Dining Out Review The Rusty Chain
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
Where: 3100 Columbia St., Vancouver.
Contact: 360-314-2894 or www.therustychainbar.com
Health Score: The Rusty Chain has received a pre-opening inspection and is scheduled to receive a routine inspection in the near future. Zero is a perfect score, and Clark County Public Health closes restaurants with a score of 100 or higher. For information, call 360-397-8428.
Why: The Rusty Chain is truly a neighborhood dining option. Recently opened at the Columbia Street address that formerly housed the now-defunct Commonwealth Cafe, the family-friendly watering hole offers a burger, salad, and sandwich menu with a variety of appetizers to please. Live music on the weekends and regular events bring a sense of community to the neighborhood establishment.
What I Tried: I had the Philly cheesesteak with french fries, and my dining companion had the signature burger with a house salad.
The Philly starts with a soft, fresh specialty bun. Tender, lean, thinly sliced, saut?ed steak is combined with grilled green pepper and onions and topped with Swiss cheese, pepperoncinis, and pickled jalape?o pepper slices for a delicious, juicy, hot sandwich.
Rusty’s signature burger is made with a quarter-pound patty of local, grass-fed beef, a portion of ham, bacon, and cheddar cheese and finished off with mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, and onion on a grilled bun. My dining companion had never tried ham on a burger before and liked what it brought to the flavor of the other ingredients. She was also impressed with the quality of the beef. The fries were a standard, crinkle-cut variety fried to a golden, crisp finish. Rusty’s house salad is a garden-fresh combination of greens, carrot, cucumber and tomato, topped with a touch of red onion, cheddar cheese and croutons.
Overall, the food exceeded our expectations, and we both agreed return visits are in order.
Atmosphere: The red-painted building has a high-pitched roof and green metal awnings and has a sort of old-time mercantile look. It sports a fancily lit sign with a few bicycle and motorcycle parts mounted on the exterior. Just inside the entry is the bar and a single pool table. Beyond this, two separate dining rooms are available. The spaces are tastefully decorated in keeping mostly with the bike theme, with a few other nostalgic items of interest. Outside is a spacious patio with picnic tables, umbrellas, and a fire pit feature for fair-weather dining.
Menu Highlights Beyond What I Tried: Appetizers include a housemade chilled spinach dip served with sourdough chunks, nachos with homemade salsa, bacon-wrapped cream cheese and sausage-filled jalapeños, and a meat, cheese, and fruit platter. Available sides are macaroni salad, potato salad, and fresh fruit. The mushroom burger and the French dip sandwich sounded good, as did the veggie wrap made with a special garlic cream cheese spread, cucumber, green pepper, red onion, spinach, tomato, pepperoncinis, and sprouts — all drizzled with olive oil and vinegar. If chicken on a Caesar salad is not your thing, you may substitute blackened salmon (for an additional $3). Available beverages include Coke products, beer, and wine.
Other Observations: I found The Rusty Chain to be very welcoming and clean. The food was delicious and priced right, the service was excellent, and I left feeling a little jealous of the people who live in the neighborhood. Kids are welcome until 8 p.m., and the patio is pet-friendly.
Cost: Appetizers range from $6 to $8.50. Burgers, which come with kettle chips, are $6 to $8, but for an additional $2, you may substitute fries for the chips. Salads start at $4.75 and top out at $9.50. Sandwiches cost $6.25 to $9.50.