When Patti Garrett took over the Naches Tavern in Greenwater and turned it into the Naches Bar and Grill in 2007, she thought summers would be slow.
Greenwater, after all, might be best known as the first town on the only road back from Crystal Mountain Ski Area.
But what Garrett didn’t take into account is the hiker’s appetite.
When warm days draw to a close hikers, mountain bikers and other recreators come out of the mountains with a thoroughly stoked hunger looking for big meals in outdoor hubs such as Greenwater.
Garrett is waiting with a menu that includes such items as Patti’s Mountain Man Special, an $11 four-meat sandwich roughly the size of an adult’s head.
Let’s face it, if there’s ever a time you can justify eating like this, it’s after a day playing hard in the outdoors.
That’s why in Aberdeen and Allyn you can end your day with a 1-pound burger, in Packwood you can get a pizza that weighs more than your pack and in Ashford you can get mountain-size cinnamon rolls.
Or you could always stop for a pre-hike 3-egg Country Mix Omelet smothered in gravy at Twede’s Café in North Bend.
“It could feed four people,” said Kyle Brunson, Twede’s breakfast cook. “You’re going to have to hike Mount Si more than a couple times to burn that off.”
Here’s our guide to big meals after big adventures in six Western Washington outdoor hubs.
Billy’s Bar & Grill
322 E Heron Street
Stop in after: Beachcombing at Ocean Shores or fishing or surfing in Westport.
Hours: 8 a.m.-11 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays, 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Sundays.
Billy’s might be famous for burgers, but it’s best known for its history.
At one point there was a brothel upstairs, which explains the old picture of a topless woman hanging near the bar. It’s also why the restaurant’s logo includes a busty harlot perched above the word “Billy’s.”
Gary Running, one of the owners of the restaurant, says there are also rumors that the old building is haunted.
“We’ve had some paranormal companies come out and check out the place,” Running said. “I’ve never seen anything, but if people want to think it’s haunted that OK with me.”
You wouldn’t let something like death keep you from visiting Billy’s either once you’ve sampled the burger menu. The Hero Burger ($10.99) is the menu’s highlight and an eating challenge.
The half-pound burger is topped with cheese, a sliced of fried ham and a fried egg.
This isn’t even the biggest burger on the menu. The 1-pound Billy’s Belt Buster is $12.99.
Billy’s also offers chicken, veggie and yak burgers. Billy’s gets its yak meat from a farm nearby in Elma.
More info: 360-533-7144.
Also try: Corner Street BBQ Pit & Deli, 501 Simpson Ave, Hoquiam, 360-532-2474.
Copper Creek Inn
35707 Highway 706 E.
Stop in after: Exploring Mount Rainier National Park or hiking to High Rock.
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays, 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
Located just two miles west of the main entrance to Mount Rainier National Park, the Copper Creek Inn has long been a favorite of park regulars.
While there is plenty of fancier fare on the dinner menu, it’s often the simple items that are the most rewarding.
Take the small loaf of warm bread that comes with a dinner entree. Slather it with some blackberry butter, take a bite, and the aches and pains from a day of hiking quickly slip away.
Or try the bowl of meat and three-bean chili ($6.95) or Northwest Seafood Chowder ($8.95), both served in a bread bowl. They also come in standard cups for those with smaller appetites.
Entrees range from Baked Halibut Supreme ($22.95) to vegetarian Pesto Pasta ($14.95) to a flatiron steak ($19.95).
But the real treat might be the desserts. The inn is famous for its homemade pies, including blackberry, and its Copper Toppers, sticky and delicious cinnamon delights.
More info: 360-569-2326, coppercreekinn.com.
Also try: Alexander’s Country Inn and Restaurant, 37515 State Road 706 E., 360-569-2300.
137 W North Bend Way
Stop in after: Hiking in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness or huffing and puffing your way up Mount Si.
Hours: 6:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, 6:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 6:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Sundays.
At closing time on Sundays night it’s not uncommon for hikers to talk their way in to Twede’s Café for just one slice of cherry pie ($4.25).
“We hardly ever close on time,” Brunson said.
