From the outside, Homeskillet in Bellingham, Washington doesn’t look like a restaurant at all. If anything, it’s more like the colorful home of an eccentric artist. There’s this giant mosaic chicken named Miss Velveeta Jones at the far corner of the lot. And the inside is even more… creative.
There are tchotchkes, trinkets and knick-knacks everywhere, and even the washroom — with a terrifying collection of clowns and clown imagery — is constantly illuminated with colorful disco lights. If you’re not a fan of the quirk, you’re going to be really weirded out by the vibe here. But if you’ve got an open mind and appreciate the eccentricity, this place is definitely unique.
You are greeted with plenty of personality, a welcoming if perhaps overwhelming environment, and some of the friendliest service I’ve experienced in quite some time. It reminds me a little of Sophie’s Cosmic Cafe in Vancouver’s Kitsilano neighborhood, but considerably more off the beaten path.
As soon as we sat down, our server grabbed a sizable My Little Pony doll (about a foot tall) and a basket full of children’s books to entertain our three-year-old. This was before even getting our menus, so they clearly know what’s up when it comes to kids at the table.
Just about everything is made in-house at Homeskillet, including an assortment of hot sauces and barbecue sauces. I’m generally partial to green sauces, so I gravitated toward the bottle with cilantro and lime. They also had a hotter, Asian-inspired hot sauce with mango.
A personal skillet piled high with home fries, scrambled eggs, bacon, ham, sausage and cheese
Of course, we had to try a signature dish from which the eatery derives its name. The home fries were cooked beautiful with a fluffy inside and the seasoning on the meat mix is a touch on the aggressive side. This is especially true as you get closer to the bottom of the skillet where all the pork fat inevitably collects.
As a certain sandal-wearing “dive” eccentric might put it, this skillet is a one-way ticket to Flavor Town and I mean that with the utmost of affection.
Kirb’s Redonkulous Pulled Turkey Sandwich
On a bread farm hoagie roll topped with house made cider vinegar slaw, plus hand cut fries
The meaty chunks were well complemented by the crispy, slightly sour slaw, and the hoagie roll handily held up to the challenge. That said, the bottom of the bun did get a little soggy, but never to the point where I worried about it maintaining its integrity.
The hand cut fries, piled extra high, are top notch. They’re cut thin and slender with the skin intact, which allows for a great crispy exterior that’s perfect for dipping in all those hot sauces. The plate isn’t totally flat though — it’s almost like a very shallow bowl — so it can be a little hard to find a spot for the sauce until you’ve cleared away some of those fries.
Half fresh brewed iced tea, half house made lemonade
Even the drinks at Homeskillet are made in house! There’s definitely a bit of a contemporary hipster vibe with the mason jars. The Arnold Palmer had a great “tea” taste to it, which I really appreciate. Cold and refreshing (and it comes with two free refills too, should you feel so inclined).
Places like Homeskillet very clearly aren’t for everyone. It’s hardly refined and the kitschy look will be a turn-off to some. There’s random clutter just about everywhere you look and, as there is only one cook in the tiny kitchen, “fast” food is not at all a priority here.
The execution at Homeskillet is better than places like Jethro’s Fine Grub in Vancouver and they’re not at all trying to class it up for a Sunday brunch like Edible Canada. Homeskillet knows what it is and is darn proud of it. And rightfully so.
The total check, including tax and tip, came to around $33. Homeskillet is located at 521 Kentucky Street in Bellingham, Washington, a few blocks away from the Trader Joe’s on James Street.
Note that Homeskillet cannot accommodate any parties larger than four people (there are only 32 seats in the dining room in total). They also don’t offer take-out. That’s just how they roll. Homeskillet keeps it humble with up to 300 meals served each day. And weird. So very weird.