So close to the border, it’s practically in Canada, the quaint town of Friday Harbor has yet to be overrun by strip malls and golden arches. But, in a small converted house, just blocks from the Friday Harbor Marina, you’ll find the island’s version of ‘fast food’ at San Juan Bistro.

Formerly San Juan Island Cheese, the local shop was rebranded in 2018. Forgoing the cheese counter, co-owners Richard and Sherri Daly transitioned the restaurant into a lunch bistro.

The kitchen is now operated under the guidance of Chef Bill Messick, who has focused on creating a seasonally inspired menu featuring high-end lunch fare at affordable prices. While not all menu items are available to-go — like Chef Messick’s handmade pasta which doesn’t travel well — the majority of sandwiches, paninis, salads, and desserts can be taken on the road.

For those looking for a truly ‘quick’ option, the bistro has two grab-and-go sandwiches: Coho salmon lox on focaccia and pastrami with swiss. Both items are made fresh daily and designed to be taken on the road. This makes them ideal for a picnic while exploring the island.


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