MUKILTEO — Bowls of clam chowder, shrimp skewers and plates of salmon were among the half-eaten meals left behind when patrons rushed out Ivar’s Tuesday night moments before a wave of water smashed through a picture window, flooding the landmark waterfront restaurant.
"All of a sudden, planks started popping off the deck," said Steve Anderson, the restaurant’s general manager. "(I) saw the dining room lift up 4 feet into the air. That’s when I was, like, ‘this is getting pretty intense.’"
The first of eight windows exploded as Anderson was getting the last of his customers out of the restaurant just before 5 p.m.
The "Hawaii-size" waves flipped over chairs and tables, sent glass flying, bent a wall and did an unknown amount of structural damage to the restaurant during Tuesday’s surprise windstorm.
Ivar’s President Bob Donegan said the restaurant is closed and will likely take a while to reopen. He also said he didn’t yet know how much repairs would cost.
Logs and other debris lined the beaches in Mukilteo, and tree limbs and other wood were scattered across much of Old Town Mukilteo, which took the brunt of waves that washed directly at the peninsula rather than washing by as they do in most storms.
The storm knocked out power all over Mukilteo, which took hours to restore.
The Silver Cloud Inn next door to Ivar’s made it through the storm with only minor damage, mostly because it has a concrete breakwater between it and the waves, said Linnie Boyes, a manager at the inn.
"We got a little bit of water that came in when a door blew in," Boyes said. Although the damage was limited, the waves didn’t go unnoticed.
"It looked like the waves you see in Hawaii, the ones you surf on," Boyes said, adding that splashing water hit second-floor windows.
The Mukilteo ferry terminal was shut down from 5:40 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, and didn’t run at full capacity until Wednesday morning.
"We wanted to know if there was any structural damage," said Susan Harris-Huether, a spokeswoman for the ferry system. "We’re fine. There was no damage."
Charin Youngren watched the storm blow in from Whidbey’s Coffee Co., which is perched on a ridge high above the ferry dock and waterfront.
"The wind was whipping all over the place," Youngren said. "There were really, just totally big waves."
Like much of Old Town, the power was knocked out at the coffee shop so Youngren closed the shop a half-hour early.
She said it was the biggest storm she had ever seen. "I was nervous to go outside. It was just chaos."
Reporter Lukas Velush: 425-339-3449 or firstname.lastname@example.org.