As many of you already know, I grew up here on Whidbey Island. I’ve seen countless restaurants come and go, but one of the best things about the ebb and flow in our food industry, is that the majority of those businesses are LOCAL. Whether they stay 6 months, 6 years, or become a fixture of our little island, so many of these restaurants are opened by local folks, just like you and me… they could be your neighbor, the family next to you in church, or in front of you in the grocery store checkout line. And what is cooler than knowing that every time you eat out, you are supporting local families – Your own community?!
Sadly, we’ve lost a few good businesses in the past year, but there are still so many wonderful restaurants and cafes currently operating in Oak Harbor. Although it has brought many struggles, tears and unknowns to these businesses, so many of them have managed their “pivot” beautifully, and now even offer take-out, delivery, curbside-to-go, and other imaginative options to keep their doors open. So let’s support them!
Let me tell you about some of my personal favorites!
I think that one of my favorite parts of growing up here has to be Penn Cove Mussels. They have the best flavor of any mussel (fight me… It’s true, haha). So many places have fabulous recipes for their mussels that I love, and Scott and I enjoy cooking our own, at home. But, when we’re craving mussels that we don’t have to cook, Front Street Grill has my FAVE. Green Curry Mussels, over linguine! Mussels never fill me up, so the linguine add-on is a game changer. Your favorite, delicious sauce (they have several, and they’re all incredible) over noodles… It’s just… Perfect.
Front Street Grill >>> https://www.fsgcoupeville.com/
I also LOVE a good California Burrito, and El Cazador has the best California Burrito locally. It’s just so big, and smothered, and… yum! It’s perfectly packed with delicious steak, rice, beans and pico… then it’s SLATHERED in verde sauce (my absolute fave), topped with cheese, more pico, sour cream and guac. I always get the full size, with a side of rice and beans, because I get two entire meals out of it. 😉 They have in-house delivery, and even offer their specialty cantina drinks to go! They have a convenient app that you can download, as well. El Cazador >>> https://elcaz.com/
If it’s not a mussel night, and not a burrito night, maybe a burger is more up your alley? My favorite local burger spot is Flyers Restaurant and Brewery! The hurricane burger is my go-to, it has swiss cheese, grilled pineapple and teriyaki sauce – the savory sweetness is delicious! My girls’ favorite is their pickle chips! When I first introduced them to pickle chips, there was massive apprehension… fried pickles?? GROSS! That quickly changed. The comeback sauce it’s served with?? Delish! Flyers >>> https://www.eatatflyers.com/
And now a stop for dessert. How about Toppins Frozen Yogurt?! They’re currently doing take-out and even delivery! That’s the last thing I needed… a froyo delivery option, haha! But what a great option for getting that sweet fix without ever having to leave the house! Every time we’ve gone in to Toppins, we have received the BEST service. The employees always have cheer in their voice and smiles in their eyes. I truly believe their employees find joy in the magic children see in topping their own froyo. I, personally, love the fruit sorbets, topped with even more fruit… and gummy worms. 😉 My girls will mix just about anything together. https://www.toppinsfrozenyogurt.com/
If eating out or ordering out isn’t in the cards for you right now, there are a ton of other great ways to support our local food industry. Check out some local farmers and grocers (and farmers market during its season). Haggen offers a lot of local options, in their store. Stop by 3 Sisters Market, on the corner of Highway 20 & Holbrook Rd, between Oak Harbor and Coupeville. They have tons of local food, drink and gift options. They sell a variety of delicious options, including their own 3 Sisters meats, local produce, breads, cheeses, beer and wine! https://www.3sistersmarket.com/ Buy a gift card as a gift, leave a great review for your favorite local places to boost their visibility, buy merchandise or pre-packaged options. Save this blog post as a list of places to go back and try when you’re able. Just don’t forget about your small businesses and favorite restaurants, right now. And when you do get the chance to eat out, tip well (if you are able)… these servers took a huge pay cut when they lost their ability to serve tables.
With so many of our community restaurants and small businesses struggling to stay afloat, we’re hearing the phrases “support local” and “eat local” more than ever. But maybe this shift to a local focus, in our minds as consumers, will be a lasting positive in this whirlwind of negative that our community has been fighting through. Cheers!
Other great local options:
Frasers Gourmet Hideaway – Gourmet restaurant, located on Dock Street, near Fidalgo. We love their Brie Fondue. They’re currently offering takeout options, but take a little extra planning. They accept orders from Monday-Thursday to pick up your precooked, ready to reheat meals the following Saturday. https://frasersgh.com/
Kau Kau Korner – Awesome Hawaiian cuisine, with a great rotating menu. https://www.facebook.com/ikaukaucorner/
Caribbean Lunchbox – Delicious Caribbean food, located in a small stand on Goldie, near Ault Field. https://www.facebook.com/Caribbean-Lunchbox-1007398859298041/
Sweet Rice Thai – My FAVORITE Thai food, located on Pioneer Way. I enjoy the jasmine fried rice, with chicken and I love adding pineapple (notice a trend??). Their curries are also incredibly scrumptious. I can’t name which one I like best. https://www.facebook.com/SweetRiceThaiCuisine-OakHarborWA-139331382758834/
Noe Jose – The best breakfast, nestled in the Old Town Mall on Pioneer Way. I absolutely love their biscuits and gravy. The whole menu is really good, but it’s my go-to for yummy breakfast and great service. https://m.facebook.com/NoeJoseCafe/
Mi Taco is Your Taco – Awesome Taco Truck, located on Ault Field in the business area near the base gate. My favorite is going to Café De Lisio (a little coffee shop, right next to the truck) and ordering an Attitude Adjustor (delicious coffee drink) Americano style, iced with Bold shots, cream and adding the espresso whip cream to the top of it. I pair it off with a Mi Taco breakfast burrito (chorizo is my favorite). They heat them, right there, so it’s a one-stop coffee and breakfast stop. SOOOO yummy. https://www.facebook.com/Mi-taco-is-your-taco-478362762295755/
What are YOUR favorites, in this community?