We’ll take a dozen! Twelve bakeries bring the sweet life to the Harbor

Sometimes the sweeter things in life are, well, actually sweeter.

When it comes to freshly baked treats, Grays Harbor has a batch of bakeries to satisfy the sweet tooth, and a few that also answer the call for those craving a savory bite.

Here are a few independently owned Harbor bakeries that are definitely worth checking out if you’re searching for a spot to drop in for a morning scone, donut or cinnamon roll or perhaps an afternoon pastry or cookie.


Oh My Donuts, at 212 South L St. in Aberdeen, offers all the donut shop delicious classics – old fashioned donuts, cake donuts, filled donuts, fruit fritters and more, including some creations like maple bars with bacon bits that showcase the owners’ creativity.

Donuts can be ordered ahead – including the Giant Donut, which can satisfy a whole family. Oh My Donuts is open daily from 7 a.m. until the donuts are gone. For those interested in something savory, owners Janeth Torres and Dago Herrera also have a food truck, Mr. Taco, located behind their donut shop.


How does one describe the phenomenon of Nancy’s Bakery? Nancy Lachel is a Harbor icon of baking. She and her crew bake up muffins, cookies, pastries, bread, cinnamon rolls, biscotti and more, including her famous pies and seasonal pumpkin rolls. Nancy’s Bakery is located inside the Grays Harbor Farmers Market, 1956 Riverside Ave. But, if you’ve ever visited the Market, your nose would have told you that! Nancy has been selling her baked goods since 1975 at the Market, but when she began baking at the commercial kitchen there, the aromas brought in even more customers, and now a team of assistants help her meet the demand. The Market is open seven days a week.

Also inside the Grays Harbor Farmers Market is The Sweet Spot Bakery, which specializes in delicious gluten-free baked goods. Owner Toni Spencer began this new venture last summer and has already created a demand for her berry bars, brownies, pumpkin rolls, apple pie bars, carrot cake and muffins – all gluten free! In addition to all that GF goodness, each week Toni whips up at least one vegan treat – typically cookies. The Sweet Spot Bakery’s GF goodies are also available at Organics 101 in Montesano.

In the heart of Hoquiam is The Jitter House, 617 Simpson Ave., where patrons are warmly welcomed as guests by owner Sam Nazario. In addition to its handcrafted coffee, artisan quiches and homemade soups and sandwiches, The Jitter House bakery case brims with scones, tarts, muffins, sticky buns, cinnamon rolls and various European desserts, including fare such as chocolate ganache and French apple cake prepared by baker Olivia Brooks. Nazario, who began the coffee shop some seven years ago, recently purchased the entire historic building and has begun a major renovation with plans that include a hotel and banquet room, as well as an expanded restaurant and bakery. The Jitter House is open from 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

Just down the street, inside the hip Brunch 101, 716 Simpson Ave., Brittany Figg-Case also offers the baked goods that folks know and love from her first business, CaKeCaKes, which she started in downtown Aberdeen in 2014. After buying the Hoquiam restaurant in November 2018, she and her husband Anthony reopened it in June of 2019, later shutting down the Aberdeen bakery and converting the back of Brunch 101 into a bakery for CaKeCaKes. Brittany works hard to keep the Brunch 101 dessert case full of fresh-out-of-the-oven goodies, including key lime pie, lemon bars, and of course cupcakes of all kinds. Her quarter pounder cookies and French macarons continue to be fan favorites. And, now that she has a restaurant as well as a bakery, special items such as tiramisu, cheesecake and crème brulée also make occasional appearances in the bakery case. See for yourself from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.


The Brass Hub, 1101 First St., is a cute, cozy coffee shop that has well-deserved pride in its exquisite baked goods, which often pair interesting flavors, producing such winners as the blood orange dreamsicle roll, the cherry almond sweet roll and the persimmon almond cookie. From cinnamon rolls to scones, from bars cookies, this is a great place to stop for a treat. In addition, it’s known for having gluten-free items regularly – displayed on the top shelf – as well as paleo and vegan items periodically. If sweets aren’t your thing, consider a bacon cheddar spinach savory roll or bacon cheddar chive scone for breakfast. Owned by Krissi Brunoe and Mario Barajas, it’s possible you’ve tasted some of the Brass Hub’s baked treats served elsewhere in town. Their baked goods are also sold at DJ’s Coffee of Hoquiam, and Tinderbox Coffee Roasters and the Finch & Bull food truck, both of Aberdeen.


