Photo by Jessie Stensland / Whidbey News-Times.
                                Alan Licht and Erlinda Shery, the new owners of the Tyee Restaurant, have coffee with Suzanne and Steven Hallen, who owned the diner for 20 years.

Photo by Jessie Stensland / Whidbey News-Times. Alan Licht and Erlinda Shery, the new owners of the Tyee Restaurant, have coffee with Suzanne and Steven Hallen, who owned the diner for 20 years.

After 20 years, Tyee restaurant is under new ownership

‘This really caught my eye’

The Tyee Restaurant in Coupeville holds a lot of history for many people.

It’s a comfortable kind of place where retirees meet for coffee, friends talk for hours over breakfast, kids blow straw wrappers at each other, people relax with a drink after work and families sit down for dinner.

Plenty of visitors to the tourist-friendly area stop by, but it’s really a place for locals.

“It’s a hangout,” said Suzanne Hallen, who owned the restaurant for 20 years with husband Steven Hallen. “People come in first thing in the morning and even start the coffee.”

The Hallens recently sold the Tyee to Erlinda Shery and Alan Licht of Bremerton, but residents need not worry about it closing or changing into something different.

Erlinda Shery and Alan Licht explained that they were looking for a business and came across the Tyee. Shery said she wanted a place that would spawn a relationship — with the community and the staff.

“This really caught my eye,” Licht said. “Erlinda immediately fell in love with the place.”

Shery and Licht said they plan on staying at an apartment above the restaurant part time. They hoped to get involved in the community as soon as possible.

“We need to shake some hands and meet some people,” Licht said.

Besides the restaurant, the Tyee includes a popular bar and a motel with nine rooms.

Shery and Licht both stressed that the restaurant comes with a great staff and runs well. The only changes he’s planning right away, Licht said, is to add some microbrews to the beer selection and bring in live music. He already knows musicians who are interested.

Shery said she is going to experiment with adding her baked goods to the menu.

The Tyee building was built in 1926 and housed several different businesses over time, including a meat market and a barber shop, Suzanne Hallen said. It was known as Pat’s Place for many years and was renamed as the Tyee more than 40 years ago.

The Hallens said the diner is best known for its fish and chips; they plan to pass on the “secret recipe,” Suzanne said.

It’s also a great place to grab a bowl of clam chowder, a burger, a salad, prime rib or just about any other diner or pub fare.

“They make a great BLT,” Shery said.

More in Business

After 30 years, Whidbey Coffee is strong as ever

Whidbey Coffee’s story began with chicken fajitas at a small community festival.… Continue reading

Local brewer taps into neighboring market

Big plans are a-brewing at one Coupeville-based business. Penn Cove Brewing Co.… Continue reading

Oak Harbor’s new gyro hero: Former employee buys, transforms longtime Greek restaurant

Things are a bit different now for Jessie Abrahamson at the little… Continue reading

New Whidbey air service takes flight

The trip to Seattle from Oak Harbor takes just 19 minutes if… Continue reading

Rockin’ a Hard Place: Chef adds farming to his resume

He’s about to turn 35, so it’s only natural that a creative… Continue reading

Meerkerk in bloom

Garden celebrates 40 years of rhodies, providing beauty to Whidbey

Growing a new program at Greenbank Farm

Veterans become farmers in Boots to Roots

Kennedy joins Peoples Bank as VP, commercial banking officer

Peoples Bank has announced the hiring of PATRICK KENNEDY as a vice… Continue reading

Family brings flowers to Greenbank Farm

Greenbank Farm, currently known for its retail stores, pies and dog park,… Continue reading

Rich Murphy uses an old barn as a warehouse for a line of backpacks called Aarn that are designed in New Zealand and sold worldwide. Murphy and his wife, Genie, are the new North American distributers for the backpacks that emphasis balance and reducing strain while hiking. (Photo by Patricia Guthrie/Whidbey News Group)
                                Rich Murphy shows tandem packs that can attach to backpacks and be worn in front to help with balance. (Photos by Patricia Guthrie/Whidbey News Group)
                                The backpacking equipment company called Aarn began when New Zealander founders Aarn Tate and Devi Benson began designing outdoor products to be more “body-comfortable.” The material is extremely tough but light and durable. The store’s balance bags run around $70 to $150 and the full backpacks $200 to $400.
Couple brings New Zealand packs to Whidbey Island

Distributors leap from buying outdoor gear to selling it

Central Whidbey nonprofit has big plans for tiny house

A recent donation to Ryan’s House for Youth proved too good of… Continue reading

Clinic getting new name

Whidbey Island Internal Medicine in Coupeville is becoming WhidbeyHealth Primary Care Coupeville.… Continue reading