The Train Wreck Bar & Grill

by Marisa Papetti

We stopped at the Train Wreck Bar & Grill for breakfast in Burlington, WA on our way east to the gorgeous North Cascade National Park. It’s an odd shaped brick building, long and narrow, standing alone next to the train tracks on Fairhaven Ave, just a few blocks off Highway 20. I knew immediately that we had chosen a great breakfast venue: most of the tables were full of comfortable looking locals at 10am on a Wednesday morning. The interior is casual and clean, with exposed brick and beautifully finished wood tables supported by natural form stumps.

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We got coffee first, and when I mentioned how good it was to our server Heidi she explained that they roast it themselves, just down the road. I ordered a Monte Cristo and my companion ordered smoked beef brisket hash and a side of biscuits and gravy. My Monte Cristo was a twist on the classic, with three slices of French toast, grilled ham, Swiss cheese and two eggs cooked to order inside. I usually prefer my Monte Cristos fried whole in French toast batter, but the strawberry chili and mango mojo dipping sauces more than made up for that deviation from tradition. The smoked brisket hash was delicious too, with caramelized onions, peppers, and hand cut potatoes, and the biscuits were clearly made from scratch. I eyeballed a “train wreck” Bloody Mary on its way to another lucky customer, it was a quart mason jar, with skewers of vegetables, breakfast sliders, and other goodies protruding out in all directions like a breakfast bouquet. If I wasn’t already stuffed, I may have ordered one for myself.

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We enjoyed our breakfast so much, that on our way back down from the mountains, we stopped in again to get a look at the dinner menu, and share some appetizers. The place was packed, and we were lucky to grab two stools at the bar. We ordered bacon wrapped, cream cheese stuffed jalapenos, Dungeness crab shooters with horseradish cocktail sauce, and buffalo style ‘wings’ that were actually sauce coated popcorn style chicken. We chose beers from a great tap selection of local and regional microbrews and chatted up the bar manager Molly (when we could grab her attention for a few seconds amidst the chaos of a packed bar.) Molly informed us that, in addition to roasting their own coffee, the Train Wreck bakes all of their own breads, smokes their own meat, and actively supports community events and organizations.

These guys are not messing around. The food is excellent, locally sourced when possible, prepared in house (no flash-frozen mozzarella sticks here) and served beautifully in an unpretentious and welcoming atmosphere.

Important note: This is a bar, and is only open to patrons 21 and up at all hours of the day.

427 East Fairhaven Ave Burlington, WA 98233

www.trainwreckbar.com

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