What do you get when you cross apple cider brews with an open pit barbeque? A new dining experience at d’s Wicked Cider House & Tasting Room in Kennewick, that’s what.
Located at 9312 W. 10th Ave., d’s Wicked Cider recently introduced a full-scale restaurant menu to its offerings, providing visitors a full meal deal in addition to its 24 taps and existing appetizer menu.
Owner Daniel Washam — the man behind the ‘d’ in d’s Wicked — described the menu as “kind of Americana,” with an emphasis on high-quality, barbecued meat.
Washam said the inspiration for the menu came from he and other family members’ past dabbling in competition barbecue. He still had his barbecue pit, so he parked it out behind the tasting room’s kitchen.
“Several fresh authentic meats are grilled every single day,” he said, which go into nachos, tacos, Philly cheesesteak sandwiches, and more.
“(It’s) true wood-fired barbecue,” Washam said. “I bring in cherry wood every couple days. We help get rid of farmer’s prunings and turn it into something useful.”
More than just a tasting room and restaurant, d’s hosts live music Wednesday through Saturday, as well as trivia nights during the week and other fun events and entertainment.
Washam said that due to its growing popularity, d’s Wicked Cider is looking to expand.
“In the next few years, I would like to have a Knitting Factory/House of Blues-style venue for musicals, plays and concerts,” he said.
He said the idea is still somewhere in between the brainstorming and concept phase, so nothing is set in stone yet, but one thing up for debate is whether to construct the expansion at their current location, or move their entire operation to a new property and build it there in anticipation of ongoing growth.
Due to past issues involving zoning restrictions, Washam is interested in exploring industrial opportunities on land within Benton County, which might enable him to realize the diversified vision he has for his winery, restaurant and future entertainment venue.
Growth on the home soil isn’t the only form of expansion happening at d’s Wicked Cider.
Washam said he recently went on a trade mission to Seoul, South Korea, Hong Kong and other parts of Asia, offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration.
While on the trip, he met a broker interested in taking on new products, and thanks to that encounter, d’s Wicked Cider is now being sold in Taiwan, and will soon be heading to the Caribbean, South Korea, and other regions as well.
Domestically, d’s Wicked Cider is available in 14 states across the U.S.
Washam’s dream has come a long way since opening Sun River Vintners in 2009.
He and his family have celebrated booming success since adding hard cider to their line-up in spring 2013 after friends and family raved about their Baked Apple cider at a 2013 Super Bowl party, which they had made using a home brewing kit.
Since 2014, Baked Apple has held the No. 3 spot in the world for cider and No. 1 in its category on untappd.com, a website dedicated to sharing reviews of brews.
“I try to make the realest cider to me. We think our cider is good, but everyone has a different palate … and we try to cater to those, and when people make suggestions, we go for it,” Washam said.
“Our success has strictly been pull-through by people. All credit goes to our customers,” he added.
Yet, despite the critical acclaim and packed parking lot in the evenings and on the weekends, Washam said that there are still many Tri-Citians who don’t realize that d’s Wicked is made right here in their own backyard.
Washam recalled being at Yoke’s not too long ago, and upon walking through the alcohol aisle, saw a couple comparing one of d’s flavors and that of another company.
“You want that one,” Washam said, pointing to his own brew.
“Thanks,” they replied.
“Well, I suppose I’m a little biased,” he then admitted and pointed to his hat bearing the d’s Wicked Cider logo. “I’m D.”
He said the couple was flabbergasted and didn’t believe it was really him until he handed over a business card, not having realized that one of the ciders they were holding had been brewed from start to finish just minutes from their home.
“We’re trying to get out that we’re made here. We have customers who like us and they can come out here and experience it and go on a tour of production,” Washam said, adding that active and veteran military, police, firefighters, EMTs and teachers receive a daily discount.
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