Photo © K.J. Fox
By J.K. Fox
The San Juan Islands have received a lot of press in recent years as a top vacation destination. The islands are famous for their scenic beauty and outdoor recreation, and, on San Juan Island, the culinary reputation has grown and remained strong thanks to a handful of outstanding restaurants with a few shining stars on the other side of the kitchen door. In the islands’ “metropolis”—Friday Harbor—Coho, The Bluff and Backdoor Kitchen lead the pack for fine dining. But what about the low key yet quality place that doesn’t require a reservation?
In Friday Harbor, Richard and Sherri Daly opened such an establishment last year. San Juan Island Cheese was inspired by a simple but deeply felt passion for food and atmosphere. Similarly, across town, Mike Sharadin seeks to express the same principle of classy yet casual dining with Mikes Café and Wine Bar, exclusively serving vegan food. Both places make it worth your while to hang up the kayak paddle and seek them out.
“We have traveled a fair amount and we love to eat and drink,” says Richard Daly, speaking from the light-filled interior of San Juan Island Cheese, “so we wanted to create a place where we would want to eat.”
The Dalys dedicate themselves to showcasing Northwest artisanal wines and craft beers, with specific attention given to smaller wineries and breweries. They serve a light lunch and two different cheese boards, one specifically Northwest, and one with cheese from farther afield.
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