Snake Bit Restaurant Locations

As you’ll see in an article to be posted on by tomorrow, Fat Rascals barbecue restaurant in South Kitsap has been closed until further notice due to back taxes owed to the state in the amount of $11,700 “and some change,” according to owners Ben and Phyllis Howlett.

The Howletts are way into barbecue. Ben, who’s originally from Virgina, talks about “making barbecue” the way most people talk about making love.
“It’s a passion,” he said.
Their business is not yet sunk, but it’s dead in the water.

Fat Rascals is the second popular Kitsap eatery to fail after falling behind financially in the past two months, perhaps a sign that the economy is affecting discretionary spending locally as it is nationwide. Ponderay Cafe and Lounge in Bremerton was abruptly closed by its lender Feb. 29 after falling behind on its mortgage payments.

Fat Rascals is also one in a long line of restaurants at that location that have opened and floundered over the past two decades. I’ve lived in South Kitsap that long. I remember the old Clambake, and the Mexican place that was there before Fat Rascals. The rest is a blur. One problem has been the frequent road closures caused by slides on either side of the restaurant along Highway 166.

What is it about some restaurant locations? You could almost picture a horror movie about them, ghosts lurking in the grease trap.

Here are some inauspicious eatery locations throughout Kitsap County suggested by fellow newsroom staff members. I’ll line them out geographically.

Sports Editor Chuck Stark says:
The one on 4th street right behind The Sun; it used to be the Cranberry Tree once upon a time, then it was a Mexican place, then I think it had a couple other owners before it was owned by the people who own Brother Dons. I don’t even know what is is now.
I bet that place has had 7-8 names since 1980 … At least.

Managing Editor Jeff Brody also mentioned the notorious 4th Street location. He says:
What was Phad Thai closed unexpectedly suddenly and is now a Mexican place. Before the Thai, it was City Lights, and before that, Melody Lane, although it was Melody Lane for many years.
Jeff adds:
The place where the Indian restaurant is, across from the waterfront, was a series of eateries before the Indian place came.
And in East Bremerton:
The place that’s now closed near the corner of Sheridan and Wheaton Way (most recently Posies Soul Food) was a number of things after the Skippers that was there when I first moved here closed.

Night Editor Jim Thomsen, who came up with the “snake-bit” moniker, says:
Bainbridge Island, in the old Tudor mansion on the hill at Lynwood Center, right across the street from the movie theater. For years it was the Pleasant Beach Grill. Then that moved to Winslow. Then along came a short-lived, bizarro-trendy-concept place called Moonfish. That lasted less than two years, I think. Now it’s gearing up to be something else nouveau.

Jim again:
Port Orchard, downtown on Bay Street, a block north of the movie theater. There’s a site there that was an Italian restaurant akin to Spiro’s in the 1990s, then became something else before it went Mexican (Los Cabos).
To which I’d add:
The place that’s now the Beach House Grill on Beach Drive.

Jim again:
Poulsbo, north corner of the Highway 305 plaza. In the 80s, it was Pietro’s Pizza. It had at least two other restaurants since then.

OK, readers, any we missed for the good of the blog?

4 thoughts on “Snake Bit Restaurant Locations

  1. The Perry Ave shopping center near the Red Apple in East Bremerton has had a lot of comings and goings for resturants and or bars.

  2. Name two things that caused these eateries to disappear…

    Price and quality.

    When you have no sense of ambiance, less than stellar service and mediocre fare on the menu, do NOT try and charge Seattle prices.

    Look around. Those places that provide good quality and service at a reasonable price are still open.

  3. You know you’re an oldtimer when….

    The place in Port Orchard that Jim mentions, Los Cabos/Spiro’s north of the theater downtown, you must be talking about the old Soo Hoy Chinese place (actually west, not north). It had been there as long as I can recall; I think that my first meal there was as a child in the mid-1960’s.

    I remember in the seventies just after graduating from South High school a bunch of us would go there after swing shift at the K2 ski plant on Vashon, and eat chinese till the sun came up. As I recall they would serves us as long as we wished to stay there and eat. Food was great and prices were low.

    I recall that three other chinese restaurants opened in Port Orchard during the 1980’s; that’s what killed Soo Hoy…

    Monty Mahan

  4. I ate at Fat Rascals when it was the Clambake and also Maria’s and THEN Fat Rascals. I stopped eating at FR’s way before it closed.

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