All Wrapped Up, 110 Pioneer Ave. E., is a beloved coffee shop and bakery in the heart of Montesano, famous for its scones, cinnamon rolls, cookies and bars – all generously sized. Owners Judy and Gary Mawhorter purchased the business in May of 2018. In the last three years, the Mawhorters have expanded the business in a variety of ways, including a major remodel that more than doubled the space. In addition, the variety of baked goods offered has increased. More than 20 varieties of cookies take turns in the case each day, and there’s almost always some gluten-free treats available. Judy has also initiated a way to special order large number of goodies online at allwrappedup.cafe, as well as developed a popular kid’s baking academy to teach young people to love baking as much as she does. All Wrapped Up is currently open from 6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.

North Beaches

Ocean Shores Donuts, 676 Ocean Shores Blvd. N.W., opened in November 2020, when just about everyone was ready for a treat! Tray after tray of enticing donuts and pastries could complicate the decision process for the average customer, but the good news is, you really can’t go wrong! Owner Robyn Holt says their croissants, maple bars and donuts filled with custards are some of the best sellers. They also have a specialty breakfast croissant that has become a crowd pleaser. Ocean Shores Donuts is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.

Ocean Beach Roasters & Bistro, at 841 Pt. Brown Ave., is a busy place, serving breakfast and lunch with freshly baked cookies, brownies, muffins and pastries filling the A-framed restaurant with an aroma that alerts patrons – “Save room for dessert!” In fact, many make sure there’s room by starting the day with a morning muffin or afternoon fresh-out-of-the-oven croissant paired with a fresh cup of Joe, made with carefully roasted coffee beans. Owner Brody Jones says the fan favorites from his bakery case include the lemon bars, pecan bars, cookies and his cold brew brownies. Ocean Beach Roasters & Bistro is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily this time of year. And, if you haven’t heard yet, Jones has expanded his brand by opening a restaurant, OBR East, in Montesano in the former Savory Faire restaurant building, 315 Pioneer Ave. W.

Vista Bakeshop, 202 Meriweather St. in Seabrook’s town center, opened last summer and is wowing patrons with their unique baked goods. Owners Grace Bryan and her husband, Kameron Kurashima, met while working at the Canlis, considered one of Seattle’s most exclusive restaurants. Cinnamon rolls and “cruffins” are the clear top sellers, both are made with flaky croissant dough. Vista Bakeshop is open 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

South Beaches

Little Richard’s Donuts, 2557 Westhaven Dr., a Westport fixture since 1973, has new owners, Harry and Margaret Carthum, and their son and daughter-in-law, David and Kati Carthum. “One of the reasons we wanted to buy Little Richard’s is because we wanted it to stay a donut shop, and carry on that tasty tradition,” says David, who grew up in Westport where his mom was the principal at Ocosta Elementary for many years. He and Kati worked with the previous owners prior to taking over the shop, learning how to make the donuts and run the business. After Labor Day, they closed down for several weeks to upgrade the equipment, clean and refresh the space and hire new staff. They reopened in October 2021 and have been baking up all the old favorites as well as a few new offerings such as bread pudding (made with donuts), hand pies and sweet rolls. Donut maker Debbie Howard and her crew offer up a Donut of the Day and let everyone know what it is via Instagram and Facebook. The off-season hours are 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday through Monday, which expand to seven days a week beginning spring break.

The Wandering Goose at The Tokeland Hotel, 2964 Kindred Ave., in Tokeland, elegantly displays a wide variety of baked goods in its pastry case. After years of running the highly acclaimed Wandering Goose on Capitol Hill in Seattle, Chef Heather Earnhardt, along with her husband Zac Young, purchased the oldest hotel in the state of Washington in April 2018. The restaurant serves hearty, flavorful Southern fare. It is open for breakfast and lunch from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.; and supper from 4 to 8 p.m., which gives plenty of opportunity to enjoy a pastry for breakfast, a cookie for a coffee break, or perhaps a piece of one of Heather’s three-layered cakes as a dessert after dinner. You can’t go wrong with the moist Hummingbird Cake, featuring banana, coconut, pecan and pineapple. It truly must be tasted to be believed. Baked items vary with the season and can be purchased to go – and often are.

