One-night diner set to spring Clinton into food identity

South Whidbey chef Patrick Boin makes fettuccine at his house. He’ll be the lead chef at a pop-up dinner in Clinton on Saturday.  - Ben Watanabe / The Record
South Whidbey chef Patrick Boin makes fettuccine at his house. He’ll be the lead chef at a pop-up dinner in Clinton on Saturday.
— image credit: Ben Watanabe / The Record

The menu for the first Clinton Local Eats Opportunity this Saturday was up in the air five days before the doors opened.

Chef Patrick Boin’s reason? Freshness. After all, that’s the aim of the one-night only pop-up restaurant in Clinton, the culminating project of four Whidbey Island members of the Leadership Snohomish County Program.

“We’re trying to make it as fresh as possible,” said Sarah Boin, Patrick’s wife and one of the evening’s organizers.

“We’ll head to the Bayview Farmers Market and see what’s there,” she added, referring to the market that will open for the season this Saturday.

Four South Whidbey residents took part in the leadership program the past year and took on re-branding Clinton to help revitalize the ferry landing locale that has suffered in recent years with businesses closing and moving to other South End areas. Along with Boin were Whidbey Telecom co-CEO George Henny, Port of South Whidbey finance director Angi Mozer, and Coastal Community Bank branch manager Tara Long. They hope to draw on Clinton’s agricultural identity to bring in fresh produce for the inaugural dinner Saturday, April 26 at Clinton Community Hall.

Local is the name of the game, with featured menu items coming from Cedar Hill Farms in Clinton, Maha Farm in Glendale, and Willowood Farm of Ebey’s Prairie in Coupeville. Boin, formerly chef at the Braeburn Cafe in Langley and the Glass Alley Cafe in Freeland, will be in charge of preparing the family-style dishes for between 60 and 80 guests for the Flavors of Spring dinner. A chalk board at the Boins’ home has a working list of dishes: mixed greens salad, nettle greens pesto with fresh fettuccine (he was working on pressing and making the noodles himself in the weeks leading to the dinner), beef roast, and bread from Living Green Bakery in Langley. Comforts of Whidbey wine from Clinton will also be served with the meal. For Boin, a near lifelong chef who started as an Army cook and became a professional chef in Seattle and South Whidbey, the experience of seeing people convene in Clinton and enjoy his food will be worth the work.

“I’ve learned that when somebody says, ‘Oh my God, this is incredible,’ it’s like ‘Beethoven’s 9th,’ ” he said.

Speaking of music, South Whidbey farmer and musician Nathaniel Talbot will perform during the dinner.

Clinton organizers with the Chamber of Commerce, the Progressive Association and the Community Council hope the dinner will be a first step in many to jump-starting Clinton’s business core and give it a strong identity that can draw people from around Whidbey and across the water.

“What I have heard around is there really is a buzz of, ‘Clinton is the food center of the island, that’s a great idea,’ ” said Carol Flax, a member of the Progressive Association and manager of the Clinton Thursday Market.

The dinner will be served family style with large bowls around the table with a dish in it for the table to share.

“I hope that they will feel that they’re home,” Sarah Boin said.


Flowers of Spring

Tickets for the dinner and show at Clinton Community Hall cost $45 in advance or $50 at the door.

They may be purchased from Coastal Community Bank in Freeland, Whidbey Island Bank in Clinton or Wander on Whidbey in Langley.

For more information, contact Carol Flax at or visit


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