Bellingham is known as the home of Western Washington University. It has nine breweries! And get this, it also is the site of the oldest restaurant in the state. It's called the Horseshoe Cafe and Ranch Room, and as Refined discovered, there is a reason this place is legendary.
"It's pretty impressive. It's an icon," said customer, Jack Waytz. "It's great that a place like Bellingham has landmarks like this and it's good that they're continuing to thrive."
Known as "The Shoe," it's been part of the Bellingham community since 1886.
"When it opened, actually, it was kind of cool, it was a bait and tackle shop," explained owner, Kate Groen. "It was sandwiches and stuff. It was a smoke shop. A bait and tackle, you could get your hunting license and your fishing licenses here. In the 1950s, they moved from across the street to this location. And that's when it evolved into what it is now. Less hunting and fishing and more restaurant and bar. My family purchased the restaurant two years ago and when we did that, we had a few months layover to wait for all the business licenses. So what we did, was using two photos from the 1950s as our inspiration, we did a little bit of a remodel here in the Horseshoe Cafe. And our goal was to bring back that classic diner look and feel, a place where you go where everyone knows your name, very family style. As a family we run the Horseshoe, but it's been a community staple for the last 130 years. There's absolutely no way this restaurant would be open if it weren't for the community and the people supporting it. It's that place late at night where you go for cheesy fries or the next morning for a mimosa or whatever. And you're going to be comfy here, it's your spot. So, I might say I don't always feel like I truly own it."
In addition to serving all-day breakfast, delicious burgers and homemade pie, patrons can also belly up to the bar in the Ranch Room.
"During the day it's slower, but it can get a little bit rowdy in the evening," said Blair Edwards, general manager. "I say we mostly have whiskey drinkers and beer drinkers overall. You end up having something to talk about with everybody no matter what. People ask about our mural all the time, so I get to hear all different sorts of stories as to what it's about."
"It's kind of like your hometown bar, it's kind of a little divey, it's a college bar, it's really an every man's bar," said Winter Bailey-Cobb, customer and bartender. "It's got a unique staff, it's got a unique customer base, it's just someplace that feels homey. It's like Cheers, but with hipsters."