By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Tomorrow morning, the longtime manager of Spud Fish and Chips on Alki will be at work before dawn.
They’re expecting quite the lunch rush – almost certainly a line, despite the fact it’ll be a Wednesday in autumn. The occasion? Spud turns 75 years old (and is sponsoring WSB to promote the occasion) – and throwing a party.
Manager Carol Kelly – at right with daughters Ashley and Tory, who were on duty with her there when we chatted Monday afternoon – has worked at Spud on Alki for about half the restaurant’s three-quarters-of-a-century lifespan … almost 38 years.
Just kind of happened that way, she explains – she graduated from West Seattle High School, and other members of her family were already working at Spud. “I really like working with the public … and it’s such a well-established place. … I enjoy it down here.”
Quite the view, of course, since from behind the counter – inbetween rushes – you can look right out at Alki Beach and Elliott Bay.
Tomorrow, the view will feature a lot of people, pomp and circumstance, and prizes.
The first 75 in line when Spud opens at 10:30 am will get gift bags; the city will present a special commemoration at 10:15; and there’s a birthday special all day long, 1-piece fish and chips for $2.75, with $1 going to the West Seattle Food Bank (or $1.75 if you bring a nonperishable food donation – bins’ll be set up by the doors and register, Carol says); other prizes and fun stuff too, including marimba music by the Seattle ensemble Nyamuziwa, 11 am-2 pm.
As part of the anniversary celebration, Spud is about to start an essay contest, asking people to tell their stories – Carol says she’s heard a lot of them over the years, and is hearing even more as the big day nears. “Like, ‘I came here when I was a baby’ – or, people will tell us that though they’ve moved away, if they fly in, the first place they come is down here (to Spud)!” (More about the essay contest tomorrow, part of a month-plus celebration that’ll follow the party; the online hub is Spud’s Facebook page.)
Carol has a few stories of her own, of course. Well-known customers over the years, including West Seattle-born Hollywood star Dyan Cannon, and sports stars like golf’s Fred Couples and football’s Matt Hasselbeck. And then there were the funny moments – like the employee years ago who thought it might be funny to add green food coloring for St. Patrick’s Day. Green beer might be great at a bar, but green fish at a restaurant? Well …
Tomorrow, though, like every other day, you’ll just see the golden-brown variety of fish and chips (the fries are from fresh potatoes), and other menu items like chicken (which Carol says is probably the most popular addition over the years). The team’s already been working extra-duty to get stocked up – making extra tartar sauce for example (yes, it’s made, and those little containers are filled, on site, Carol explains).
Not that she’s complaining. She’s smiling throughout our interview as she tells us about what has long been “THE place to work” – for several generations now: “Everybody knows Spud.”