Rob Oxford: Dinner is Served

Thursday, January 28, 2021


Dinner Is Served
Go to: www.neighborhoodgrills.com for menu and pricing

Ask people what it is they look forward to most once this whole thing is over and I’m going to bet many will say taking the family out to eat. Picking out a restaurant or like me relying on the same old favorite, getting dressed up (or not), sliding into a booth and setting aside a couple hours to be “waited on,” “pampered” and “served.” A chance to finally reconnect over a good meal and maybe a glass of Washington wine.

Of course, for a large family, dinner out can be rather expensive… but always, ALWAYS worth it. Besides, who says you ALWAYS have to take the kids?

It wasn’t something we did a lot when I was growing up. We tended to “live within our means” (a favorite saying of my Mother’s) and both my parents were excellent cooks. So, this left very little excuse for paying someone else to feed us. 

Dad was in charge of the Mess Hall at Madigan Army Hospital (JBLM) where quantity, efficiency and variety (in that order) were paramount in keeping the stomachs of our men and women in uniform full and satisfied. Where Dad’s specialty was quantity and efficiency, Mom’s was quality. Her Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding will never be beaten.

Restaurants, especially casual dining and family style establishments, have been hit hard by the pandemic. Many of our favorites are closed, some never to reopen and others are barely keeping afloat. The number of workers affected, who rely solely on the food industry to support their families, is astonishing. 

Thankfully with their patronage, our local community has done a stellar job in keeping some of the smaller, take-out only eateries in business.


In 2005, a space that had been sitting empty in Town Center for five years prior became The Lake Forest Bar and Grill.

The third franchise for the rapidly growing Neighborhood Grills restaurant brand, LFBandG helped revitalize what was a struggling Lake Forest Park Town Center and has been for many years now, one of its primary anchors.

John Schmidt, CEO of Neighborhood Grills, has been supporting the Shoreline, Lake Forest Park and Mountlake Terrace communities since the doors of his restaurant first opened. 

The list of clubs and organizations who’ve benefited directly from his company’s generosity is quite lengthy but worth acknowledging. North King County and Shoreline Little Leagues, Richmond Junior Football, Shorelake Soccer, Highlander Football Gridiron Group, Briarcrest Elementary, Shorecrest Boosters and PTA and presently the Shorecrest Senior Spree 2021. 

All are but just a few who have experienced success reaching their financial goals with help from John and his team at Lake Forest Bar and Grill.

Having never been a business owner myself, I was curious as to why John was so generous? Why is supporting the local community so important to him, when other restaurants (and there are many) don’t see the benefit? Why doesn’t HE say no? How could giving away free food possibly help a struggling business? With my last question I was sure I’d had him cornered.

I didn’t.

John explained that he, “…appreciates the opportunity to be community first and generous,” but that his first priority is running his business. A business that when in full operation employs and supports upwards of 300 people, but a business that understands the importance of being a community partner. 

John went on to explain that “every dollar spent promoting or sponsoring a nonprofit is paid for by extra business.” Business he may not otherwise have received were it not for hosting a successful charitable event, followed by a positive social media post or a personal recommendation to a friend.

With an emphasis on quality service, John and his business partners believe strongly in serving great food and in the community. Luckily for us philanthropy and profitably does indeed coexist.

A family-owned business, it is important to mention that LFBandG is responsible for introducing many of our young citizens into the workforce, mine included. A “first job” for some, the restaurant allows them to grow and experience different positions within the food industry, all the while instilling confidence and encouraging responsibility.

After 2 ½ months closure because of the pandemic, the Lake Forest Bar and Grill is once again open and we couldn’t be happier.

To celebrate, on the evening of January 29, 2021 from 4 – 7pm, all food proceeds will benefit “Shorecrest Senior Spree 2021,” the annual end-of-year celebration for our graduating Seniors. 
Orders can be placed for pick up (only) right now. Go to: www.neighborhoodgrills.com for menu and pricing.

There is finally reason for real optimism. Soon we will once again be joining our friends for happy hour at one of our favorite watering holes. You’ll find me at Lake Forest Bar and Grill, where unashamedly, everybody knows my name.

--Rob Oxford




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