February 8, 2019

Annette Bagley
Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism

Willows Inn on Lummi Island Named Best Restaurant in North America

[caption id="attachment_72289" align="alignnone" width="606"] Photo by Charity Burggraaf[/caption] For the third consecutive year, The Willows Inn on Lummi Island has been named the number one restaurant in North America by global restaurant award platform Opinionated About Dining (OAD). Chef Blaine Wetzel's progressive American restaurant is known world-wide for showcasing hyper-local seasonal ingredients 'fished, foraged, and farmed daily' on Lummi Island in the far northwest corner of Washington State, just off the coast of Bellingham. The Top 10 of the 2019 OAD Top 100+ North American Restaurants List includes:

  1. The Willows Inn, Washington
  2. Single Thread Farm, Healdsburg California
  3. Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare, Manhattan New York
  4. Saison, San Francisco
  5. Somni, West Hollywood
  6. Smyth, Chicago
  7. Minibar by Jose Andres, Washington DC
  8. Raymond's Restaurant, St John, Newfoundland
  9. Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills New York
  10. Alinea, Chicago
Each year, OAD shares lists of the top restaurants within various global regions, as voted for by the website's knowledgeable reviewers. Based on reviews by over 6,000 voters, the list is the only global restaurant guide that considers a diner's gastronomic background and restaurant reviewing experience, as well as the quality of restaurants they visit, when tabulating the results. OAD was founded by Steve Plotnicki, one of the most prolific voices in the global restaurant community. Located on a small, rural island in the Salish Sea, The Willows Inn offers a single-seating, plated tasting menu that changes nightly, with more than a dozen inventive small plate courses dependent on the flavors of the season. Each bite is carefully crafted from ingredients farmed and foraged on Lummi Island or fished just off the shore. Seatings are by reservation only. The Willows Inn is open for dinner on select days of the week, accommodating just 34 guests. The restaurant's 2019 dining schedule begins on March 15 and runs through Dec. 15. The Inn offers 8 cozy guest rooms on-site and 8 vacation rental properties at other sites on the island. Additional accommodations are available in Bellingham. Since his 2010 arrival on Lummi Island, Chef Blaine Wetzel has won three James Beard awards. The Willows Inn has been acclaimed by numerous national media including Eater, Forbes, The Chicago Tribune and The New York Times, and has hosted distinguished guests from around the world. [caption id="attachment_72255" align="aligncenter" width="400"] Photo by Charity Burggraaf[/caption]

How to Get to Lummi Island

Lummi Island is located in Whatcom County, Washington, and is separate from the San Juan Islands. It is accessible by land from Bellingham via a 15 mile drive on county roads to Gooseberry Point and a 10 minute water crossing on the Lummi Island ferry. Bellingham (population 89,000) can be reached by car on the I-5 freeway, by train on Amtrak, and by air on Alaska and Allegiant Airlines to Bellingham International Airport. Car rentals are available at the airport. Whatcom County is known for its abundant nature, scenic beauty, year-round outdoor recreation, local farming and commercial fishing industries. For directions and local visitor information, email, call 360-676-3990, or see For Media Inquiries about OAD contact: Michelle Mclaughlin, Michelle@mpeachandco.comĀ 

Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism
Visitor Center Located at I-5 Exit 253 - Check Hours
904 Potter Street, Bellingham, WA 98229
Phone: 360-671-3990

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