Business

Copiers by day, burgers by night

Sean Sublet, 19, gives his dad, Lance, a thumbs up as he watches him flip burgers Monday at Lancelot’s Catering and Barbecue in Oak Harbor.  - Liz Burlingame/Whidbey News-Times
Sean Sublet, 19, gives his dad, Lance, a thumbs up as he watches him flip burgers Monday at Lancelot’s Catering and Barbecue in Oak Harbor.
— image credit: Liz Burlingame/Whidbey News-Times

No other burger tastes quite the same once the palate absorbs your hometown’s particular blend of beef and special sauce.

For a while that was Kow Korner, the bygone island drive-in, where the burgers cost only a dollar before they closed. Filling that hamburger craving today has left people to pick between national chains such as McDonald’s or Burger King; until now.

Last month, Lance Sublet, a copier servicer by day and burger chef by night, opened Lancelot’s Catering and Barbecue on SW 10th Court in Oak Harbor.

The family-style restaurant is modestly decorated with colonial chairs and plaid, plastic tablecloths. The food, on the other hand, is distinctive.

Lancelot’s specialty is the dragon burger, named for the medieval theme, which offers a toothsome combination of hamburger patty, Louisiana hot link and special sauce.

“It’s popular with the Navy guys. They like the spicy stuff,” Sublet said.

Another menu item that might baffle hamburger purists is the stuffed burgers, molded from two freshly-made patties.

“We can put cheese and bacon inside and everything oozes out,” Sublet said.

While the sit-down eatery is new, Lancelot’s first hit the scene in July of 2006, originating as a catering trailer. It was a fixture at each of the major festivals and was parked near the Deception Pass Visitor’s Center for a while.

A restaurant was the next step for Sublet, who once considered cooking a hobby. In 1984, he started in the restaurant biz as a night chef at the Tyee Restaurant in Coupeville and later joined the Army.

He enrolled in Skagit Valley College’s culinary school in Mount Vernon.

“One thing I learned was consistency. If you eat at a restaurant and then eat there again a year later, it should taste exactly the same,” he said.

In the daytime, Lancelot’s is manned by his sons, 19-year-old Sean and 18-year-old Justin. Sublet and his wife, Yop Hui, take over in the evening.

“Hopefully it gets to the point that I can say goodbye to the other job,” said Sublet, who works full-time at his day job.

Unlike fast food places, none of Lancelot’s food is pre-made, and it’s rarely frozen. The menu also includes tasty barbecue items, such as ribs and pulled pork covered in South Carolina sauce.

While the decor isn’t as unique as the food, Sublet said he intends to play with the medieval theme at some point. This might include swords and shields lining the walls, and a full knight-in-armor by the doorway.

For now, Lancelot’s has the makings of a homey, vintage burger joint, which hasn’t been flattened by golden arches.

Also, Sublet has a food philosophy that burger junkies can appreciate: “It doesn’t make sense to leave a restaurant hungry,” he said.

Lancelot’s Catering and Barbecue is located at 270 Cabot's Drive, near Highway 20. The restaurant is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. It’s closed on Sundays.

The restaurant also offers calls to order for pick-up and can be reached at 360-720-4337.

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