Dining Out: Waddles still cooking at DuckTales

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Why: Owners Steve and Jane Waddle instill their longtime family tradition as restaurateurs in DuckTales Kitchen. Serving homemade dishes for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday, as well as Saturday brunch, DuckTales offers casual, family dining as well as take-out and catering for many types and sizes of functions.

Atmosphere: I was pleasantly surprised on my lunch visit. Where many restaurants would be showing signs of age after nearly three years in business, DuckTales is just as fresh and tidy as the day it opened. The tranquil shade of green used on the walls creates an earthy backdrop for displaying local artists' paintings, which are available for purchase. Colorful Italian glass vases, votive candles and live plants bring a wisp of garden spirit to the restaurant. Seating is in booths along the perimeter, and tables and chairs on the open floor.

What I tried: I decided on the house salad with raspberry vinaigrette and a small side of potato salad. My dining companion settled on the Mushroom and Swiss Burger Basket with french fries and a cup of split pea and ham soup.

My salad was simple. It consisted of fresh, vibrant-green lettuce topped with tomato, cucumber, red onions and homemade croutons. The lettuce had been chopped into bite-size pieces which made it easy to eat. The onions were obviously fresh and delicious, but I opted to remove them — as I am not fond of them in salads. I found the croutons to be a bit greasy, which masked the flavor of the herbs in them, although the garlic in them came through loud and strong. The housemade raspberry vinaigrette is acetic with a trace of raspberry-sweet that momentarily lingers on the tongue.

The zesty, mustard-flavored potato salad is more smooth than chunky, with distinguishable bits of red onion, red potato and egg, and is served with a sprinkle of paprika.

My dining companion was satisfied with his burger basket and found the mushroom swiss burger gourmet quality. The burger begins with a toasted bun topped with red onion, tomato, grilled mushrooms, Swiss cheese and lettuce. A few pickle slices come on the side. The golden-crisp, crinkle-style french fries were seasoned with seasoning salt.

The split pea and ham soup was thick without being pasty. It had an appetizingly rich, light smoky flavor.

Menu highlights beyond what I tried: Homemade macaroni and cheese is a popular item, as is the meatloaf dinner. Desserts are all homemade and include a Key lime pie. Among the burger basket choices is the signature Mighty DuckTales Burger, which is topped with creamy, sweet relish, lettuce, tomato, dill pickle, Tillamook cheddar cheese, grilled ham, a fried egg, grilled onions and all of the trimmings. The Bleu Cheeseburger DuckTales-Style sounded intriguing. This burger includes Tillamook cheddar cheese, bacon, homemade blue cheese dressing, tomato and shredded cabbage.

Other observations: The vibe at DuckTales is very low key, and the service is friendly and attentive.

If you're visiting the restaurant for the first time and your vehicle has a low profile, beware of the change in elevation from the street to the parking lot; it will abruptly close the clearance gap of your vehicle. You might want to enter through the gravel lot next to the strip mall.

Cost: Among the Saturday brunch offerings are a New York steak breakfast for $10.95 and huevos rancheros for $8.95. Lunch pastas selections are $8.95 to $12.95. Salads start at $4 and top out at $12.50. Soup is $3.75 for a cup and $4.75 for a bowl. Half sandwiches are available for $6.50, whole for $8.25. Burger baskets come with a choice of fries, potato salad, a side salad or coleslaw for $7.75 to $10.50. Dinner entrees are $12.95 to $15.95. Pasta entrees are $10.95 to $14.95. Kids options include a grilled Tillamook cheese sandwich and homemade macaroni and cheese, and cost $4.50 to $5.50. Most desserts are $5. Happy hour prices are $2.50 to $7.95.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday. Happy hour is 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.

Where: 612 N. Devine Road, Vancouver.

Telephone: 360-735-7932.

Health score: DuckTales Kitchen received a score of 15 on May 30. Zero is a perfect score, and Clark County Public Health closes restaurants that score 100 or higher. For information, call 360-397-8428.