BEST BURGER

Runner-up: Portway Tavern, Astoria

Honorable mention: Dairy Maid, Warrenton

BEST CHEF

Runner-up:Dan Brownson, Carruthers

Honorable mention: Andrew Catalano, Street 14 Cafe

BEST CLAM CHOWDER

Runner-up: Buoy Beer Company, Astoria

Honorable mention: Silver Salmon Grille, Astoria

BEST FINE DINING

Runner-up: Carruthers, Astoria

Honorable mention: T. Paul’s Supper Club, Astoria

This isn’t the first time the popular Seaview restaurant on the Long Beach Peninsula has won first place Readers’ Choice awards for Best Burger, Best Clam Chowder, Best Chef and Best Fine Dining.

“We’re honored,” said Nancy Gorshe, manager and proprietor at The Depot. “At the same time,” she added, laughing, “it makes us nervous every year.”

Diners who have enjoyed the restaurant’s regular offerings of rib eye steak or southern comfort pork — a slow braised pork shoulder that pairs sweet and savory and so delights one customer he has told executive chef Michael Lalewicz that it would be his choice for a last meal if he ended up on death row — see no reason for the nerves.

The restaurant, which opened 16 years ago, is housed in Seaview’s historic train depot. Trains that passed through the depot transported mail, passengers and thousands of sacks of oysters.

Gorshe and Lalewicz say they are lucky to have a fabulous staff, some of whom have been longterm employees. In the kitchen, sous chef Jamie Gisby has been with them for 12 years while junior chef Roger Moorley has been there for 10. Longtime server Don Porter earned a second-place mention in this year’s Reader’s Choice.

“We could not be doing this without our amazing team,” Gorshe said.

Lalewicz and his kitchen change The Depot’s menu twice a year, following the seasons and using fresh ingredients. Simplicity is often key.

Take that award-winning chowder, made with only a few ingredients and fresh oysters. Lalewicz decided not to include bacon, often a popular ingredient in clam chowders, opting instead to bring the flavors of the oysters to the forefront.

Every Wednesday from October through June, The Depot holds a burger night. Diners design their own custom burger from a list of possible ingredients that include options as basic as lettuce and tomato to less common toppings like avocado, pineapple and a friend egg.

Special wine dinners, where dishes are paired with specific wines, allow the restaurant to branch out in its offerings.

Lalewicz designed The Depot’s first menus around foods he himself loved to eat — an approach that continues to guide the restaurant.

“I just wanted to make things that I liked, things that I craved and savored,” he said.

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