The owners of a new casual eatery in Coupeville are seeking to introduce some night life to the historic downtown.
Overboard, a small bites and craft cocktails restaurant with a cozy, sociable atmosphere, opened March 18 at 4 Front Street and has enjoyed a successful first month in business, according to owners Lees Datin and Rose Worley.
The menu, which features as many local products as the pair can get their hands on, is a creative endeavor for both of them. Datin handles the food while Worley creates the cocktails. Datin said Worley has a penchant for taking a classic drink and making it her own.
“With my cocktails, I like to use the same kind of farm to table mentality that people use with food and use all the awesome stuff this wonderful island produces,” Worley said.
But Worley isn’t the only one who gets to have fun in the kitchen; she said that the food menu has “always been Lees’s baby.”
Like the cocktails, the bites feature plenty of local ingredients. Most of the options are seafood based, and Datin said the offerings include gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan options to accommodate all kinds of diets.
Worley and Datin have both spent most of their careers in the food industry, and owning a restaurant of their own has been their dream for years.
Both lifelong Whidbey Island residents, the pair met shortly after high school and married in 2010. Datin worked at the County Deli and then as a nursing assistant, and Worley was a barista for years, with a few stints in fast food. After they were married, they both ended up working at the Oystercatcher when the restaurant was under the ownership of Tyler and Sara Hansen.
When the Oystercatcher closed, Datin and Worley took the opportunity to start their own operation. The couple had long had their eyes on the space they’re now in, which is the downstairs floor of 4 Front Street. When they met the building owner and discovered he was interested in bringing in new businesses to downtown, it felt like fate.
“It sort of just came together,” Datin said.
The building is one of many historic structures in downtown Coupeville. The top floor used to be a general store, and the space that now houses Overboard was once a Chinese laundry, Datin said. The building was also a set in the film “Practical Magic.” It is perhaps best known as the location of the Knead and Feed, a bakery owned by the Kroon family for more than four decades before closing in 2019.
Worley said that while researching the building, she and Datin discovered that it was once owned by another lesbian couple who lived downstairs and ran the general store on the street level.
“We’re definitely continuing that tradition of lesbian owners,” she said with a laugh.
For Datin and Worley, running a business in a building with so much rich Coupeville history is a chance to more deeply entrench themselves in the Central Whidbey community. Datin said they hope to contribute to what makes Whidbey Island, and especially downtown Coupeville, a wonderful place to visit and live.
Overboard’s current hours are 4 to 10 p.m. Friday through Sunday. Though there isn’t a bar in the small space, Datin said it “kind of has a bar feel to it.” Opening weekend saw patrons chatting with each other from across the room, which is exactly what the owners hoped for. Without many other businesses in Coupeville open that late at night, the pair hopes Overboard will become the go-to location to wrap up an evening out.
“There’s a lot of camaraderie that this space brings,” Datin said.