As the Tri-City area continues to grow, we are seeing an influx of new restaurants and eateries. Kennewick just so happens to be at the epicenter of this culinary explosion. There are a number of excellent places to grab a bite to eat in the largest of the three “Tri-Cities.” In fact, there are far too many options to cover in one article, so I’ve narrowed the list to three options. Each of these three are worth a visit, if only to experience their unique menus and styles. If you plan on spending any time in the city of Kennewick, these local hotspots are guaranteed to be worth your time!

Bella Italia | 7000 W Okanogan Place

If you’re on the hunt for a quiet, authentic, and possibly romantic Italian experience near Columbia Center, Bella Italia has what you’re seeking.  The menu is vast and right out of Tuscany, as is the architecture of the building.  In accordance with normal late-night Italian dining, it closes at 9:30 P.M., a bit later than many Tri-City restaurants.  The feeling in the restaurant is serene, with music that encourages the mood, and service that is centered on the diners.  There is a slow and fluid pace that creates a more comfortable engagement with the cuisine.  The owner/chef is from Italy and brings the flavors and aromas of Italia to this Kennewick restaurant. Of course there is a full bar that specializes in distinct wines. You will find private parking at the restaurant and an outdoor seating area for the summer months.  If you are attending an event at the Toyota Center and want to go out to fine dining afterwards, make a reservation at Bella Italia.  

Foodies Brick & Mortar | 308 W Kennewick Avenue

Foodies has humble roots in the Tri-Cities, originating as a food cart before eventually graduating to a brick and mortar restaurant on Kennewick Avenue. Some time later, after gaining significant local notoriety, a sister location, Foodies Too, was opened in Richland. Both locations have been successes, and are usually quite busy. Offering a wide variety of fresh takes on American classics, Foodies manages to breathe new life into a seemingly over-saturated market. The cherry on top? Every meal is served with the accompaniment of one or two tootsie rolls. Be sure to ask your server about the story behind this practice. 

The Crazy Crab Place | 131a Vista Way

It can be difficult to find quality seafood in the Tri-Cities. Outside of a few select restaurants (I’m looking at you, Anthony’s), it would seem as though the seafood scene in our landlocked portion of the state isn’t quite up to par with the other side of the Cascades. However, things changed recently with the opening of the Crazy Crab Place in Kennewick that specializes in so-called “seafood dumps,” where a massive sack of crab, shrimp, clams, mussels, and other delectable oceanic treats, soaked in your choice of spice, is poured onto the table for everyone to share. This means that it would be a minor miracle to leave the restaurant on an empty stomach. What differentiates The Crazy Crab from other similar restaurants is the twist of Mexican fare of fresh limes, tasty margaritas, and an assortment of south of the border brews. It makes a perfect blend of Puget Sound seafood and the flavors of Jalisco!

As the Tri-Cities growth continues, local restaurateurs are showing how excited they are to share their “foodie” passions with us and we are certainly the winners.  Small, privately owned restaurants are springing up and are definitely some of the favorites of our communities.  Go out and explore one of these local restaurants this week and enjoy a unique taste of Kennewick! 

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