There’s a lot to love about weekend brunch in Bellingham and Whatcom County. First of all, it’s on the weekend, so it gets extra points just for that. Second, it’s not breakfast, so all pretense of sticking to a diet goes straight out the window. Brunch is all about indulgence; it’s okay to enjoy that dollop of whipped cream on your waffle or the extra cheese in your shrimp and grits. Third, Whatcom County offers many options for amazing food and creative cocktails that make weekend brunch a truly special occasion.
Whether you’re just visiting or are lucky enough to live in our beautiful part of the world, you have dozens of choices for a weekend indulgence. I’ve made it my mission to try them all; in the meantime, here’s the lowdown on a few.
Bayou on Bay is downtown Bellingham’s Cajun restaurant, where the lively atmosphere sets you up to enjoy an authentic food experience. Louisianans take their food and drink very seriously, and Bayou on Bay offers a serious brunch menu that reflects that inspiration. From the aforementioned shrimp and grits to gumbo and jambalaya, and of course, oyster shooters, the Bayou crew will fix you up and leave you aching from the agony of stuffing yourself. Insider tip: for a bite-sized taste of the South, order the hushpuppies.
Of course, my focus was on the cocktails. For me, brunch means Bloody Marys. And at Bayou, they shake up a Cajun Bloody Mary with their own jalapeno-infused vodka and housemade Cajun Mary mix. I could see the horseradish floating in the glass—always a good sign. And here’s a bonus: they’re served with a beer back, a short pour of whatever’s on tap that suits your fancy. For me, it was a local IPA, of course.
If you’re in the mood to branch out, Bayou has an impressive array of brunch cocktails, including the Bay Hurricane, Spiked Arnold Palmer, Cajun Lemonade, Bayou Margarita and the Cajun Caesar. They even have a roster of warm-you-right-up cocktails, ranging from Cajun Coffee and Mexican Hot Chocolate to blueberry tea, a concoction of Grand Marnier, Amaretto, Earl Grey tea, honey, lemon and nutmeg.
More info: Bayou on Bay 1300 Bay St., Bellingham, WA 98225 360-752-2968
Homeskillet is the kind of tucked-into-the-neighborhood food joint that appeals to just about everyone. In fact, I dare you to not love this place. The over-the-top, colorful atmosphere will make you happy the minute you walk through the door.
You can get breakfast all day every day at Homeskillet, and on weekends, that’s all you can have. But on the weekend, what more do you want? Especially when breakfast choices range from pancakes and French toast to salmon hash’n’eggs, huevos rancheros and chicken fried steak. Plus the signature Homeskillet, which is your very own cast iron skillet filled with homefries, eggs, and meat, beans or veggies. The amount of food you get is “redonkulous,” as owners Kirby and Tina might say.
Luckily, we had a bit of fizz to help settle things—in the manner of mimosas, of course. My other favorite brunch cocktail is the classic orange juice-and-champagne drink, served in a flute. But that’s just not the Homeskillet way. Order up a mimosa with your choice of orange juice, Fanta orange soda pop, or San Pelligrino sparkling aranciata, aranciata rosso, pompelmo or limonata, and it will be served in a jelly jar with a tropical umbrella. Very fitting, when your breakfast comes in a cast iron skillet.
More info: Homeskillet 521 Kentucky St., Bellingham, WA 98225 360-676-6218
My brunch cocktail quest will continue at these Whatcom County eateries:
Scotty Brown’s in Barkley Village: 3101 Newmarket Street, Bellingham, WA 98226 360-306-8823
Skylark’s Hidden Café in Fairhaven: 1308 11th St., Bellingham WA,98225 360-715-3642
The Fountain Bistro 1910 Broadway, Bellingham WA, 98225 360-778-3671
Anthony’s at Squalicum Harbor 25 Bellwether Way Bellingham WA, 98225 360-647-5588
The Oboe Café at Best Western Lakeway Inn 714 Lakeway Dr. Bellingham, WA 98229 360.671.1011
Lighthouse Bar & Grill One Bellwether Way, Bellingham WA 98225 360-392-3200
Silver Reef Casino Red River Café Haxton Way at Slater Road, Ferndale, WA 98248 360-383-0777
Hilltop Restaurant 5645 Guide Meridian, Bellingham, WA 98226 360-398-2462
Nooksack River Casino’s Canoe River Restaurant 5048 Mt Baker Hwy, Deming, WA 98244 360-354-7428
Billy McHale’s 4301 Guide Meridian Bellingham, WA 98226 360-647-7763
Bob’s Burgers and Brew, Barkley Village, 2955 Newmarket St. Bellingham, WA 98226 360-647-3355
or 8120 Birch Bay Square St. Blaine, Wa 98231 360-366-3199
In the mood for a mimosa? Try one here:
Beach Store Café 1 block from the ferry dock on Lummi Island, 200 N. Nugent Rd, Lummi Island, WA 360-758-2233
The Fork at Agate Bay 2530 North Shore Rd., Bellingham, WA 360-733-1126
The Old Town Cafe 316 w Holly Street Bellingham, WA 98225 360-671-4431
Mount Bakery Café 308 W Champion St Bellingham, WA 98225 360-715-2195
Diamond Jim’s Grill 2400 Meridian St Bellingham, WA 98225 360-734-8687
Magdalena’s Creperie in Fairhaven: 1200 10th Street Suite 103, Bellingham, WA 98225 360-483-8569
Harris Avenue Café in Fairhaven: 1101 Harris Ave. Bellingham, WA 98225 360-738-0802
Offerings are subject to change. Call ahead to verify.