When I was a child, my parents frequently took me out for dinner to bars that had a restaurant or kitchen of some sort to serve food. Many of those places are still there, much the same as over 60 years ago. Today, most places that I enjoy seem to be primarily restaurants with attached bars. This is my second review of such an eatery.
The Raging River Café and Club (I’m dropping “club” from the name) is located in Fall City, Washington. Fall City is about four miles north of I-90 from the Preston exit. The restaurant’s web page has directions. Fall City is about five miles down-river from Snoqualmie Falls. The restaurant is located amongst a line of businesses directly across the street from the Snoqualmie River on Redmond-Fall City Road (highway 202).
Diagonal parking is available on the street, but is only marked on the south (restaurant) side. While parking is available on the other side, it’s a little trickier and can be messy if it rains. Other street parking is available around the corner, but it’s not as convenient. No parking lot is nearby. I have not seen any critiques of parking, but I’m not sure it’s easily solvable or necessary to worry about. I go when they’re not busy, so it’s seldom an issue for me.
The restaurant entrance is in front and opens directly into the dining area. This can be a nuisance on cold windy or rainy days for customers seated near the door. No reception area or waiting area is available. Hostess seating is unnecessary from my experience because you simply pick your table and sit. You can see all tables from the entrance. However, a few customer reviews have complained about this.
The atmosphere is friendly; so are the staff. The ambiance is county and laid back–so say the locals. Dress code is anything legal. Turning left upon entry and walking about 40 feet brings you to the bar area. There is a smallish stage area and a little space for dancing (but not enough, really), a u-shaped bar with no more than five stools per side, a few tall-boy bar tables, and a walkway to the pool table room. This is a large room with a pool table surrounded by a few tables. I walked in about 5:00 PM on a Wednesday and it was full of customers who might be called ‘biker-bar clientele.’ A few folks were playing pool and there was room for that. County-rock was the music genre.
While my server was not very experienced (or old), she impressed me. When she asked for my drink order, I asked about dark beer. She was able to tell me what she had and even referred to notes in her little order book to tell me. She offered up a draught from the Snoqualmie Brewery, which is in Snoqualmie, about five more miles up highway 202, past the falls. I will be going there for a review sometime soon.
I ordered Spring Fever Belgian Style Ale, which was good. It’s an amber 6% ABV, flavorful, seasonal brew that has now been replaced by lighter summer brews. They claim it has a coriander flavor, maybe a little dry and crisp. It is refreshing and the coriander was not specifically noticeable.
The Raging River Café should do a better job with their web page. The menu is only ‘highlights,’ thus incomplete (specials are not listed in the printed menu, but the server will tell you about it, if any is left). The ‘spirits’ tab on the web page is wrong and has been for months. Admittedly, if they keep changing the beer offerings, it becomes too hard to keep correct (not really, but I am being nice). It lists draught Moose Drool (Big Sky Brewing), which they don’t have. I mention this because I told my server about it long ago and it’s still listed.
The dinner special on Wednesdays is pot roast. It’s good, more than enough, and comes with carrots and chunky mashed potatoes. If it were me, I would cut back on the meat and add another veggie or side (blue plate special). It costs about 10 bucks and an average eater will have leftovers boxed up to go. So pot roast for two (four meals total, actually) with a 12-ounce beer and a generous tip comes to about $30-something total. And it’s good — lots of gravy.
We had breakfast here a few weeks ago and it was equally good. But go early. If you’re rafting down the river about ten Sunday morning and go ashore for eggs and bacon with toast (you can), be prepared to wait. They get swamped then. One problem this place has is size and the number of tables (sticking more into the space they have would be bad). They do well at times and struggle to accommodate the crowd.
I have not stayed late enough for the entertainment, but they do have it several nights a week. It is listed on the web page. Children are ok until about nine, then it gets more adult.
I neglected to visit the restroom, but my wife reports that the ladies’ room is clean. I assume the mens’ is also. There are restrooms on the bar side, but I’ve not been in them.
Yelp averages out to 4 ½ of 5 stars. One-star reviews mention slow service and greasy food. Sunday mid-mornings are hard to get in. Those complaints are probably accurate, but are more likely exceptions. Trip advisor rates Raging River as the best of eight restaurants in Fall City, but I’m not sure that there are eight. I will keep going back, even if they have a couple of bad days.
If you live in or visit the Seattle area, you can find some great chow in the city or ride east to the Fall City-Snoqualmie-North Bend area for a fun and casual-dining, honky-tonk experience. In fact, The Snoqualmie Casino is the closest to Seattle (they claim) and is right off I-90 (eastbound) after the Highway 18 exit.