Located on a triangular block alongside NW Pacific Avenue in Chehalis, McFilers stands out among the other buildings with its black exterior and large red neon sign. Once inside, there’s an immediate feeling of community, with large groups pushing the tables together as they enjoy their meals and individuals who just met chatting with each other at the bar.
McFilers opened in January 2019 and already carved out a niche within the community as a great place to go for food, drinks, live music and various community-oriented events. Tim Filer, who combined his talents (and last name) with fellow co-owners Eddie and Patrick McNally in creating the restaurant is a Lewis County native with a decade-plus experience under his belt.
“I worked at The Hub Bar and Grill in Centralia for thirteen-and-a-half years before Eddie, Pat and I decided to buy this place,” says Tim. “My mom actually worked at The Hub before I worked there, off and on for twenty-five years. I was working construction and different odd jobs until I was twenty-one. One winter, when all the work dried up, I went to my mom and asked for something to pay the bills. ‘Can I wash dishes, make pizza or potato salad in the back, whatever you need.’ So, she put me to work and three months later, I was the nighttime manager.”
Tim’s experience in the food industry resulted in a menu that puts his unique spin on appetizers, burgers, sandwiches and other dishes. The McFilers team’s love of music has influenced many of the menu items, such as the “Appetite for Destruction” burger. The steaks, featured every Thursday night, are named after songs by Rush “The Working Man” and Los Angeles punk band Fear “New York’s Alright”.
Wing Wednesday features an assortment of chicken wings including buffalo, barbecue, sesame, among many others, as well as several dipping sauces to choose from. At .75 cents a wing, customers enjoy a tasty meal without emptying their wallet. “It’s probably our most popular day of the week,” says Tim.
One of the weekly culinary events that’s receiving attention in and outside of the Lewis County community is World Tour Tuesday, or “Toursday”, where the McFilers crew selects an international or regional dish that rarely appears on most restaurant’s “specials” chalkboard. Past nights featured chicken with fufu from Gabon, seared pork belly with cilantro coconut slaw from Hawaii, and Romanian-style meatballs with eggplant salad. A variety of factors inspired Tim to feature these unique meals on a regular basis.
“We went away from taco Tuesday and went with something different because everybody does tacos on Tuesday and it’s hard to stand out,” explains Tim. “We wanted something new that would put us out there and I wanted to try my hand at something that the people around here wouldn’t get a chance to eat.”
“I don’t have a formula for choosing a specific dish,” he adds. “Justin Ames, our chef, and I sit down, and we base it off what protein to cook because people don’t want to see chicken every single week. If we select something with fish in it, then where can we go that is big on fish? That’s how we selected the fish curry soup with samosas from The Maldives. For our next international meal, we’re batting around England, maybe cook Beef Wellington, which is a little out of our wheelhouse but we like doing stuff that’s different.”
In addition to a diverse dining experience, McFilers hosts a variety of events from local and touring musical acts to a weekly Open Mic night where kids and high school students are encouraged to participate (up until 11:00 p.m.). For televised sporting events, the staff drops down their 180-inch screen at the back of the stage and fires up the projector. Tim is optimistic that a bustling nightlife scene in Lewis County is inevitable.
“This corridor between Portland and Seattle is a giant dead zone as far as touring goes,” says Tim. “We try to snag as many touring acts as we can. We’ve had bands from Texas, Ohio, Maryland – all over the place. We have enough people to support (a scene), we just need people to get the word out and work together, carve out our place on the map.”
Tim and his co-workers are already looking ahead to future McFilers-hosted events and with more international and home-cooked meals planned for their ever-growing clientele. For now, he’s grateful for all the feedback he’s received for presenting something different in his community.
“It’s finally to a point, with the advent of smartphones and everybody being able to watch Anthony Bourdain, that people’s food vocabulary has gotten broader over the last ten years,” says Tim. “They’re definitely willing to go out of their normal fried chicken comfort zone to try something they haven’t tried before.”
For information regarding McFilers’ weekly food specials, concerts and other events, visit their Facebook page. Minors are welcome until 11:00 p.m.
543 NW Pacific Ave.