How does the state’s razor clam expert cook his clams?

WDFW Coastal Shellfish Manager Dan Ayres advises to keep it simple. “I don’t go to a lot of trouble to put them in a batter and all of that. All I do is lightly dust them in flour, and put them in a hot frying pan. But don’t let them stay there very long, just get them out and eat them.”

Ayres fires up the barbecue grill, then puts a big pan over the coals, pouring oil into the pan. He says to get it “sizzling hot” and then get the coals to smoke by adding some woodchips. Put the clams in the pan, cover it with a lid for a few minutes and then flip the clams over for another two minutes or so. Doing it on the barbecue can save your house from smelling like clams for days afterward, Ayres notes. Also, he says the two mistakes most people make is not cleaning the clams right after the dig, and then cooking them too long in the pan.

Photo by Angelo Bruscas

Ocean Crest Resort’s Clam Fritters

1 pound of razor clams,

Ocean Crest Resort executive chef Ronald Wisner shows clams and clam fritters ready to serve.

1 roasted red pepper,

a rib of celery,

½ cup grated carrot

5 ounces of cream cheese

¼ cup Old Bay seasoning

2 cups Panko or Japanese bread crumbs

2 eggs

Place the first six ingredients into a food processor and chop lightly. Place the mixture into a large bowl, add eggs and bread crumb mix by hand. Heat a lightly oiled pan to 350 degrees. Scoop 4 ounces of the mixture and roll in bread crumbs to coat. Press each patty and cook in pan until golden brown.

Ocean Crest Resort executive chef Ronald Wisner shows clams and clam fritters ready to serve.

Razor Clam as artistic muse

For anyone who grew up on the Washington Coast, razor clams are much more than a recreational enterprise – they are part of the soul, the artwork, the lore, the generations.

Humorous clam-inspired art by Elton Bennett (Image courtesy of Museum of the North Beach)

Humorous clam-inspired art by Elton Bennett (Image courtesy of Museum of the North Beach) Barbara Bennett Parsons recalls many childhood digs with her father, the world-renowned Grays Harbor artist Elton Bennett. Her father would take the whole family to go clam digging “on every tide” in the Iron Springs area.

Many of Elton Bennett’s most treasured and prized pieces capture scenes of clam digging, and Barbara noted that her father even worked in a commercial clam operation in the 1930s during the Depression era. He is likely the most well-known of any artist who captured the essence of the razor clam experience.

“It wasn’t until after WWII that he was able to attend art school.  And what, you may ask, was his first success as an artist?  Yes, it was a silkscreen print that portrayed razor clam digging,” she says. Elton Bennett original silkscreen artwork now is

known and treasured around the world.
“Even those who have never seen a razor clam in their lives appreciate scenes of people on the beach, cherishing their oneness with the sea in all of its glory,” she observes.

Elton Bennet’s work can now be seen in several Grays Harbor locations and museums, as well as in the Ocean Crest Resort restaurant, dining room and lounge, and at a showroom in Hoquiam.  For information about Elton Bennett, visit www.eltonbennett.com, or contact Barbara Bennett Parsons at (360) 532-3235 to arrange for a visit to the Elton Bennett showroom.

Viewing razor clam art

Razor clams have indeed inspired some of the most famous artists from the Washington Coast. One of the best locations to view and experience the art of razor clam digging is at the Museum of the North Beach in Moclips.

“We do have some razor clam art dating back to the 1950s,” says Kelly Calhoun, museum curator. “And we have Elton Bennett’s serigraphs of clam diggers as well as Moclips artist Uldine Burgon.”


Pen and ink drawing by Uldine Burgon (Image courtesy of Museum of the North Beach)

Burgon’s pen-and-ink drawings capture life along the North Beach, and her sketches have been donated to the museum, which has several pieces and greeting cards on display. Before she died in 2017 at the age of 101, Uldine’s Bluff House Studio was located one block from the museum on Highway 109.

