Bite of the Palouse: Rico’s is actually good, no matter what I say

A second chance was all this spot needed to get back into my good graces



The fries could still be a bit better, Rico’s Jan. 13

CARSON HOLLAND, Evergreen columnist

Rico’s is the perfect example of giving a restaurant a second chance.

Among my friends, I was the loudest advocate against Rico’s and would try and curb our choice of food towards anywhere else. This all stemmed from one bad experience, accompanied by a subpar burger, which left a bad taste in my mouth as I left. But I could not stop my friends this time as they dragged me through the public house doors.

Though my initial complaints were surrounding the food, the atmosphere of Rico’s is something special. I love the pub feel, and it genuinely feels warm and inviting. You just really feel cool eating or drinking there, and that is something that most restaurants do not get right. In the warmer months, you are able to sit outside, getting a wonderful view of Pullman’s downtown.

With the atmosphere thoroughly checking the box, it is time to discuss the menu. I am not going to do Rico’s a disservice and talk about it generally, but rather break it down into both the drink menu and the food.

The food menu offers a decent variety of options that generally keep to the theme of pub foods. Expect lots of fries, pretzels and burgers. That being said, they do have some alternatives, such as seafood salads and sandwiches. I have a bone to pick with the Reuben burger, but for Rico’s redemption, I settled on the bratwurst.

The drinks menu is where Rico’s really shines. They have a great solution of beer, wine and other normal tertiary drinks that you expect from a pub, but for those over 21, I would point towards the mixed drinks. Whether you are ordering the oddly-named Booty Sweat or the sweet jolly rancher, all of the mixed drinks taste delicious and are the highlight of the spot.

Drinks at Rico’s function as a treasure map in which you hope to pick the right drink, and usually, the X marks the spot. Of course, the general rule for drinks still applies: make sure to ask your server for a particular taste you are after. If you do not like bitter drinks, then they should not be what you look for.

Service at Rico’s is hit or miss. That is not to say that the staff is unfriendly; the opposite is actually true. But the pub is usually pretty busy and the poor servicing staff has to run around to try and cover everyone. You may have to wait a while if you are looking for a second drink or for your food to come out, so buckle in.

Also, Rico’s was one of the first places I have visited in a while that made a big deal about alterations. That is something that I 100% understand, but sometimes it really throws the whole dining experience off.

But let us not dwell on the bad and transition to the good: Rico’s took its second chance and ran with it. The bratwurst was delicious, pairing really well with the jolly rancher drink that I got. The sausage had the perfect snap, and the flavor almost made me want to order another one. The fries were still hit and miss, but the fry sauce made up for that readily enough.

The portions were fine but nothing to write home about. I was able to finish my meal and feel satisfied, but that might have been because I did not finish my fries.

All this to say, Rico’s is a good spot.

It is difficult for everyone who knows me to understand what saying that actually means, but it provides an important lesson moving forward for all of us. So much of a restaurant experience comes from firsts: first impression, first bite and even that first look at the bill. A few bad things can ruin a restaurant, even if everyone else seemingly loves it.

You should give restaurants a second chance; trying a restaurant again could help you find a good spot to eat and redeem the eatery in your eyes. Rico’s did exactly that, and I am more than willing to hear my friends out when they advocate going there for the night.

For those of you who have not been to Rico’s, I would recommend trying it out if nothing else for the atmosphere and drinks. As I continue to explore the menu, I should be able to get a better picture of the food, but the feel and drinks alone are enough to earn my stamp of approval. The next target for me is their brunch menu.

If you know of some food spots that I have not tried yet that you are just dying to brag about to your friends, let me know by emailing [email protected].