The pie is famous for two reasons. First, it was practically a character in the 1990-91 television series “Twin Peaks” which was filmed in North Bend. Second, it’s as good as it is legendary. Especially when it’s ordered a la mode (an extra $2.15).
“Twin Peaks” fans often ask staff to take their pictures with their pie and in front of the mural painted on the back of the building that doubled as the Double R Diner in the series.
“We don’t get tired of it at all,” Brunson said. “We love it.”
If you look past the dessert menu, you’ll find more than 50 burgers (all about $10). They’ve got bacon burgers, buffalo wing burgers, Caesar burgers, Cajun burgers, hot dog burgers (yeah, that’s right), salmon burgers, Thai peanut burgers and many more.
The biggest of them is the 1-pound Whoa Baby. The $16.25 burger comes on an 8-inch bun made fresh at the neighboring bakery.
More info: 425-831-5511, twedescafe.com
Also try: Scott’s Dairy Freeze, 234 E North Bend Way, 425-888-2301.
Naches Bar and Grill
58411 State Route 410 E
Stop in after: Hiking at Mount Rainier National Park or mountain biking Skookum Flats.
Hours: 8 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Sundays.
“The Cheese,” as the locals call it, became a Greenwater icon as a tavern, but Garrett has changed it into a family friendly bar and Grill even though the sign still reads “Naches Tavern.”
Families enter through the side door into a dinning area decorated with old signs from local trails such as Suntop, one of the area’s best mountain biking rides. The dining room also has a fireplace and piano and drums guests are welcome to play.
While Patti’s Mountain Man Special is sure to fill up any hiker, Garrett’s husband, Pat, designed a burger that is becoming one of the most popular menu items. The Bor Burger is covered with mushrooms and bacon but it’s the blue cheese that sets it apart.
All of the soups, including the clam chowder, is made in house.
Rooms upstairs are available for rent for $75-100 per night and campground space is also available next to the restaurant.
More info: 360-663-2267.
Also try: Charlie’s Café, 1335 Roosevelt Ave. E, Enumclaw, 360-825-5191. (Best known for breakfast. Closes at 2 p.m.)
HOOD CANAL AREA
Big Bubba’s Burgers
18471 E. Highway 3, Allyn
Stop in after: Hiking at Olympic National Park or fishing Puget Sound.
Hours: 11-6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, closed Saturday-Monday.
This is a funky burger joint where people are willing to wait 30 minutes to get their order.
Frequent visitors, including boaters docking in Allyn, describe Bubba’s as a throwback to the 1950s.
It’s the kind of place where you walk up, place your order, watch them grab fresh ingredients and then listen to your burger sizzle on the grill.
“We call it Big Bubba’s for a reason. We don’t have small or large, just big,” said Gary Lawrence, who has owned the place for two years with his wife, Tess.
Living up to the name is the Big Bubba burger, a 1-pound patty served on a 7-inch bun. It is piled high with six slices of bacon, onions, lettuce, tomato and cheese. It’s also a deal at $7.99.
Add Perfect French Fries for $2.75. If you prefer onion rings, Lawrence serves an order of 12-15 beer-batter rings for $2.99.
More info: 360-275-6000
Also try: Crazy Eric’s Drive-In, 701 S National Ave., Bremerton, 360-373-2297
13028 U.S. 12
Stop in after: Hiking the Tatoosh Ridge or backpacking to Packwood Lake.
Hours: 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays, 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays.
This place fills up as afternoon gives way to night and folks come over White Pass or out of the forests that surround town. Some folks describe the restaurant as a tourist attraction in its own right.
Owned by Randy and Cheryl Howard, the family-style eatery dishes up plenty of pizzas for the outdoor crowd.
Among the favorites are the namesake Cruiser. It is topped with pepperoni, Canadian bacon, chunks of beef, black olives and then topped with fresh tomatoes after it comes out of the oven.
A large Crusier, which measures 15 inches across, goes for $24.25. The combo – topped with everything – is another popular pizza. A large will set you back $26.
More info: 360-494-5400.
Also try: Peter’s Inn, 13051 US Highway 12, 360-494-4000.
Craig Hill: 253-597-8497
Jeffrey P. Mayor: 253-597-8640