Maynard “JJ” Meland, owner and chef of the greatly anticipated Maynard’s restaurant in Silverdale, is setting the bar high and redefining what a modern culinary experience looks like.
Maynard’s, coined as “Kitsap’s Culinary Destination,” is a combination of a restaurant, bar and a marketplace. The building sits on 2.7 acres just off of Bucklin Hill Road, overlooking the northern shores of Dyes Inlet, along with views of the Olympic Mountains.
“I want Maynard’s to be part of the community and not just a restaurant,” Meland said. “It doesn’t have one identity.”
The marketplace and private dining area total 2,000 square feet, with the restaurant and bar having a seating capacity of 335. An additional 150 or more can be seated on the deck and 160 parking spots will be available to accommodate all the things Maynard’s intends to offer.
One of the focal points of Maynard’s is the outdoor event center, which will play host to birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, concerts and comedy shows, Meland says. The outside lawn area will be able to fit more than 10,000 people.
“As the community reaches out, there’s going to be a ton of great ideas,” Meland said. “I want there to be something to do every day at Maynard’s.”
During the local growing season, the Central Kitsap Farmer’s Market will be located outside of Maynard’s. The nonprofit farmers market started operating there on July 23 and will continue to do so every Tuesday from 3 to 7 p.m.
“I think guests that are going to be coming to Maynard’s might also check out the (farmers) market,” Meland said. “It is agricultural focused and not as much into boutique items and crafts. We’re here to support them and highlight the farmers.”
The restaurant also provides an educational kitchen for various cooking classes and demos, as well as two private dining rooms that seat 40 people each. Both rooms can be combined to seat an 80 person room.
The cuisine is described as American with global influences and emphasizes local farm-to-table ingredients, such as natural, Northwest beef, poultry and seafood. Maynard’s bar will feature signature cocktails, beer and wine, with 20 beers and four wines on tap that continually rotate.
Meland comes from a restaurant family as well. His dad was an executive chef and his mother was a longtime hospitality professional who also worked in restaurant management.
“Since I was in a car seat I’ve been in kitchens,” Meland said. “My dad was an executive chef and had to watch me because they didn’t have a babysitter. He’d put me on the line and I’d just hang out. I grew up in kitchens so when I was 16, it was a no brainer.”
The endless accolades Meland has earned include being a certified executive chef from the American Culinary Federation, 2018’s Washington State Chef of the Year, and having a 4.0 with perfect attendance from the Western Culinary Institute.
His past occupations include serving as the executive chef of Silver City Restaurant, chef at Harbor Inn Restaurant in Gig Harbor, and most recently, a culinary arts instructor at Bates Technical College in Tacoma.
“The chef at the time said ‘get off my line, you’ll never be a chef,’ so that gave me all the motivation I needed,” Meland said of his time at the Harbor Inn. “Three months later they promoted me to executive chef.”
Even though Meland will be working in a new capacity as an owner, he still can’t hide his affection for creating dishes.
“I can’t stay out of the kitchen.”
Through his connections from the various culinary boards and administrations that he’s a part of, Maynard stated “we do have the strongest chef team in Kitsap County bar none.”
As far as handling and aligning all the resources for this monster of a project, Meland said the stress and time spent hasn’t bothered him too much.
“Being an executive chef, I kind of feed off stress a little bit; it’s a norm for me. I always had a clear vision in my mind and it was more difficult expressing my vision to the architects and interior designers.”
BCRA, a Tacoma-based architectural firm, designed the complex and Wilcox Construction built it after the ground breaking in the Fall of 2018. Maynard’s is projected to start business sometime in mid September. The total number of employees will be 100 full and part-time staff. Meland said they are still actively searching for kitchen staff.
“I used to joke and say ‘I’m living the dream’ but now I actually am living the dream,” Meland said. “I’m ecstatic.”
Tyler Shuey is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org