Razor clam art recently made a bigger-than-life splash in Ocean Shores with the colorful mural painted on the side of the Ocean Shores Convention Center by Aberdeen artist Douglas Orr and designed by Ocean Shores artist Judy Horn. Completed this past summer, the mural shows a wide beach landscape that includes several different clam-digging scenes. (Orr is featured on page 29 in this issue of Coastal Currents.)

“It really depicts what you might see out on our beach,” says Horn. “We have clam diggers, we have kite fliers, we have horseback riders and we have kids playing in the sand.”

Image courtesy of Museum of the North Beach

Orr, who owns Alder Grove Gallery in Aberdeen, can recall at least a couple of razor clam-related pieces he has painted over the years, including one of clam diggers on the beach for a piece he sold locally. However, the clam diggers actually were an afterthought when it came to the new mural. The design originally didn’t have clam diggers in the scene, but Orr says, “I wanted the mural to take up the whole space. So, I had stretched the design out, and then Judy saw it and we added the clams afterward.”

Locally, the most famous – or infamous – razor clam artwork, the iconic carved cedar clam that once graced the front of Executive Villa offices in Ocean Shores, now is one of the oldest mysteries in town. Radio station KOSW last year even went on an unsuccessful search for what happened to the 8-foot-high razor clam that for years towered over the intersection of Ocean Shores Avenue and Chance a la Mer Boulevard.

A 7-foot-tall replacement clam has been carved from an old-growth cedar log by North Beach chainsaw artist Anthony Robinson. (Robinson was featured in the Summer 2021 issue of Coastal Currents.) In 2020, Robinson was commissioned by the Ocean Shores beautification committee to carve a replacement for the original. However, with Covid-19 precautions slowing city projects down and other more pressing city business, the new clam has yet to see a home.

Once the Ocean Shores Razor Clam Festival returns in March, razor clam artistic flair will be highlighted during the annual decorated razor clam shovel contest, which gives artists of every ability a chance to create, producing an array of artifacts more suitable for mounting on a wall than plunging into the surf.

Grays Harbor digs razor clams

Mark Fisher emerged from the Roosevelt Beach surf on a golden sunset fall evening with a triumphant smile, clutching a brimming mesh bag glistening with the season’s expanded limit of 20 prized Pacific razor clams, which the Hoquiam man proudly shows off for a photo.

Thousands of people just like Fisher have descended on the Washington Coast for the return of what has thus far been the most robust razor clam digging season in many years. In the first 25 days of digging, an estimated 126,300 diggers were able to harvest about 2.34 million of the mouth-watering mollusks.

Last fall’s digging opportunities were cut short by high levels of a toxin (domoic acid) found in the clam populations, and the season before was curtailed by Covid-19 concerns for the coastal communities.

The result has been a fall season of abundance for those who love to dig for the culinary delicacy and those who cook up the chowders, fritters and fabled concoctions featuring one of the most unique recreational pursuits worldwide.

“When Covid hit, we had clams for big digs that were expected in April and May 2020, but everything came to a halt. And then we barely got started last fall when domoic acid came roaring back,” says Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager. “When we did our stock assessment this summer, we were so pleased to discover that not only did the unharvested population hold over, but also more young clams were added,” Ayres said.

Photo by Angelo Bruscas

Deciding how many clams are available for recreational diggers involves many steps. After the razor clam population of each beach is determined, the number of clams on the northern beaches of Copalis and Mocrocks are divided equally between the state and the Quinault Indian Nation, because of state-tribal treaties.

The state also manages the Twin Harbors and Long Beach beaches.

The culinary clam

Razor clams for centuries have been a significant food and economic resource, as well as a cultural tradition celebrated and harvested by the Quinault Indian Nation and other coastal tribes. Some of the earliest historical photos of the Copalis area show a razor clam harvest being smoked on drying racks by the Indians. The clams are strung on sticks, each several yards, which are arranged over the coals of a fire against a platform resembling the beams of a small A-frame house. Just about every clam digger on the beach has his or her favorite way to prepare razor clams, but only a very few actually prepare razor clams for commercial dining.

