You’ve passed it dozens of times — a simple stand-alone building at Sequim’s east end.
The business it houses first opened shop in Anchorage and appeared here a quarter-century ago.
Gwennie sold her namesake restaurant in the land of the midnight sun, retired, and moved to Sequim to be near family.
The transition to Sequim came easy. Retirement? Not so much.
It might have been a bit of homesickness because when Gwennie found Crazy Eric’s Drive-up available, Gwennie’s soon was back in business, serving up omelets and scramblers, hotcakes and waffles, “gourmet” burgers and sandwiches.
Comfortable as an old pair of slippers left by the fire, that’s Gwennie’s. Over the years the restaurant has amassed eclectic knickknacks: a jumbo fish lure, snowshoes, birdhouses, a totem pole, a big Alaskan bell that “once called timber workers to drinks on the house” and a colossal tin rooster that “took five men to carry it.”
Knickknacks are fun to ponder but they don’t take away hunger pains. This will: steak, chicken and seafood lunches guaranteed to leave you more than satisfied.
“Almost everything” is made right there in Gwennie’s kitchen.
As they have for years, regulars file in for breakfast or lunch. Some even come for breakfast and come right back again for lunch. It’s family.
As for the menu, sauce and dip sandwiches are well-represented. There are beef, French or hamburger dips with salad/potato salad/soup/fries, also hot turkey or beef sandwiches. For BBQ lovers there’s a beef brisket dip, but the most popular is the “Oakie Pig” filled with smoked pork, coleslaw, onion, and slathered with BBQ sauce on a hamburger bun and served with crispy fries. Or try the Santa Fe chicken sandwich: grilled tender chicken breast, avocado, bacon, tomato, cheese and herbed mayo on ciabatta with salad and choice of potato.
Not too hungry? There are “smaller portion” versions of many dishes including roast turkey and dressing, deep-fried boneless chicken breast, hamburger steak with grilled onions, and the very popular chicken fried steak (with sausage gravy) that’s “big, fresh and tender” according to the mistress of ceremonies.
And if you go with the smaller portions, you’ll have room for deep fried mushrooms, Hood Canal steamers, jalapeño poppers or chili. Or hot homemade soups. How ’bout chicken & dumplings or Gwennie’s Mexican soup filled with hamburger, pinto beans, and stewed tomatoes. Both are good and hearty.
The only time Greg and I had to squeeze in a meal was at 10 in the morning. Ten in the morning or not, I had a hankering for a burger and fries, and I got what I wanted. Served on a fresh bun sprinkled with corn meal, my hamburger was layered with fresh lettuce, tomato, Bermuda onion and sweet pickle. Once I got my bottle of catsup, I was good to go. (This is where restaurants lose money with me: I can do some real damage to a brand-new bottle of Heinz.)
Everyone I know who loves Gwennie’s absolutely raves about the homemade biscuits and gravy. Greg ordered that and I stole a big bite. This is a biscuit and gravy lover’s bliss. You can make it a meal — ’cause “breakfast is served all day” — or pair it with eggs and sides.
Our waitress, Rhonda, was stellar when it came to personality and service, but she almost lost her hand when she attempted to separate me from what was left on my plate. I don’t think she will attempt that in the future.
No matter, waitresses have been there for years. Rhonda has worked at Gwennie’s for a decade and now her daughter waits tables, too. The cooks have been there almost as long as the restaurant. That tells you something. With a twinkle in her eye, Gwennie says of her wait staff team, “We’re all girlfriends and we fight like girlfriends.” Yep, definitely family.
In addition to those biscuits smothered in gravy, Greg ordered the Mexican Scramble, which mixes fresh eggs with a flavorful blend of seasoned taco meat, served with steamed tortillas and “shredded potatoes” (more like crispy thin-sliced home fries). The excellent homemade salsa was filled with chunks of fresh tomato. Not listed on the menu but a popular choice when available is Gwennie’s Dungeness omelet.
Raisin vanilla French toast sounds like a good pick, too. Other choices are German or smoked sausage and eggs, and corned beef hash. And Gwennie’s serves buckwheat hotcakes! Give ‘em a try.
Those with celiac problems will find a sympathetic ear and menu. Gwennie goes the extra mile to prepare items in a separate pan.
They say, “Make new friends, but keep the old; one is silver and the other’s gold.”
If you haven’t been to Gwennie’s in a while, you’re missing out on some darn good down-home homemade fare. And here’s another plus: You’ll probably bump into your friends and neighbors.
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