An online date cooks up one of best new culinary experiences in Skagit County.

BowEdison Fine Dining Skagit County WA Skagit Art Music
Photo Credit: Dan Joyner

The back story… Chef Marty Bracken is a woman accustomed to receiving accolades from diners with a pallet for exceptional cuisine. Regionally, Marty is best known for building, owning, and operating the Agate Pass Café (Suquamish, WA), where South Sound foodies experienced a full menu of unique Chef Bracken-born dishes for over seven years. Her CV reads like a Wish List for Culinary Arts students highlighting professional accomplishments working with noteworthy destinations like Seattle’s W Hotel, Bon Appetite Management Company, and of course, Seattle-based Starbucks. But in May of 2015, this upwardly mobile chef began reconsidering the commuting challenges posed by her Emerald City lifestyle. Manifesting being what it is, she suddenly found herself with a new love and new life 90 miles north in Bellingham.

Introducing General Manager Bridget McShane. Bridget is a 20-year Bellingham resident, now spending most of her waking hours as the busy Front Of House Lead in Bow, WA. Bridget brings years of progressively challenging experience from the restaurant world to the BowEdison’s newly formed culinary arts team. Her background working with diverse groups of people gave her the expertise to put things together and get things done. So Bridget was delighted when Marty suggested she step into the important GM position, overseeing daily operations of the restaurants 13-member team.

ChefMartyBrackenFast forward to Fall 2017, Chef Marty describes her new destination as, “…a restaurant that serves alcohol. We are not a bar that serves food. You cannot be everything to everyone. We figured out what we are and we want to do that very well.” Marty and Bridget have been successfully growing the BowEdison restaurant clientele for more than a year. A locals favorite, the BowEdison is an eclectic mix of industrial decor, a modern presentation of the best regional farm-to-fork dining, and a sumptuously elegant dive into well thought out comfort food. Marty describes her cuisine as “simple, uncomplicated, and delicious American food.” This is a total self-deprecating example of one chefs own artistic modesty. Because when you walk through the back door of the BowEdison (that’s where the parking is) you are welcomed by a most hospitable host, you view the well-appointed full-size kitchen gleaming before your eyes, and your olfactory senses begin ringing bells reminding your stomach why you’re there. That’s when you instinctively know you’ve made the right dining decision.

On the day I visited, I was greeted by Bridget and their PR guy Dan Joyner. The 2200 SF space was open, mod, inviting, and carefully adorned with warm contemporary colors and textures. Marty reinvented the old grocery store which now features stained concrete floors, high ceilings hung with floating pallet chandeliers, and carefully defined indoor and outdoor dining spaces. The surrounding walls featured original art by contemporary painter Kathryn Hackney. Our table was well appointed with the right options for true experiential dining. During a pleasant discussion over a couple handmade beverages from the BowEdison Fine Drinks cocktail menu (Pisco Punch, The Happy Tree, Marty’s Martini), we began our culinary journey with selections from the Happy Hour Bites, Dinner Starts, and SaladSoup menus.

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We started with the Cornmeal Blini featuring a stacked presentation of corn pancakes, smoked salmon, whipped goat cheese and crème fraîche, sprinkled with fried capers. This two cake starter was a perfectly light introduction of good things to come. Next in line – clams. Not your regular wine-butter-bathed bivalve mollusks. This fresh clam bowl packed a bit of a punch! Sourced from the best locally-owned shellfish farm, the Blau Oyster Company Manila clams were paired with kielbasa, jalapeño, white wine, and served with a couple tastes of toast. From there we jumped into the Burrata Caprese (one of many gluten-free options found on BowEdison menus). The creamy Burrata were nested together and covered by a sweet and savory blend of local tomatoes, strawberries, onion, basil, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Delish! I might just order a double next time. Last on our tasting list were chicken livers. Now I am not usually a liver eatin’ kinda girl, but there was something very compelling about the menu details that called to me. Found on both the Happy Hour and Dinner Starts menus, the BowEdison Chicken Livers are courtesy of Well Fed Farms, presented in a shallow bowl sautéed with bacon and apples, then finished off with brandy and a little side of toast. Let me just say, you definitely have to try this once! There were many other tempting Meals on their Dinner menu to ogle over, but Dan insisted we save room for a second craft cocktail and the Bow Hill Blueberry Shortcake dessert – Bow Hill blueberries, sweet ricotta, gluten-free shortcake, and fresh whipped cream.

I’m not into rating restaurant experiences, because I truly believe well-prepared food is an art – the Culinary Arts. And while Yelping may be a good way to find out what’s hot in the hood, I think it’s best to go with local recommendations. There is always a good reason to take a ride up Chuckanut, visit one of our exceptional art galleries, and plan your day around a deliberate dining experience with Chef Marty Bracken and GM Bridget McShane. These ladies are bringing a whole new level of culinary creative goodness to Skagit.

  • Established: September 2016
  • Hospitality Included!
  • Menu:

Meet Founder and Publisher: Sandra G. Benton

The leader of small but fierce team of dedicated writers, photographers, designers, and artistic influencers, Sandra is the one who keeps believing this thing we call The SAM SandraBenton_kProject is real.

Sandra is a dreamer and a do’er, a maker and creator. Her life-long connection to the arts has been expressed through many mediums including, written and spoken word, illustration, painting, design, interpretive dance and song, tinkering with ukulele, and too often overly dramatic performances to intimate, unsuspecting audiences (a.k.a. friends, families, complete strangers).

A business development and communications professional by-day, Sandra is determined to shine a light on those who have a vision to create and are willing to share their special artistic gifts with the rest of the world.  Contact Sandra anytime at

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