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Neighborhood Nosh: Bellevue's The Pumphouse Bar & Grill

Downtown Bellevue has changed a lot over the years. It seems like there are cranes everywhere you look and new buildings popping up constantly. But in the shadow of all that new development, you'll find one spot that has been a Bellevue institution for more than 40-years, The Pumphouse Bar & Grill.

"They always recognize the customers when they come in and call them by name. Sort of like Cheers," said Gordon Lawrence, a longtime customer.

"It's an institution. It's part of our soul," added Rick Burnstead, who has been coming to The Pumphouse since he turned 21. "Very few things exist like The Pumphouse in Bellevue, Washington."


That's thanks to Bob and Danielle Griffith, who opened The Pumphouse back in 1978.


"We wanted to work for ourselves and work together...And we thought since we spent so much time in restaurants we could obviously own a restaurant," explained Bob with a laugh. "The first day we opened, a couple met in here that night that got married, and they're still married. We've had people celebrate their 21st birthday in here and then bring their kids in here after they've grown up."

Bob and Danielle have gotten to watch their own daughter grow up at The Pumphouse too. Gina started working here the day she turned 21. Now she runs the place with her parents.


"I used to run errands with my dad and I always just said 'okay when I'm 21 that's what I'm going to do'," Gina told me. "I've gotten to know so many great people. It's just nice to be a positive part of the community."

One of the reasons people keep coming back time and time again is the food.

"[Danielle] is a kitchen guru and she knows what good food tastes like. She's a very good cook at home and here. And she felt like we always had to use the best ingredients," explained Bob.

Among their most popular items, the burgers and the french dip.

"We use wagyu roast beef for our french dips, which have become a real popular item for us over the years," said Bob.


Of course the roast beef is made in-house, just like the salad dressings and pretty much everything on the menu.

That french dip sandwich, well, it's perfect, just like The Pumphouse. Sure, Bellevue will continue to grow and change, but for so many this place remains a constant. A staple of the community. A neighborhood favorite.

"I think people come here because they feel like it's home," said Gina. "My mom and dad are still young and they don't want to retire anytime soon. So we just want to keep it going so our customers have a place to come and relax. We don't like to change too much. We like to keep things going."

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