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The Inn at Gig Harbor: Heritage Restaurant caters to all occasions

The Inn at Gig HarborAs one of only a few hotels in Gig Harbor, and the only full-service conference space — complete with guest rooms, catered food, audiovisual, WiFi and other services — The Inn at Gig Harbor is a popular destination.

Among locals, the hotel is a destination as well, thanks to the onsite restaurant, The Heritage. The Heritage has been voted as the best place for breakfast in Gig Harbor and the best place for a buffet, among other things; its chowder consistently lands in the top three spots at the annual Gig Harbor Chowder Cook-Off.

The award-winning restaurant caters to much more than tourists and the business crowd. It’s a family-friendly place that’s equally happy to accommodate special occasions, casual lunches and parties.

The Inn at Gig HarborParties, in fact, are somewhat of a signature at The Inn. It wouldn’t be uncommon to spot a real sleigh set up inside during the holiday season for a chamber of commerce get-together, an overturned Jeep parked upfront for a safari party, or a hundred snowflakes hanging from the ceiling for a winter wedding. The rooms of the conference center have seen rollerskaters, disco-clad revelers and even a recreated African schoolhouse.

“We’re fairly diverse with the events we do and we’re pretty accommodating,” said Kati Wright, catering and sales manager.The Heritage can seat up to about 50 people in each of its two rooms — one open for breakfast and lunch and the other for dinner.

“We have a very loyal following of people who really like our food, said Mona Sarrensen, hotel operations manager. “…We have a very peaceful atmosphere, with no echo and ambient noise. We find that people like to come here because they can have a conversation.”

The restaurant serves classic American food “with a Pacific Northwest flair,” all prepared fresh, with seafood (everything from Alaska halibut to calamari) and Northwest wines as the stars of the menu. Beer from the 7 Seas microbrewery next door is also available on tap, and visitors to the brewery’s tasting room can order appetizers to go from The Heritage.

Oliver Coldeen, who has been the chef for more than 10 years, is the executive chef who leads a team of chefs from diverse culinary backgrounds. That diversity is reflected in the seasonal “fresh sheet” on the menu, Wright said. Coldeen, well-known on the Key Peninsula for his smoked salmon prepared for an annual salmon bake fundraiser, had owned his own barbecue restaurant on the peninsula as well.

Recently, a new feature was added to the restaurant: live acoustic guitar music on Friday nights. The musician, an IT technician at The Inn, was so well-received that the music had returned weekly.

The Inn at Gig Harbor (www.innatgigharbor.com), locally owned and operated, opened doors in 1997 and currently features 64 rooms and 4,000 square feet of meeting space. In November, the lobby was remodeled.

Sarrensen said that being independently owned has allowed the business to adapt and stay flexible.

“We’ve adapted to the needs and wants of our customers,” she said. “…Because we’re not part of a corporation or chain, we have the ability to make decisions in the building without going through red tape. We’re empowered to make those decisions, and we like that.”

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