A new gastropub, Axe and Arrow, recently opened on the continually-thriving 4th St. in downtown Bremerton.
Owners, Jack Hastings, Tom Lemoine and Jeremy Burke, run the operation and define the new establishment as high-end dining with unique dishes and immense flavor. The restaurant held a soft opening on May 18 and then fully opened shortly thereafter.
Its location will join a revitalized 4th Street in downtown Bremerton that includes the Roxy Theater, Dog Days Brewing and the B-flats apartment complex. The continual growth of that block, along with the City of Bremerton’s plans for the $5 million Quincy Square project, made their current space ideal and attractive for their business model.
“The vision for this street is incredible,” Hastings said. “Quincy Square is going to become a destination for music and art. It will become the city’s event space.”
“Community involvement is very important to us. It wasn’t hard for us to see the potential that this place had. As soon as we heard it, we knew we wanted to be here.”
The menu will feature fresh seafood, prime rib, pork roast, Cornish game hen and elk burgers, among other dishes. Hastings said they focus on getting locally sourced food, with 86 percent of their meats coming from Washington.
Regarding beer and wine, Hastings said he wants Axe and Arrow to become a “destination for beer aficionado’s.”
“That is a major goal of ours. Part of our business plan was to send four of our employees to the University of Washington for a semester-long course that teaches them about styles of beer, the origins, how it’s made and how to identify flaws in beer,” Hastings said. “It’s really important when you’re serving beer to have that knowledge so they can make pairing recommendations.”
This kind of gastropub is something that Hastings has been dreaming of for over 10 years, he said. Hastings and Lemoine have known each other since their kids played water polo together at Peninsula High School.
“When we met, I was still on active duty in the Army,” Hastings said. “He always said if you’re going to do something out here, let me know, I’d love to do it with you.”
Lemoine works as a fire captain in California but lives in Kitsap. Both Hastings and Burke are veterans of the U.S. Army Special Forces and recently retired. The trio decided now was the time to pursue something special.
“I wanted to do something very different,” Hastings said. “I served for 32 years and the Army was great to me and my family. I was looking for a new challenge.”
Hastings accepted a position as a contractor with his old unit in Hawaii in order to earn seed money for his idea of a restaurant and brewery. He and Burke worked in the same office for that job where they continually talked about potential concepts and plans to get started on the project.
With Hastings and Lemoine already set as partners for the restaurant, they talked about bringing a third person in to complete the trinity. When Hastings called Burke about the proposal, Burke was just about to close on a house in New England, which is where they’re both originally from.
Within a month, Burke moved to Washington with his family, going all-in on the Axe and Arrow. He is credited with designing and building the bar, according to Hastings. The owners did most of the finish work in the space, building all the tables and seating.
“Collectively, we’ve spent thousands of hours working in this space,” Hastings said. “I’ve been here more than I’ve been at home. We would work 16-hour days sometimes getting this place ready.”
The gastropub is designed to be a bar and restaurant on one side and an event space on the other side. Live music will also be featured during some nights of service as well.
Axe and Arrow currently opens at 3:30 p.m., but they are looking to open at 11 a.m. once fully staffed. Hastings said he wants to eventually have 30 employees, but right now they are at 15.
“We’re looking for the right attitude,” he said. “People can learn to do the job, but it’s the attitude we’re looking for. We want to make sure our guests have the best experience.”
Hastings couldn’t be more thrilled with how business has been going since they opened.
“It’s been fantastic. The people have been really supportive. We want to make sure we continue in the right direction.”
Tyler Shuey is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.