Dad’s Diner a-Go-Go

Dad’s Diner A-Go-Go in Anacortes is the epitome of creative selecting and layering of flavors and textures on a plate. Add in the superior customer service in a comfortable, casual atmosphere, and it’s no wonder so many locals eat here weekly. Best friends Fletcher McLean and Neil Stuchal built the restaurant after having success with their barbecue food truck, currently parked a few blocks away on Commercial Avenue. With the exception of a handful of sandwiches, the diner’s kitchen offers a completely different menu. In the diner you’ll find a chalkboard menu divided into breakfast (it’s served all day!) and lunch. Items include tender-pulled pork tacos, fluffy biscuits with rich gravy, and brisket sandwiches. Every item has a twist: a slight spiciness, an unexpected texture, traits that solidify that these guys know what they’re doing.

Stuchal sums up their process: “Keep it simple, make it really good.” And making it really good is what Dad’s Diner does. Homemade ranch dressing is made with buttermilk and herbs, burgers are hand-formed with freshly-ground meat, the bacon takes 10 days from start to finish, pastrami takes 16 days, and the hand-cut potato wedges take three days to achieve the perfectly fluffy center and crisp exterior. Even the bottled hot sauces are made in-house. Every edible item is a labor of love, just how Dad would make it at home.

Anything off the menu is sure to please, but Dad’s Texas Philly is a prime example of how McLean and Stuchal have created a menu all their own. Their Texas Philly is a spicy, flavorful take on the classic Philly cheesesteak. What make Dad’s spins on classic dishes so enticing is McLean and Stuchal essentially took one-note classics, like the Philly cheesesteak sandwich, and layered in more flavors. Bite into the thick Texas toast sandwich and you’ll taste the well-seasoned roast beef, a hint of spiciness from jalapeño, creamy melted cheese (go with the Jarlsberg), and rich umami from a touch of brown gravy mixed in at the end. Sautéed bits of onions and green peppers make an appearance as well, adding hints of sweetness. It’s anything but one-note, making it a step-up from the classic dish.

The casual eatery goes beyond food, though. The no-fuss atmosphere is about people. The space is decorated with framed photos of dads, most of whom are local, an appreciation of their loyal fan base. Old globes line shelves — not to be hip or set a decorating trend, but simply because McLean likes globes. It’s meant to be a comforting space. McLean strives to “treat people like friends and feed them like family.” His staff has taken on that mentality and the owners credit their hard work and enthusiasm with making Dad’s Diner a welcoming place where you’ll be served elevated comfort food with a smile.

906 Commercial Ave., Anacortes
"Every edible item is a labor of love, just how Dad would make it at home."