Mill Haus Cider Co. opens gorgeous outdoor-indoor space with menu of smoked meats
Mill Haus Cider Co. in Eatonville has opened its first tasting room and restaurant – with one of the most gorgeous outdoor spaces I’ve seen in Pierce County.
The cidery will showcase its own cider lineup, has a menu of smoked meat sliders and tacos and is a live music venue much needed on that side of Pierce County.
Here’s what you need to know on a first trip. Mill Haus Cider Co. opened three weeks ago.
MILL HAUS CIDER BACKGROUND
Mill Haus Cider Co. has been bottling since 2017 and this is their first tasting room space. It’s phase one of a few phases that will eventually include a larger pub and kitchen and eventually a distillery. For now, traverse the gorgeous indoor-outdoor space with a menu of smoked meats that are prepared on site in side-by-side wood pellet smokers located just outside the back door. The tasting room is right in the middle of Eatonville.
Mill Haus is owned by Steve Schmidt, wife Christina and their son Caleb. Their business partners are Nick and Justin Baublits. This project has been in the works since at least 2018, with more than three years of design, permitting and construction work. The Schmidt family has been bottling for several years in a nearby warehouse space. Locals probably have seen the Mill Haus ciders at nearby restaurants and bottle shops.
MILL HAUS CIDER OUTDOOR SPACES
Traverse pathways – mostly pavers, but a few gravel areas – for a self-guided tour. The grounds are immense and beautifully manicured.
Covered outdoor seating spaces spread across a landscaped property that has a water wheel, fire pits, a pond, bocce ball courts, cornhole pits and an outdoor stage. The water wheel is crafted from reclaimed wood. Uncovered picnic benches and bistro tables are situated throughout the grounds. Find a huge covered fire pit area with seating for close to 40 at the back of the property.
Aside from a few private venues, I can’t think of a more gorgeous outdoor space that’s open to the public in that end of Pierce County.
All winter, it will be a great destination before Mt. Rainier tourism season turns the tasting room into a crowded scene next summer.
MILL HAUS CIDER INDOOR SPACE
Inside the lodge-like tasting room with open-beam construction, there’s also a small indoor stage, plus a cozy fireplace. There is seating for more than 30 with a mix of high-top and low-top tables. Table service is offered. Tables are equipped to hold two-to-six each with a mix of low-top and high-top seating, plus one large booth off to the side.
Two bathrooms are located on the back side of the building.
There were no barriers noted in the dining room and low-top seating will appeal to those on wheels. The bathrooms – clean and large – are located outside in a separate space on the back of the building. The pathway to the bathrooms is built from smooth pavers and should be accessible to those on wheels. No trip hazards noted.
THE CIDER MENU
Find six of the house ciders on tap with an evolving menu. Heads up: what I write about here might no longer be on tap because the cidery is generating a lot of interest right now.
The menu lists the ciders from sweet to dry, which is handy if you know which kind of cider you like. The must tries include the cidery’s gold medal winner – the Haus Cider with a crisp apple finish. If it’s available, get the huckleberry, which was luscious and jammy and a win for sweet cider lovers.
The cran-raspberry is for those who prefer a more tart cider. The apricot-peach was just as fruity-jammy as the huckleberry with a taste of serious summer fruit at the finish. The blood orange was on tap during opening week and it’s worth the drive to Eatonville alone.
Each pour is $6. Don’t settle for a single pour of each – get the cider sampler for $8. It’s an excellent way to get to know these ciders.
Mill Haus Cider Co. also serves beer from Northwest brewers ($6-$7 a pour). The opening brew menu listed Chuckanut Kolsch, Reuben’s Czech Pilsner, Everybody’s Mountain Mama Pale Ale, Bale Breaker Hazy L IPA and Black Raven Coco Jones Coconut Porter.
MORE CIDER IN SOUTH HILL
Make it a tour – on the drive out to Eatonville, on Meridian, stop by Fierce County Cider, which opened one year ago in South Hill. Like Mill Haus, the cidery has great seating, terrific cider and a rotating list of visiting food trucks. More info here.
THE MENU OF SMOKED MEATS
The well-priced menu is built around smoked meats, which you can smell from a few blocks away. The pellet-fed smokers are located just outside the back door, so you’ll get to breathe in a waft of dinner before ordering. The Mill Haus chef is George Moore.
The smoked meats show up on corn tortilla tacos ($10 for three) and Hawaiian roll sliders ($12-$14) and feature these smoked meats: Burnt ends, pulled pork and smoked chicken. The flatbread menu features six styles ranging from pepperoni to margherita, brie-and-apple, Mediterranean style and pesto-chicken ($10-$14).
Menu items are built with premium ingredients, which makes it even more wonderful that it’s so well priced. There’s also a starter menu that includes a house salad ($7), oven-warmed almond brie ($10), naan BLTs ($8) and naan tapas ($12).
I counted more than eight vegetarian-friendly dishes. I did not see any gluten-free or vegan items noted on the menu.
ON A FIRST VISIT ORDER THESE
Get the sliders built on sweet Hawaiian rolls. Burnt ends, sticky with a Korean-style gochujang glaze, spilled out of the sliders that were topped with a creamy coleslaw ($14). The pulled pork version was swiped with barbecue sauce and topped with a pineapple-jalapeno slaw ($13). The meats carried the distinctive scent of smoke and delicious glazes.
Pulled pork tacos also were a solid first-visit order with a trio of corn tortillas topped with juicy smoked pork, cilantro crema, chopped onions and cilantro ($10). There’s also a chicken version ($10). If you order one starter, make it the oven-baked brie, crusted with almonds, and served with naan on the side.
Yes, this is an all-ages destination and children even get their own kids meals on the menu. Priced $7 each, choose from pepperoni pizza, sliced apple grilled cheese, mini tacos or mini quesadillas.
LIVE MUSIC SCHEDULE
Check the cidery’s social media for live music schedule.
MILL HAUS CIDER CO.
Where: 303 Center St. E., Eatonville
Contact: 253-487-7065 or email@example.com
Hours of operation: Opens Wednesdays to Sundays. 4-8 p.m. Wednesday; 4-9 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 12-9 p.m. Saturday, 12-7 p.m. Sunday. Check current hours here.