Highway 2 Eat + drink Guide
Sultan to Index
As much as I love the core cities of Snohomish County, I love getting off the beaten path and enjoying the smaller one’s just as much, if not more. There’s nothing hitting the wide open road of Highway 530 (Arlington/Darrington), the Mountain Loop Highway (Darrington to Granite Falls), the Pioneer Highway (Stanwood), or Highway 2 from Sultan through Index and Skykomish.
One of the biggest draws is the amazing moutain, river, and waterfall views – like Eagle Falls in Index (pictured). Yeah you can see these things in the bigger cities, but it’s just not the same. Another big draw, with some of the highways, is the lack of cell phone service. They are some of the few places you can go to get away from it all and disconnect from your precious electronic devices (my phone doesn’t appreciate all of the notifications all at once when we return to civiliazation though).
Beyond these two things, one of the biggest reasons to hit these highways is the lack of literally each and every national chain you can think of. That means you’re choices for shopping, eating, drinking, and playing are purely local and 100% better. Sorry McDonald’s and Starbucks, but its true. Give me a local burger and locally roasted coffee over them any day.
The section of Highway 2 between Sultan and Index, as well as further East, is no exception when it comes to any of this. While there aren’t a crazy amount of places to shop, there is an abundance of local places to eat and drink, not only coffee but beer as well. And, since there aren’t really non-local options available, this article is a good to read.
What follows are the best places to eat and drink, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, and of course burgers. Not to mention desserts, from pie to locally made chocoalte. Just saying all of this reminds me of the hardest part about having to write about local food options, it makes me really, really, hungry. On the plus side, I do get to try out all the places we feature, so there is that (yeah, I should probably stop complaining).
Timber Monster Brewing
410 Main St, Sultan
I know what you’re thinking, this is going to be all about the beer. You’d be wrong though. While their locally brewed beer, cider, and root beer are nothing short of amazing, the #1 reason to visit Timber Monster Brewing is their weekend brunch. It is THE best breakfast to be found from Sultan to Index.
While the brunch menu may be short and sweet, the portions are huge and the food is delicious. Their Sasquatch Scramble and Cinnamon Swirl French Toast are must tries. So is their bloody mary, if you are into that. I’m not, but I saw one while I was there, and the thing looked crazy.
Timber Monster Brewing also offers appetizers, pizza, and more outside of brunch, and I’m guessing all of it is just as good!
711 W Stevens Ave (Hwy 2), Sultan
Odds are you are more than familiar with the Sultan Bakery, if not, you seriously must be living under a rock. The bakery and restaurant have been a Snohomish County staple for, I’m guessing, longer than I’ve been alive (yeah, I’m that old). It’s staying power has quite a bit to do with its location. Those traveling up and down Stevens Pass can’t help but stop.
Is it worth it though? I’m somewhat torn on this one, despite its popularity (I know, I know, I’m a horrible person). To take the sting away, I will start off by saying it is one of my favorite Snohomish County bakeries, if not THE favorite. Their cookies, donuts, pies, and bars (pictured below), can’t be beat. They are worth a stop all on their own.
As for everything else, we’ve kind of been noticing the food quality going down a bit over the last few years. Their bread is amazing, the thickest and softest you will find, so their breakfast and lunch sandwiches are a good bet. Other than that, everything else is fairly standard diner fare and average taste and presentation wise. Nothing stands out, well other than the multitude of dry erase boards that show off menu options, they are pretty original and unforgettable. I only wish I could say the same about the non-bakery based food options.
Vick’s Burger Shack
930 W Stevens Ave (Hwy 2), Sultan
When most of you think drive in’s along Highway 2, you probably jump to Zeke’s in Gold Bar (don’t worry it’s featured as well). If you do though, you are missing out on an even better option – Vick’s Burger Shack in Sultan.
They are in my type five drive in’s in Snohomish County, mostly due to the fact that they have mastered the necessary trifecta for such quick stops – good burgers, good fries, and good shakes. Most manage two, if they are lucky.
This one is definitely a must try, especially the Western Bacon Burger – I have a thing for BBQ sauce on burgers!
930 W Stevens Ave (Hwy 2), Sultan
Sultan Bakery isn’t the only place to enjoy dessert in Sultan. Galaxy Chocolates is one of the few local made candy and chocolate shops. I love them, not only because everything is delicious, but because their creativity is unmatched anywhere else. So much goes into designing their chocolates, you almost don’t want to eat them, they look so cute and good.
50000 Highway 2, Gold Bar (Index)
The absolute best place to get coffee along the stretch of Highway 2 between Sultan and up Stevens Pass has to be the Espresso Chalet. The coffee alone is worth a stop, and I’m happy to say it is PNW roasted. I’m a sucker for local, you should know that by now.
Coffee isn’t the only reason to stop though, there is also the fun bigfoot themed atmosphere, gifts, books, and even their bigfoot cookie which is huge and has a bit of all of the traditional cookies rolled into one.
I also happen to like stopping here because it is one of the best places to check out the beautiful Bridal Veil Falls, you know, without having to hike up to it (I’m getting to that).
If you love pie, or massive cinnamon rolls for that matter, the Mountain View Diner is the place for you. They offer well over a dozen fruit and cream pies, cobblers, cheescakes, and more, all on display for you to drool over. My favorite is the banana cream pie (I have a weird obsession with bananas and banana flavored things).
As for the food, it is one of the few spots to go for breakfast, and overall the food is standard diner fare and average. With the exceptions of weekends when Timber Monster Brewing has its brunch menu, this is the next best option for breakfast. And, there’s nothing saying you can’t have dessert with breakfast, according to me anyway (bananas are a good breakfast food, just saying).
Zeke’s Drive In
43918 Highway 2, Gold Bar
Zeke’s is the most well known drive in located in Snohomish County. It has been going strong for 50+ years thanks to its prime location along Highway 2. Like the Sultan Bakery, it is a staple stop on your way up and down Stevens Pass, as weil as in Snohomish County in general.
While not one of my favorite drive in’s (again, I know, I’m a horrible person), there is plenty to love about it. For me, it starts with the mountain views, any restaurant with that get an automatic point in my book. The second thing I love, they have one of the largest selections of shakes – over two dozen- and its one of the few places I can get a peppermint one year round and real fruit in the fruit flavored options.
The burgers, and other options, they are typical of what you find at most restaurants. Their hot dogs are huge though, and my dogs as well as myself love their bacon and cheese wrapped one. Their fries are better than average and their homemade ranch is delicious. I have to mention that because The SnoCo Kid and I are ranch nuts, we don’t eat ketchup on anything. It’s ranch and BBQ sauce all the way.
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