If you’re heading south on Highway 20 from Anacortes toward Whidbey Island, you’ll catch sight of a small, lone establishment on the left whose sign reads “Sweet Ds Shrimp Shack.” It feels like the middle of nowhere, but it’s a mere two miles north of the Deception Pass Bridge. Apparently the prized location is grandfathered in (it used to be a grocery story in the 1950s and 60s), since the Shrimp Shack has been sitting on that prime slice of property since 1973.
You might want to time your Whidbey arrival right about lunchtime, because it’s the perfect place to pull in, order up some take-out and head down the road five minutes to Bowman Bay (the northernmost edge of Deception Pass State Park), or into the Rosario Beach park for a picnic with a stunning Northwest view.
Shrimp is the big draw here—the coonstripe, sidestripe, and pink shrimp are local, from the waters around the San Juan Islands. Wednesdays are the shrimp-fishing days and the fishermen boil their catch right onboard their vessels and bring them over to Sweet Ds. You can buy them by the pound for about $5-$6 (freeze or keep them in your fridge for a barbecue). The oysters come from up the nearby coast and the mussels are direct from Penn Cove, halfway down Whidbey. The oyster burger is a personal favorite, along with the cod fish-wich. For meat eaters, the hamburgers are ground fresh from local grass-fed beef, or you might enjoy an elk burger, or house-made brat. Everything is local and delish, the portions are generous, the prices excellent. And there’s something about sitting outside, next to your motorhome-sweet-motorhome, tasting the bounty from the sea while gazing out at the pine-fringed coves of the surrounding islands that just says picnic in paradise —Northwest style.