Rifugio's Country Italian Cuisine

A Farm to Table Culinary Destination

 Rifugio's Country Italian Cuisine is an Eclectic Italian Restorante well worth the drive into the countryside. Just fifteen minutes outside of Bellingham in beautiful Deming, Washington. We source local ingredients use the highest quality products able. It takes time to have a great experience. So sit down relax and enjoy. Our site will lead you through our menu, venues, specials, local events, peoples experiences and stories of food, love and life.

Note: eclectic - deriving ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources. 

Warmth & Love to all.............. Mr. Rifugio

HOW DID WE GET HERE ( a story and research into food trends and restaurant memes )

“Have it Your Way” is challenging for local restaurateurs
Written by Executive Chef Richard Balogh, Edited by Chef at Large Arlen Coiley


Bringing great food and hospitality to people is my passion and I work hard for it, as do many other people in this community from chefs to servers, farmers to fisherman. Our hope is that we can create something that is truly good, share it with people, and have it be appreciated. But, because we live in a culture that has been trained that the ‘customer is always right,’ it has caused a tug-of-war between a chef’s craftsmanship and a customer’s specific preferences. The Burger King Jingle of "have it your way" sums up this epidemic. Yes, I call it an epidemic because it's gone too far. It erodes the very core of artisanal work. People want to have it their way, no matter the cost to the restaurant, the community, or the culture of dining in general, without paying for it. They want special care and support without offering it in return. I’d like to offer that the food we make doesn’t belong only to our customers, but to us as the creators, the chefs too.

You can’t always have it your way. Restauranteurs lose money due to spur of the moment changes to menu items and lost efficacy of execution. At times we have had customers make requests to have ingredients removed, and then be surprised why the dish is the same price when paying their bill. Customers simply don’t know how much it costs in money, time, and energy to develop and provide quality food for them. With all of the ailments or possible allergic reactions, to the sharp rise of food intolerance, giving people what they want has become an obstacle course through our own menus. While we’d like to be able to appeal to everyone, when I am completely picking apart and reshaping a dish on my menu because a customer likes the idea of it, but is ‘trying to avoid’ half of the things in it, I can’t help but feel defeated. Or when someone says “I am dairy free and cannot have it in your pasta” then orders a latte after the meal, it makes me understandably upset.

People want high quality, locally sourced ingredients, but the minute the price begins to reflect that extra food cost, it becomes “too expensive”. Our kitchens are not your home kitchens and we are not your personal chefs. We provide a more holistic experience within a community of people, sharing our joy of food with many. It is a shared experience, not any one individuals’.

Those of us that stay in this business truly love it and that is not going to change, but if we are to survive as an industry, we need to strengthen the respect between chef and customer that has been lost somewhere along the way. It is time for us to find better ways to communicate with our customers about things we consider foundational to businesses – our menus, and specific dishes. It is time for us to be better than the dime-a-dozen fast food options of low quality, low health, and low class that line our freeways.

We are part of what may be the most ancient craft and art form in human history, and it is usually provided as a service based in care and simple joys. All I ask is that we try to move forward on a path of dignity for both the customer and the chef.  To our dear customers, we challenge you to be vigilant in your pursuit of great food, the story of where it is coming from and the love and labor it took to produce it. However, we also challenge you to engage in an exercise of trust and respect for those that produce it and bring to your table. It will add depth to your soul and life, and you will be grateful to it in the future.

Rifugio's Year End Weekend of 2018

Rifugio’s says thank you for a wonderful 2018.

We are open this Holiday Weekend Thursday - Sunday with our normal Hours of operation. Come join us for a delightful brunch or dinner. If you have large groups please book in advance so we can accommodate your party. Join us at our Chefs Table for conversation, great food, and fond memories of year past.

In the new year we will be focusing more on the Just 8 Chef’s Table Service where we can give focus to our guests and their experience. Vegetables, local ideas and ingredients in a creative delivery will be our focus.

Our dinning room will focus on a casual lounge experience serving small bites, wines, beers and coffee. Our monthly FEAST which happens at the beginning of the month are not to be missed. Sign up now.

Happy New Year to all and thank you.

Christmas Time at Rifugio's

Greetings to all and all a good night on this windless day. Not like the two days prior though. I know many are without power and staying in doors and warm. We at Rifugio’s without power are taking time to clean up around the property with all the branches that have fallen and getting a head of the snow that is coming they say next week. We will keep you posted as to when we will be open once again to serve our patrons that we care so much about.

There are many things changing at Rifugio’s, as always. We have updated our physical bar that we call the CHEF’S TABLE, and have seating for 8 people now and are so happy. We now have the personal interaction that comes from sitting at the Chefs Table with our customers. Take the opportunity and come sit with us and dine on the line and see all the action. If you wish to then go have your drink in the lounge by all means please do. This is what we will be encouraging our patrons to do in the future when our new menu comes out. So… Stay tuned.

Mr. Rifugio

Food Diets

when reading and re reading the book by Michael Pollan “Cooked” I am intrigued by the thought of how to get Americans to eat less. He was speaking to a food historian about this and asked how to get Americans to eat less. He in short said Americans can eat anything they want but they simply have to cook it themselves. From start to finish. 

There is a lot lost communally when food is pre maid for us.  

Lesson learned from this? Let us cook more together  


Just the word “BOUNTY” conjures up many ideas of prosperity, wealth, healthiness to name a few. I find it popping up in different ways in which it affects the world and how we live. When reading a Instagram post from Rene from Noma on 9/14/18 speaking of transitioning from a vegetable focus menu to a meat focus menu. He spoke of it in a similar vain as another author is using it. David Christopher who has written “The Holy Universe”, a book that was gifted to me by a friend spoke of using the word “BOUNTY” in place of “RESOURCE” as a more respectful perspective and way of approaching life. Resource in our modern age has meanings that denote supply, things that can be used and discarded and that humans are disconnected from the resource. I believe society and culture are moving, with hope, into a different direction. Where with respect to our environment in which we are woven into and interconnected like a web we need to be mindful of where and what we use. For me and in relation to this Blog its food and its story. What is the life of a carrot, a cow, a pig, a potato? How can we use “all” of what is given? How is culture interwoven into almonds in Sicily for example?  How can we harvest in the spirit of leaving some crops in for next year and generations to come.

with Love 

Executive Chef  

Richard Balogh