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Destination: Fat Smitty’s | Beyond Kitsap
The Highway 101 saga concludes with bacon-wrapped oysters and one of the nation’s best burgers.
Still reeling from the utter disappointment of failing to find any fresh Hood Canal shrimp, my stomach started grumbling again.
The logger’s breakfast was wearing off and we still had some 40 miles of Highway 101 to cover. Reluctantly, I browsed through the Hama Hama Seafood Co. shelves, looking for something that could take the place of Hood Canal shrimp, something to tide us over until we reached our final destination, a bit beyond the end of the forgotten stretch of 101: the legendary Fat Smitty’s.
I couldn’t help yearning for a monstrous Fat Smitty double-decker burger as I stared dejectedly into Hama Hama’s raw oyster bins. I’ve never been a big oyster fan. Can’t get past the barnacles on the shell. Plus, growing up in Wyoming, all we had were the infamous Rocky Mountain oysters, which, in case you didn’t know, aren’t oysters at all.
I think that’s what ruined the whole oyster thing for me.
But with a long stretch of road ahead, we needed something. And then I saw them: a plate of pre-shucked Hood Canal oyster-kabobs wrapped in bacon.
Being a red-blooded American, I’ll try just about anything if it’s wrapped in bacon. Even oysters. So I picked up a couple of the oyster kabobs — one for me, one for my lady — and we set out to find the nearest state park with a resident grill.
“I’m not eating that,” my wife killed the excitement as soon as I got back in the car.
As it turns out, I guess not all red-blooded Americans will eat anything so long as it’s wrapped in bacon. “Fine,” I thought, “maybe I’ll save it for Smitty.” He seems like the type who would eat a bacon-wrapped oyster. They pride themselves there at Fat Smitty’s on “high calories, lots of cholesterol and no B.S.,” I’d read in a 2004 Seattle Times article.
Located at the head of Discovery Bay, near the well-traveled intersection of US 101 and WA 20, Smitty’s has to be one of the most famous burger joints on the planet. It’s one of those quintessential Northwest sights to behold with the giant woodcarvings of both Fat Smittys — the man and the burger — that decorate the restaurant’s front lawn. It’s been the subject of numerous road trip articles in local media, and should technically have its own Flickr page with the number of tourists who’ve posted pictures of their escapades at Smitty's.
Its burgers are legendary: nearly one full pound and six vertical inches of goodness — bun, mayo, tomatoes, onions, 5-ounce patty, cheese, another bun, another 5-ounce patty, cheese, tomato, bacon, lettuce, pickles, mayo, bun. They are behemoths of cuisine.
With all these thoughts of Fat Smitty’s, I’d almost forgotten all about the bacon-wrapped oysters on the dash.
“Grill!” my wife shook me from my daydream.
Not wanting to let the oysters go to waste, we pulled off and got a pile of charcoal started in one corner of the park’s massive barbecue grill. I spent the entire time it took to cook the kabobs trying to convince my wife to indulge. “When on the peninsula,” you know. But all attempts were futile.
When I bit into the first kabob, I understood why.
Being stubborn, I choked it down, faked a smile and went back for the second — which nearly brought the logger’s breakfast back up. But I held it down, faked another smile, took care of the coals and headed back to the 101 with Fat Smitty’s in our sights.
For more archived trips Beyond Kitsap — including the first four in the Jewels of Highway 101 series, search 'Beyond Kitsap' — and look for more on the second Fridays of the month in What's Up.