One of the greatest films of all time originally was titled “Everybody Comes to Rick’s.”
The wartime romance became legend as “Casablanca.”
Port Angeles’ Rick’s Place is oh so much closer to home.
It’s a neighborhood eatery and lounge that’s comfortable, not fussy. Think Cheers — only pleasantly funky. I was surprised to find out it’s had the same owner for nearly 23 years. Rick’s has become a downtown staple and a place that feels like home to the Coast Guard and Border Patrol.
Rick’s assistant manager, Darrin, partied after the show with fellow cast members of the comedy play, “Nude with Violin.” (Well, really he worked while we had a good time. Yours truly played Southern belle Cherry May.)
Our cadre of thespians arrived late on a Friday night and found the secluded, dimly lit lounge had just the right atmosphere.
Acting sure can make you hungry — as if I needed an excuse. I dug into a big burger and fries and it hit the spot. The fixin’s were fresh and crisp and those fries were hot and crunchy. Darrin made sure we were all happy as clams (or should that be hams? Sorry!).
Rick’s Lounge is where to go to whet your whistle with all manner of libations. Try draft beers like the Lucille IPA or Persnickety Pale Ale. For teetotalers there are lattes and cappuccinos.
A recent Event Night featured “The Big Lebowski,” which ran continuously on the TV. Patrons were encouraged to dress the part. Sounds like a hoot!
But let me tell you about the great deals to be had.
Every Sunday from open to close is “Unofficial Family Day” — up to two children per parent eat free.
There’s Happy Hour (4-7 p.m. daily): $1 off drinks, half-price appetizers, including tongue twister Red Pepper Poppers; Late Nite Happy Hour (11 p.m.-midnight); and daily specials like Thursday’s $2 glass of wine, $5 pitchers and all-you-can-eat buffalo wings ($7), or Tuesday’s $2 domestic bottles and all-you-can-eat wimpy burgers ($5).
Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 3 p.m. to closing, scarf down fish ‘n chips for $7. On Tuesdays and Thursdays have any burger and fries for just $6.
Breakfasts are $5 from 9-10 a.m. Monday-Friday. Shorty’s Late for Breakfast ($5, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. daily) offers choices such as chicken fried steak, biscuits and gravy, and gyro and eggs. From the regular breakfast menu try Angel Fries: zucchini, broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, red peppers and onions sautéed with diced potatoes and topped with Monterey Jack and cheddar cheese ($11). Shorty’s on a Budget $5 Menu (11 a.m.-3 p.m. every day) serves up grilled turkey cheddar or roast beef melt with soup and other sandwich selections.
Today Judie and I went for lunch. I ordered Cobb the Deli Way with grilled chicken and Caesar dressing, hold the bacon ($12). The general manager — and owner’s daughter — Eve, brought us samples of their house-made bleu cheese and ranch.
Almost everything served at Rick’s is made in their kitchen.
Rick’s regular dinner menu shows variety with Fresh From the Sea. Try the Captain’s Plate with sautéed prawns, scallops and cod and fried prawns, cod, and clam strips ($19), or charbroiled burgers and chicken (the Bayou Chicken Club has chicken breast, bacon, Swiss and cheddar cheeses, avocado, chipotle, mayo, lettuce, tomato and onion on grilled sourdough, $10).
Also on the menu are salads, pasta and specialties, for example a gyro with Taziki sauce on a warm pita ($10), and complete dinners served with stuffed or mashed potatoes, linguini or fries, soup or green salad. Rick’s Jack Daniel’s Flatiron Steak is smothered in sautéed onions and mushrooms and the restaurant’s own special whiskey sauce ($17). The Beef Shepherd’s Pie is made-to-order ($12).
Back to our lunch, Judie ordered a build-your-own Traditional Deli Style Sandwich. Her turkey with Swiss and tomato, onion, lettuce, pickle with mayo and mustard was dee-lish. I was a good friend and saved her from the burden of taking home leftovers.
Eve gave us a sample of her newest creation, the Wednesday soup special, Buffalo Chicken Soup.
Experimenting is something she does often and if you’re lucky, you might be asked to sample and critique. The soup was thick with bleu cheese, buffalo wing chicken, celery, carrots, and spices in a cream base. Sinfully rich.
Coming up is the newly-named-while-we-were-there sweet and spicy Dishwasher Special: fries, mac ‘n cheese, chili with beans, topped with beef sloppy joe. The recent monthlong Unnamed Burger Special had patrons offer ideas and staff make the final decisions. Now there’s She Loves Me, She Loves Me Hot with jalapeños and chili sauce, and The Intimacy Avoidance Burger with cheese and onions to choose from.
To die for moment: dessert! Rick’s regularly serves cheesecakes and such but Eve promised their pineapple upside down cake was irresistible. And who can turn down an “apple” from Eve? Not little ‘ol “devil may care” me!
Everybody goes to Rick’s. Once you try it, you’ll know why.
Shelley Taylor and her husband relocated to the peninsula from California. By her own admission, Taylor likes to eat.
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