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.

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