Munchbar to open new restaurant at Bellevue Square | Celebrity events to mark opening

The new Munchbar at Bellevue Square will join the Eastside’s social dining scene starting Jan. 28 with two weekends of celeb and VIP events.

The new 6,300-square-foot restaurant and bar in Bellevue Square will show off what it’s all about: artisanal comfort foods, eclectic microbrews from Washington, wines straight from Sonoma County and creative cocktails.

The concept is the brainchild of restaurateurs Robert Frey and Bart Mahoney of Las Vegas-based Munch Group. For 20 years, Frey has built a career creating innovative hospitality experiences in Las Vegas, while Mahoney has led food and beverage teams at such Las Vegas megaliths as CityCenter and Bellagio.

“We are incredibly excited to be expanding the Munchbar concept to Bellevue,” said Frey, managing partner. “At Munchbar, we invite our guests to interact in the playful atmosphere while enjoying an easy gourmet meal with good company and top notch service.”

Munchbar features a modern pub concept that appeals to comfort food lovers, the area workforce, Eastside families, and anyone hitting downtown Bellevue day or night.

It has a graffiti-illustrated interior that utilizes the talents of famed contemporary graffiti artist Jordan Nickel.

Much like its Munchbar Las Vegas predecessor, which opened last spring at Caesars Palace, Nickel creates a pop-savvy environment of pattern and color. Adding to the bold aesthetics, guests can chalk it up on oversized blackboards without vilification, vibe on kinetic music, and catch the latest game on one of many high definition televisions.

As the sun goes down, Munchbar will transform into a fresh and funky ultra lounge (10 p.m. to close), complete with special celebrity appearances and nonstop beats from guest DJs.

The Bellevue culinary team is led by local all-star chef Seis Kamimura, formerly of Wolfgang Puck Catering and BOKA Kitchen + Bar in Seattle, Postrio in San Francisco and Spago Beverly Hills.

“When developing the items on the Munchbar menu, we strived to incorporate only the freshest local ingredients and produce as possible,” explained Mahoney, managing partner. “I think guests will be pleasantly surprised by the affordable food and unique beverage selections Munchbar has to offer.”

Menu examples include munchies such as the “pizzadilla” with pepperoni, creamy tomato cheese sauce and basil in a flour tortilla ($11). The burgers ($15-16) include hand cut fries); a turkey burger comes with fennel-mushroom stuffing, cranberries and herb mayo; and the short rib patty melt is featured on rye.

Comfort entrees also line the menu, such as Kobe beef chili with spicy jalapeno cornbread ($14); and grilled tuna with roasted fingerling potatoes, spinach, and lemon vinaigrette ($22). One of the desserts is Nutella cake with caramel, bananas and whipped cream ($8).

The restaurant will have a full bar.

This weekend's opening events will include a Detlef Schrempf Foundation private event with EXTRA TV personality Mario Lopez on Friday (open to the public after 8 p.m.)

Guest DJ – Saturday.

Former UFC Heavyweight Champion Frank Mir hosts UFC viewing party and NFL running back Larry Johnson plays DJ on Feb. 5.

The restaurant will host a Super Bowl party on Feb. 6.

Munchbar will be at 505 Bellevue Square, adjacent to the skybridge to Lincoln Square in Bellevue; phone 1-888-68MUNCH.

Hours are 11 a.m. to close daily.

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