You can believe Joey Chmiko when he says his restaurant only uses fresh ingredients, because he’s saying it as a Ridgefield farmer drops off boxes of tomatoes that smell as fresh as the summer garden they came from.
Near the confluence of the Columbia and Washougal rivers, a building stands abandoned like a lone oyster on the shore. In it lives the dream of The Black Pearl, not a gem but a planned restaurant that had been a local man’s dream before he died.
The roundabout is dotted with young families filling baskets with fruits and flowers as music warns the air. The nearby park is shaded by tall buildings as strangers and neighbors pass each other, the same as they do every week.