Duffy’s Restaurant in Aberdeen undoubtably has cooked up more razor clams than any other establishment in all of Grays Harbor. Razors have been a menu item since at least the 1970s, says owner Paul Larson of the longtime family business at 1605 Simpson Ave., where his father and grandfather learned to savor and prepare the locally harvested delicacy.

At Duffy’s, you can order razor clams and eggs for breakfast or a razor clam dinner, and you can order one single clam as an appetizer or added to an entrée like the popular Logger’s Breakfast or chicken fried steak and eggs. 

Duffy’s also cooks up clam fritters. “We have done razor clams for a long, long time,” Larson says. “As long as I can remember, we have had them on our menu.” While Larson himself digs for razor clams for personal consumption, Dufffy’s purchases its supply from the Quinault Indian Nation’s seafood enterprise.

How does he cook his own clams? “They’re good, and I cook them the same way we do at Duffy’s: I do mine with flour, egg and then Panko. We used cracker meal for years, but when we bought the Bee Hive restaurant, that’s what they were doing.”

Photo by Rick Moyer
Photo by Rick Moyer

At Ocean Crest Resort’s acclaimed ocean view restaurant on Highway 109 in Moclips, both longtime chef Jess Owen (now resort manager) and executive chef Ronald Wisner field requests for razor clams daily, with regular menu items featuring clams or fritters, clams for breakfast, as a full meal, and as a side dish with the Crest’s special chili aioli, garnished with pickled onion.

“People ask for them a lot,” Wisner says, “especially when there is a dig going on, we may go through about eight pounds per night. They go and dig them and then they come and ask us how to cook them.”

Known as “The Culinary Madman,” Owen has even used razor clams for a Chocolate on the Beach Festival concoction and has developed a razor clam chowder that is gluten free. And the razor clam fritters that Wisner prepares at Ocean Crest have brought him top honors at the Ocean Shores Razor Clam Festival.

When it comes to cooking razor clams whole, Wisner notes, the secret is to batter and bread them first, lay them on a flat pan and then freeze them before cooking later. “That’s how we do it here, on a 400-degree flat grill with hot oil. By the time the outside is nice and golden brown, the inside is perfectly cooked.”

Expert diggers offer tips

Between the two diggers, Tom Northup and Greg Johnston have about a century of razor clam experience, knowledge, and sea-worthy stories to tell. Tom is a retired shellfish manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Greg literally wrote the book on the coast, “Washington’s Pacific Coast: A Guide to Hiking, Camping, Fishing.”

At the northern end of the Copalis digging area, with the sun just setting into an incoming storm, it took the two veterans about an hour to unearth 40 of the prized clams, known scientifically as Siliqua patula.

“I always dig the first show I see,” Johnston notes as he pulls up a small one and bags it. You have to keep all the clams you dig, no matter the size, but this season the limit has been increased from 15 to 20 clams per day.

In a matter of minutes, Johnston digs another hole with multiple shows and emerges with three clams. Johnston and Northup know exactly what to look for in a clam show –the rounded donut hole where a clam has just has pulled in its siphon. Both wield shovels; it is sacrilege for either to use a clam tube.

Photo by Angelo Bruscas

“People keep calling the tube a clam gun, but this is the original gun right here,” Northup says, holding up his slim-bladed clam shovel. The men prowl the receding surf and then dig methodically as the next waves roll in. “A good show will be like a nickel or a quarter,” Johnston advises. “If it’s dime-sized, those are the one you pass on.”

Ayres hopes to continue to offer digging opportunities into the spring. And, he’s excited that there are plans for digs right around New Year’s, which is a special tradition that only occurs on years with the right conditions and low tides. “The most important thing is for us to continue to be vigilant. The Department of Health requires us to sample razor clam meat prior to every opener just to make sure it’s safe,” Ayres says. “My crew is always out there.”

Even veterans like Ayres – with more than 40 years at WDFW and a lifelong razor clam digger – still get knocked over by a wave now and then, so dig carefully, he advises. Also, a fishing or shellfish license is required. The information on when digging is allowed on various beaches is at the WDFW website at wdfw.wa.gov. In addition, the website hosts videos showing how to dig razor clams as well as how to clean and cook them. Most of all, have fun frolicking in the surf with memories that can’t be made anywhere else and flavors that stand the test of time.

