Bob’s Chowder Bar – Review

Bob’s Chowder Bar in Anacortes WA is a fun little place that I spotted as I drove into town. After dropping mom and brother off at the ferry for their San Juan Island bike adventure, I headed back towards I-5 on the lookout for a place to grab a quick bite to eat. Since I was in an area so close to the ocean, with sailing boats and little bays in every direction – I decided that seafood was a must. Bypassing the Greek Islands restaurant that had been recommended to me – I headed straight for Bob’s.
This little place (hardly bigger than most drive through coffee stands) is surrounded by plenty of parking. And if you don’t want to park you can actually drive through and pick up something to go! Bright red with cute pictures of mermaids and such painted on all sides – this chowder bar is eye catching.
The front consists of a small red porch with a couple of picnic tables. There is also a little grassy side yard with extra outdoor seating and a few of those wooden cutout figures that call to you to stick your face where theirs should be and have some helpful friend take your picture. Inside this little drive through is a counter where you can order (and where you can watch the wraps and baskets being assembled), a long grill and stove top where a big pot of chowder bubbles away while being stirred by a lady in white chefs gear – and a red bar that wraps around the customer area to provide indoor seating.
The menu consists of many different basket options, some wraps, a few chowders, smoked salmon, and a few other items floating around the edges. Everything on the menu is available for under $12. My bowl of New England Clam Chowder was the very reasonable price of $3.95 before tax.
I decided to eat inside since it was a windy coastal day. As I was eating I eavesdropped on the gals working behind the counter – I was impressed with their cheerfulness and professional service. They provided a refreshing change to the really bad customer service I have received in Bellingham recently.
The chowder was very good! Not the best I’ve every had, but I was very pleased with the flavor, consistency, and choice of ingredients. The chowder also came with some sort of herbed toast – unfortunately it was very stale, although if it had been fresh I think it would have been slightly addicting… so maybe it’s better that I didn’t really want to finish it!
I was less than pleased with the cleanliness of the bar I was sitting at. Maybe they’d just finished with a big rush of people (although it was barely 6:15 pm) but that bar needed a good decrumbing. To give them a little credit – they were sweeping outside and wiping other surfaces off while I was there – so maybe it was just bad timing.
Over all – I think Bob’s Chowder Bar has a lot of potential. If I am ever back in the Anacortes area I will definitely stop back in – if only to eat a bowl of yummy chowder and listen to some cheerful customer service!