A new restaurant that opened earlier this month in downtown Centralia serves up food that fuses various kinds of Asian and American cuisine — combinations the spot’s co-owner, Elvie Croy, created on her own through years of experimenting with the dishes of her native home, the Philippines.
Elvie’s Bistro is located at 105 E. Center St. and is open Tuesday through Saturday from noon to 8 p.m.
“This has been my dream for quite some time — ever since I came to America, ever since I was a little girl,” said Elvie Croy, who co-owns the spot with her husband, Buddy Croy, a Centralia police officer.
Elvie Croy said she came to the United States in 1989, at the age of 19, with no cooking ability. She found herself missing the dishes that her mom prepared for her back in the Philippines, so they would talk on the phone every week — racking up quite the long-distance bill along the way, she added.
“I had to learn for myself, because I love Filipino food … I grew up on it,” she said, and through continual cooking, she mastered the recipes and started making her own.
She puts a lot of stock in her prime rib, Mongolian beef and lumpia — a fried spring roll filled with chopped veggies and meat — and would prepare food for family and friends and the Centralia Police Department Christmas party.
Buddy Croy said the spot on Center Street has been empty since 2012, after serving as a couple other restaurants. The Croys signed the lease in March, and have been preparing for business since.
Much of the work was spent getting the kitchen — which has been unused for over six years — ready for operation again, cleaning and touching up paint. Stairways leading to a loft area are currently blocked off, but Buddy Croy said the upper floor might serve as a lounge area of sorts sometime by winter.
Elvie Croy said the staff is pretty small, with her doing all the cooking, and one other person helping her with prep. She said she intends on being the sole cook, because she wants the recipes to be exact.
“It’s different serving the public than serving your friends at home, because every time I have a party, they all show up,” she said, saying it’s a bit of an adjustment preparing the food in the new setting, but adding that the responses from customers have none-the-less been positive.
She described the cuisine — which is served off of alternating lunch and dinner menus — as a combination of influences from Filipino, Chinese, Japanese, Italian and American cuisine.
Additionally, Elvie’s Bistro serves beer, wine and spirits.
The restaurant can be contacted at 360-736-3926.