Ayres recalls getting “booted out of bed at four or five in the morning” when he was a kid to go clam digging with his parents and grandparents. “When we were done digging, we would sit on the hood of Dad’s ‘57 Chevy, still wet – even though Dad probably did most of the digging – and eat tuna  sandwiches, drink the hot chocolate and go home to have a clam feed. Those are sweet, wonderful memories that I still cherish to this day.”

Photo by Angelo Buscas

The luck of the Irish extends restaurant empire

Homey hospitality, hearty food, lively Irish music, and an Irish beer, whiskey, glass of wine – or spot of tea – all help create a sense of community at Galway Bay Irish Pub in Ocean Shores.

Whether it be their sought-after Irish soda bread muffins, a corned beef sandwich, fish ‘n chips, bangers and mash, pasties, rack of lamb or shepherd’s pie, the authentic Irish food is both tasty and satisfying. The homemade bread pudding and custard are dreamt of delicacies and the traditional Irish breakfast, “the trad,” is both a delicious hearty breakfast for locals as well as a comforting taste of home for Irish tourists.

Just as famous as Ireland’s food, drink, wool sweaters and tenors, is that country’s hospitality. And Galway Bay Irish Pub founder Liam Gibbons, 67, and co-owner Christopher Doyle, 56, both Irish Catholics, have that welcoming spirit in spades. Christopher Doyle and Liam Gibbons at a previous years’ Celtic Feis. (Photo courtesy of Galway Bay)

“You know there’s an old Irish saying, ‘One more for dinner? Just put another potato in the pot!’ and that’s kind of how we operate our business,” said Doyle, who joined Gibbons in 2012. Homey hospitality, hearty food, lively Irish music, and an Irish beer, whiskey, glass of wine – or spot of tea – all help create a sense of community at Galway Bay Irish Pub in Ocean Shores.

Christopher Doyle and Liam Gibbons at a previous years’ Celtic Feis. (Photo courtesy of Galway Bay)

Photo by Katie McGregor

Whether it be their sought-after Irish soda bread muffins, a corned beef sandwich, fish ‘n chips, bangers and mash, pasties, rack of lamb or shepherd’s pie, the authentic Irish food is both tasty and satisfying. The homemade bread pudding and custard are dreamt of delicacies and the traditional Irish breakfast, “the trad,” is both a delicious hearty breakfast for locals as well as a comforting taste of home for Irish tourists.

Just as famous as Ireland’s food, drink, wool sweaters and tenors, is that country’s hospitality. And Galway Bay Irish Pub founder Liam Gibbons, 67, and co-owner Christopher Doyle, 56, both Irish Catholics, have that welcoming spirit in spades. Christopher Doyle and Liam Gibbons at a previous years’ Celtic Feis. (Photo courtesy of Galway Bay) “You know there’s an old Irish saying, ‘One more for dinner? Just put another potato in the pot!’ and that’s kind of how we operate our business,” said Doyle, who joined Gibbons in 2012 as a partner.

In 1993 Gibbons, who had come to Grays Harbor from the Midwest in 1980 to work in the forestry industry, began Galway Bay as a small gift shop at a different location. Now 28 years later, it is a 10,000-foot complex at 880 Point Brown Ave. N.E., which includes the restaurant, tasting room, bar, game room, banquet room, two patios and an extensive Celtic food and gift shop.

Add comfy club chairs, dark wood paneling, a cozy fireplace and a friendly staff to complete the experience. The relaxed atmosphere of the entire establishment offers a feast for the eyes and the brain. Intriguing artifacts of every kind from Irish sports memorabilia, an Irish harp, photos of popes and even a signed picture of Mother Teresa, somehow all come together in a cohesive, festive way.

“This is a testament to what Liam has built,” said Doyle gesturing to the bustling restaurant. “He has great vision when it comes to things like this. He has always had a love for his Irish heritage and he taught me to have a love for my Irish heritage. I really wasn’t that Irish until I met him and then I got involved looking into my own genealogy and whatnot and just what the Irish stand for,” Doyle said.

