Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Ivar’s Acres of Clams

In Seattle, there are three restaurants, Ivar’s Acres of Clams (the original, established in 1938), Ivar’s Salmon House and Ivar’s Landing in Mukilteo, and several smaller, more casual, fast-food kind of Ivars, famous for fish and chips.

This was one very smart man. The first Ivar’s Acre of Clams was built next to the ferry terminal in Seattle and provided both oceanfront dining and a quick place to grab some fish and chips coming to and from the ferries. It was a Seattle landmark; everyone knew Ivar’s Acres of Clams.

He also did a lot of promotions, appearing on TV in his own ads, often singing. The ads were very very bad, so bad that everyone remembered them, so in fact . . . they were so bad that they were good.

(Photo courtesy Paul Dorpat from the collection of Pacific Northwest History.)

(Kuwait needs this Wikipedia kind of historical page, gathering data and stories before the old Kuwaitis are all gone, and their stories with them. This would be a great thesis program, getting this set up and running.)

Some of my earliest memories are meals at Ivar’s. As a child, visiting from Alaska, the whole of my father’s clan, aunts, uncles, cousins, would all gather at Ivar’s for a grand dinner. Later, as a starving college student, from time to time a kind aunt would invite us to dinner or lunch there, taking us out of the university environment. As a young married, it was the restaurant where my husband-to-be met my extended family for the first time. Ivar’s is full of memories, as well as good food!

To this day, I often meet my old friends at Ivar’s. The food standards remain high – good Pacific Northwest Seafood, prepared so that their flavors come through. Dungeness crab Louis, salmon and chips, prawns and chips, halibut and chips – even plain old fish and chips, fresh out of the deep fryer. Even Ivar’s fast food is delicious, and as well as the fish and chips you can get their great clam chowder, also smoked salmon chowder, and a salmon ceasar salad, or a shrimp or crab cocktail – at the fast food Ivars. Great quality food, not the supersize me kind of food.

These are photos of the original Ivar’s Acre of Clams:

This is what their seafood cocktails look like (YUMMMMMMM!)

This is one of their dine-in fast food places; there is a long line of people ordering!:

This is the Ivar’s motto:

The Mukilteo Landing Ivars suffered so much damage in a recent storm that they were closed for over a year as they remodeled to be able to seat more people:


This big fish is part of the interior:

You sit in this beautiful restaurant, inside or outside, and watch the Mukilteo ferry come in and out of the dock. The restaurant is right next to the dock, and also has a fast-food Ivars outside to sell fish and chips or chowder to all the people in line waiting for the next ferry.

Ivar Hagland isn’t alive anymore, but his restaurants live on, thriving, after all these years. The concept holds true – have a great product in a great location and the profits will follow. You can read more about his restaurants, and even look at their menus by clicking Ivar’s.

August 3, 2007 - Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Biography, Community, Cooking, Customer Service, Eating Out, Entertainment, Entrepreneur, Health Issues, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Local Lore, Lumix, Photos, Seattle, Travel


  1. As i was reading this, i tried to remember if there’s any restaurant that brings back lots of memory for me. Nope, i moved around a lot as a kid so didn’t really have time to build this kind of memory.

    Great idea about the site. I wonder where the oldest restaurants in kuwait are?

    Comment by Magical Droplets | August 4, 2007 | Reply

  2. So Magical, where all have you lived?

    Comment by intlxpatr | August 4, 2007 | Reply

  3. hehehehe! Big fish ๐Ÿ˜€

    Such places have a distinct soul to them that makes it all different. So much better than the McDonaldized and Starbucksed places you get around here.

    Comment by kinano | August 5, 2007 | Reply

  4. lmao@ keep clam!

    i dunno why but i find that incredibly funny ๐Ÿ˜›

    its a shame that theres no decent seafood place here in kuwait, especially since you get some of the best and cheapest seafood in the world here.

    Comment by sknkwrkz | August 5, 2007 | Reply

  5. Skunk – al Noukaza? Tanureen in Fehaheel?

    I see really fabulous looking fish in the fish markets . . . but I have to admit, the best fish I have been served in Kuwait has been in private houses.

    Comment by intlxpatr | August 6, 2007 | Reply

  6. ahh havent really tried those places, but yeah so far nothing beats kuwaiti homecooked fish ๐Ÿ˜›

    Comment by sknkwrkz | August 6, 2007 | Reply

  7. What I would love to see in Kuwait is a dinner boat – in Doha, you can rent a boat for an evening for a fairly reasonable price, and invite all your friends, take them out on the water, the boat people fix a great barbecue and it is a lovely evening. Wouldn’t eating grilled fish taste great out on the Gulf, cruising along the Corniche, maybe down to Fehaheel?

    Comment by intlxpatr | August 6, 2007 | Reply

  8. […] there are odd times when I am suddenly starving. Delighted to be in Seattle, I know where all the Ivar’s restaurants are. Some are go-in-and-sit-at-a-table kind of Ivar’s, with waiters and fabulous entrees, and […]

    Pingback by Fast Food To Feel Good About « Here There and Everywhere | November 21, 2007 | Reply

  9. due to the busy schedules from work, most people would just prefer to eat on fastfoods ”

    Comment by Fluorescent Lamp : | October 28, 2010 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: