A Big Lake adventure


What: Big Lake Bar & Grill

Where: 18247 State Route 9, Mount Vernon


WHEN: 11:30am-9pm

Info: (360) 422-6411

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

“Is it still considered a staycation if you leave the county you live in for the next one over?” my travel partner queried from the driver’s seat as we exited I-5 and merged into Mount Vernon traffic.

“I believe so,” I replied. “Just think of it as an extended day trip.”

To celebrate my upcoming birthday, we’d departed Bellingham for a one-night stay at an Airbnb near Big Lake. When we arrived we found it had almost everything we needed. After checking out the private hot tub, home theater, high-thread-count sheets and a view to die for, we remembered there was no kitchen, and the crackers and cheese we’d brought from home wouldn’t suffice for dinner.

Our hosts had a handy binder full of particulars about the space, and it included details about where to find a bite to eat nearby. We wanted to get back in time to relax for a while before taking a sunset soak in the hot tub, and opted for the Big Lake Bar & Grill, which they pointed out was just a short drive away. It wasn’t fancy, they noted, but the food was good and sure to fill our bellies.

Approximately five minutes later, we found ourselves seated in a retro green booth with a sweet view of the lake. The clientele at 5pm on a Thursday consisted mostly of seniors drinking giant glasses of water or soda, but we opted for adult beverages—ginger ale with vodka, which arrived tasting more like vodka with ginger ale—which we sipped as we perused the menu.

I briefly considered the Garbage Salad (basically a grilled chicken salad with a ton of extras) since I liked the name, but opted for the Fried Oyster Po’Boy ($13.99) because I was the Birthday Monster and could do what I wanted. My date went the opposite direction. He was on the verge of getting the Prime Rib Dip (also $13.99), but at the last minute changed his order to the Cobb salad ($12.99 for a large portion).

As we waited for our meals, the venue started to fill up. At a long table nearby, motorcyclists who’d parked out front arrived wearing black leather vests proclaiming they were Veterans of Foreign Wars. They greeted each other with hugs and loud salutations while, at the next table over, two 80-something women who looked as if they could be sisters sipped what appeared to be a couple of high-octane cocktails.

Conversation filled the long space, which includes a small stage and dance floor, a separate bar, a shuffleboard, darts and room to roam. It appeared as if the locals outnumbered the tourists and veterans, but I’m guessing that number drastically changes once summer kicks in.

Soon after reading a note on the menu explaining that the eatery’s saw blade emblem was inspired by Big Lake’s history as a lumber town, our food arrived and we dug in. My tasty Po’Boy was piled high with breaded and fried oysters, grilled onions and B&B pickles, and the fries were cooked just right. When we switched plates, I found my travel companion’s Cobb was both robust and delicious.

“This staycation is going great so far,” he opined, finishing off the remains of the Po’Boy. “The world is our oyster.”

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