Remember the Riptide restaurant and lounge on the east end of Washington Street? It served Sequimites for 20 years. The owners, deservedly, tried to retire and new owners installed their mall storefront Tailgate Pizza take-out in the space.
Dreams die hard and this one collapsed within weeks. And there it sat. Waiting ... and waiting.
Enter Debbie Seavy and Ken Cram, owners of the Oasis Sports Bar & Grill practically just across the street. And, ta da! A new eating establishment was born.
Meet the Islander Pizza & Pasta Shack.
The first impression, if you take a tour around the place, is ... it's big. There's the main dining room right there with a view of the traffic on Washington Street.
Walk a little deeper into the building and you'll discover a well-appointed sports bar with booths. And farther into the space is another eating area, adjacent to the salad bar.
And, there's also a video arcade for those with St. Vitus' dance who can't sit still until the food arrives.
As my friend Judie and I "hung a right" at the door, we were greeted with a life-size (?) surfboard totin' Sasquatch. I put that question mark in because I haven't run into a Sasquatch lately and - who knows? - this statue may not be scientifically accurate.
You definitely get the feeling you've happily washed ashore on a South Seas island. A prominent display case in the main room is devoted to Jimmy Buffet paraphernalia - including an autographed guitar - complete with blow-up sharks in homage to his beloved "Fins" ditty.
Once Judie and I did the tour, we ordered at the front service window and were told to take our seats and our meal would be brought to our table.
Besides pizza, the Islander offers make-your-own salads as well as prepared salads. There's antipasto, chef's and Caesar. Judie chose their Greek salad made with baby spinach, kalamata olives, artichoke hearts, feta cheese, cucumber and red onion.
What do you think of when you think Italian food? How about tomatoes? The salad bar was strangely lacking this nightshade fruit. But our cheery and attentive waitress had some on our table in a flash. Judie put some in her Greek salad. She pronounced the spinach was fresh and the salad tasty.
Why am I always referring to who accompanies me on my restaurant forays? Simple answer: That way I get to sample more of the menu.
The Islander offers hot and cold subs: Philly cheese steak, meatball, Italian and veggie (with Provolone cheese, red onion, bell pepper and mushrooms on a toasted roll with house mayonnaise). Their Islander sub has chicken, pineapple and jalapeño peppers.
There also are panini sandwiches to choose from. Panini is plural in Italian for a small loaf of bread - usually ciabatta. Bread lovers like me find it mighty tasty. Islander offers several: roast beef and cheddar, turkey and red pepper, and the Northwest (with sliced pepperoni, salami, mozzarella cheese and house mayonnaise).
You'll also find calzone here ... which is basically an inside-out pizza. You have your choice of any two toppings and, of course, it's filled with mozzarella.
The pasta dishes are served with garlic bread and you can add chicken, shrimp or smoked salmon (for $2). On the menu: spaghetti with marinara, creamy fettuccine Alfredo with a hint of nutmeg, manicotti, baked lasagna and linguini with pesto. The tortellini gorgonzola comes with diced tomato, spinach and cream sauce.
Ocean fare for the Northwest seafood linguini in white wine sauce is "ever changing" and might include clams, mussels, shrimp or smoked salmon.
And of course, there's pizza. And here's where the Islander Pizza & Pasta Shack excels.
We love thin-crust pizza
and that's what we got. I ordered fresh tomatoes for ours and
the pizza came with huge beefsteak tomato slices covering a pizza pie with plenty of cheese - no need to ask for extra.
You can choose from the Islander's own pizza creations: there's a taco version, sweet barbecue, Hurricane Ridge white (white sauce, mild green chili peppers, diced chicken breast and melted cheese), cheeseburger (no, not a real cheeseburger - a pizza cheeseburger), garlic chicken, Greek, Hawaiian and marguerita (with pockets of mozzarella cheese, tomato, garlic and lots of fresh basil).
The signature "Islander" pizza comes with pepperoni, sausage, cheese, mushrooms, olives, tomato, onion and bell pepper.
But you can design your own with two dozen choices including linguica sausage, Canadian bacon, artichoke hearts or tortilla strips (add smoked salmon or shrimp for $2).
Pizzas come in small (12 inches), medium (14 inches) and large (18 inches).
So far it's the pizza standard for these two girls.
Shelley Taylor and her husband relocated to the peninsula from California and are active in property tax reform issues. By her own admission, Taylor likes to eat.
The Sequim Gazette is located at 147 W. Washington Street in Sequim.
Business hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Phone 360-683-3311, or toll free at 800-829-5810. FAX 360-683-6670.
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