Gibbons also credits his wife Linda whose faith in him and steady teaching job allowed him to pursue his Irish dream. Now retired, she still can be found working in the gift shop on Saturdays.

Some people don’t realize that a pub doesn’t have a tavern kind of feel, Gibbons said. “In Ireland, pub is short for public house and that means it is place for the community to gather.”

“If you’re looking at taking shots and getting drunk, we’re not the place,” agreed Doyle. “We want people to have a great time responsibly. We want them as customers for a long time.”

The outdoor patio at Galway Bay is covered and so is useful in many seasons. (Photo by Katie McGregor)

As if building a large Irish restaurant complex in an area without a large Irish-heritage community wasn’t adventurous enough, in 2004 Gibbons created the Celtic Music Feis, a celebration of Irish music and culture that the restaurant hosts each October, which had been a historically slow time in the tourist city of Ocean Shores. Over the years, truly world-class talent has been featured including Doolin’, Sean Keane, Derek Warfield and the Young Wolfe Tones, and even the Irish tenors. The restaurant complex includes three smaller stages and one mainstage. In addition, entertainment is scheduled at the Ocean Shores Convention Hall, and the 8th Street Ale House in Hoquiam.

The outdoor patio at Galway Bay is covered and so is useful in many seasons. (Photo by Katie McGregor) This year’s festival – the 18th annual – is slated for Oct. 18-24 and will feature an eclectic mix of Irish bands, choirs and dancers from the U.S., Canada, Austria and, of course, Ireland. For more information or to purchase event tickets, go to www.celticmusicfeis.com. With some 25 different individuals and groups performing over a week, the festival has grown to be one of the top Irish music festivals in the nation. It’s routinely sold out. Covid-19 threw a wrench in 2020’s celebration – the 17th annual. But Gibbons and Doyle managed to pull together an on-line festival experience.

It’s not just during the annual feis that Celtic music is celebrated at Galway Bay Irish Pub. Every Friday and Saturday live Irish music is performed at the pub. And when there’s not live music playing, the background music in the family-friendly restaurant and throughout the building is Irish as well. The gift shop also features a vast variety of Irish music CDs for sale, along with various Irish musical instruments, sheet music, woolen sweaters, Irish caps, art, food, jewelry, home décor crafted by Gibbons, and much more.

Grays Harbor Gastro Galaxy

If running a large gift shop, pub and restaurant establishment as well as managing a huge week-long festival doesn’t keep Gibbons and Doyle busy enough, the two restauranteurs not only own Galway Bay together, they also own the North Cove Bar and Grill in Tokeland. Gibbons also owns the 8th Street Ale House, a popular gastro pub at 207 8th St. in Hoquiam, but Doyle runs it.

In addition, in 2017 Doyle purchased the Lighthouse Drive-in Restaurant at 2121 Simpson Ave. in Aberdeen, as well as the yellow lighthouse-shaped Lighthouse Restaurant at 850 Point Brown Ave. N.E. in Ocean Shores. But their influence on Grays Harbor eateries goes even beyond the restaurants they own!

Turns out the two not only know how to create delicious food and successful restaurants, but also how to encourage others to do the same. Several former employees now own their own notable restaurants on the Harbor.

They include Brodey Jones who owns Ocean Beach Roasters, 841 Point Brown Ave. N.W., as well as Rob Paylor and Patrick Durney, who first owned Mill 109 at Seabrook and now own Hoquiam Brewing Co., Inc., 526 8th St. in Hoquiam.

Wool hats from the British Isles are a popular item in the gift shop. (Photo by Katie McGregor)

“I learned a lot working for them, for sure,” Paylor said. “Gibbons gave me one of my first management jobs at Galway and then later was so encouraging to Patrick and me as we started our own restaurant. He told us, ‘Hey if this is a better opportunity for you, do it!’ He even looked over our initial lease for the restaurant and has helped me with employee issues. I consider him a mentor. He’s been super great, both he and Doyle.” For up-to-date hours and information on Galway Bay Irish Pub, visit galwaybay@coastaccess.com, or call (360) 289-2300.