By Aaron Swaney Herald Writer
The first mistake I made was showing up before my dining partner.
Admittedly it was my miscommunication that forced me to sit in the cozy parking lot of Sharky’s and wait for my friend for longer than I would have liked. I was treated to — or tortured by — the aroma of hand-battered fish and juicy burgers as one customer after another took their food back to their cars.
It turned out to be worth the wait.
Sharky’s Fish and Chips and Burgers is a new restaurant in Stanwood, specializing in, well, pretty much what its title proclaims. After my parking lot sojourn, my friend and I ventured in to the small restaurant, which doesn’t have seating available inside. It’s pretty much a walk-up order and pick-up restaurant with seating outside for 24 (four full tables and four cafe tables).
The menu is full of the usual suspects: fish and clams and chips, burgers, fries and fish tacos. My friend ordered the three-piece halibut and chips, while I went for the bacon cheeseburger. The person who took our order was helpful and efficient and made it clear that fries didn’t come with the burger. I added them on because, well, don’t you have to? One of the nice touches was all the extras for the burgers. I had close to everything on mine, including the jalapenos.
My second mistake of the night was missing something on the menu called the Sharky’s Cheeser. It’s toasted sourdough bread topped with garlic buttered prawns and grilled tomatoes and onions. I can’t attest to its taste, but that sounds glorious.
The prices are what you’d expect from a walk-up fish-and-chips joint. Fish and chips start at $7.49, which is also the price of two fish tacos, and go up to $12.99 for the halibut and chips. Hamburgers start at $5.49, with the bacon cheeseburger costing $7.99. Fries are an add-on to the burgers and cost $2. Sharky’s Cheeser is $7.69.
The weather wasn’t great for June but it wasn’t bad, so we took a seat outside at one of the cafe tables under an overhang and waited. The larger tables, which are uncovered, were still wet from an earlier rain, leaving seating at a minimum. (One family did sit at one of the tables later during our meal after one of the owners wiped it down with a towel).
It was Friday night so it was busy and most people waited inside. One issue we ran into is that if you wait outside there’s no signal for when your order is called. After a long wait — longer surely because it was a busy night and the restaurant was still fairly new — I wandered inside just as the cashier was bagging up our meals.
All of the meals come in the usual cardboard to-go boxes and would be great for taking to the park. On that note, Sharky’s would be a perfect stop to get some lunch or dinner if you’re headed out to one of the two state parks on Camano Island or any of the other parks around Stanwood.
The burger is served diner-style — thinner patty with crispy edges — and was juicy and fantastic with a couple of big strips of bacon and plenty of toppings, including lettuce, tomato, jalapenos and pickles. I got mine with grilled onions but you can also get non-grilled. The fries are thick-cut and crispy. My friend said he could have used a few more. I thought it was enough.
The halibut my friend ordered was really good and not greasy at all. The pieces of fish are healthy in portion and are flaky and full of flavor. The homemade tartar sauce is a nice touch as well.
A co-worker who was also at Sharky’s the same night had the clams and chips, which are also a good choice. Same batter as the fish, but the clams are good-sized strips — cooked tender but not chewy — instead of cocktail-shrimp-sized bits of clams hidden in fried batter.
Sharky’s is co-owned by a pair of husband-and-wife teams: Ric and Julie Shallow and Sean and Veronica Gilles. The Shallows are new to the restaurant game, but Sean went to culinary school and has two decades of experience in the restaurant business. Rick said that they picked the location in Stanwood based on the size and quality of the kitchen. The owners did say they are in the process of adding an enclosed covering to the outside seating — hopefully finished before fall — to give customers a place to eat when the weather’s foul.
Sharky’s inhabits the same space that once housed Paradise Burgers and Duck-in Cafe along Highway 532. With just about 10 spots, parking can be a bit of a problem, but there is ample spots along the highway to park in a pinch. At least out there you can’t smell the food if you’re forced to wait.
Sharky’s Fish and Chips and Burgers
9913 Highway 532, Stanwood; 360-
Specialty: Fish and chips and burgers
Hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday