by Jennifer Crain for OLY ARTS
Ricardo’s Restaurant moved to a new location this summer, with a larger dining room and options for private dining and events. Rick and Marie Nelsen’s popular Lacey steakhouse is known for its beef, dry-aged in house. The Nelsens serve rib eye, New York strip and filet mignon. “We also have our steaks for two,” Marie Nelsen says, referring to the Dijon-mustard-crusted chateaubriand and the showy, long-bone tomahawk prime rib. “Those have been a big deal.”
The beef served at Ricardo’s is from Pacific Northwest ranches, sourced through the Okanogan-based Double R Ranch. Greens and select vegetables come from Mari’s Farm in Yelm. The Nelsens buy clams from Olympia Seafood Company and eggs from Stiebrs Farms.
The menu includes upscale entrées like lamb, lobster and shrimp, made-to-order pastas, elegant appetizers, soups and organic salads. Chefs create daily specials; this fall, those specials included roasted corn risotto and grilled Alaskan sockeye. The bar opens daily for happy hour. Ricardo’s bartender recommends the Astoria Bianco, an updated martini made with Geranium Gin.
Rick Nelsen grew up working in Dirty Dave’s Pizza Parlor, founded and operated by his grandfather. In 2003 after stints at Olympia Farmers Market and two local restaurants, he opened Ricardo’s with his mother, Toni Wilson. The place was originally a pasta house, but when his interest in dry-aged steaks took root, the Nelsens visited spots that specialize in the craft to sample meats and quiz the chefs. After this pilgrimage, they began dry-aging their meats and turned their restaurant into a steakhouse.
The new banquet hall can seat up to 200 and is a full-service venue, with in-house catering and preferred vendors for everything from cakes to décor. There are already weddings on the books for next summer.
What: Ricardo’s Restaurant
Where: 676 Woodland Square Loop, Lacey
When: open 4-10 p.m. Sunday – Thursday;
4-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday
How much: happy hour $5-$10, appetizers $11-$15, entrées $17-$85
Learn more: 360-413-9995 | Ricardo’s Restaurant