for her guests.
The Cosmo Italiano: Crimson Snap Amaro + Citroen Vodka + Cranberry + Lime + Citrus Foam
All the cocktails are fresh, thoughtful, and delicious. Erin is happy to oblige any who may be abstaining with a non-alcoholic creation. Beer (including a nonalcoholic option) and wines by the glass are available as well.
Mike and Erin have the (sometimes) rare advantage of being face-to-face with guests for a good portion of their meal, and it makes the dining experience feel very attentive and even more intimate and special.
24 Month D.O.P. Proscuitto and Burrata
Tagliarini al Tartuffo
Bar Bacetto is an intimate space made up of only 18 seats, 12 of them being bar seats, and six of them being hi-top tables for two. Additionally, there is a “Pasta Table” that seats 5-6 people, with only one seating offered a night at 6 p.m. For this unique experience, the whole table is served the entire menu, family style.
(The Pasta Table can only be booked by texting the reservation line at 509-310-0399.)
Spaghetti Nero Chitarra with Mussels a la Siciliana
Left: Insalata di Beet + Pear + Fennel | Right: Spaghetti Nero
While reservations aren’t always easy to get, it’s absolutely worth the hassle (and necessary).
Reservations are required when dining at Bar Bacetto and can be made only through OpenTable. (You can make your reservations here.) Reservations are released one month in advance. Please note that minors are not allowed at Bar Bacetto as it is a strictly 21 and up establishment.
Follow Bar Bacetto on Instagram for the latest happenings, menu items, and behind-the-scenes action! Salut!
119 Main St.
Waitsburg, WA 99361
By: Stephanie Forrer
Read more of Stephanie’s Pacific Northwest adventures at www.eatdrinktravelyall.com!