Best Fish & Chips!
I ran into some locals while visiting Cannon Beach Oregon and once they heard I was on my way to Astoria they promptly recommended I visit The Bowpicker for lunch. I asked where it was and their reply was "Just keep driving down the main drag from downtown and look for the boat on your right". It wasn't the boat I noticed first, it was the long line of people! Guess I'm in the right place.
We jumped in line and heard many different accents and pieces of various conversations that clued us in that everyone here were not local. They were from all parts visiting the same place we were told to check out. So it's obvious that this place is something special. Now we have to wait and see.
The smallest menu ever. The Bowpicker is a fish and chips joint only. There are no other options for you to mull over. It's easy. Either you want a Full Order (5 Pieces) or a Half Order (3 Pieces). Both come with fries and I'd suggest after waiting in line for about an hour that you choose the Full Order just in case. Don't want to finish the Half Order and wish you had more.
As I got closer to the counter the line got even longer... Tons of people!
The term "Bowpicker" is a type of fishing boat used on the Columbian River here in the Pacific Northwest. The same boat that the eatery is built within.
I love the sign noting the hours. "11ish to 6" and then the.... "Unless we run out of fish..." Ha!
One major thing worth mentioning is that The Bowpicker does not accept credit cards. This is a Cash Only eatery. So bring cash, I don't want you to have to wait in line for an hour just to find out at the counter that your credit card is not accepted. That would not be good.
Finally! We made it to the front of the line. The eatery is a small operation, one person taking orders and one frying the fish up. Nothing fancy yet they pull in some huge crowds.
The only downsides to The Bowpicker is their lack of a parking lot so you'll have to scrounge for street parking on a busy day. Still not a deal breaker, not ideal but not a big deal. The parking lot next to the boat is reserved just for the Coast Guard so there is no parking available there. You will be towed if you park there. The second downside is they only have 2 picnic tables to sit and eat at. Also... not a deal breaker. The turn over was pretty quick and it wasn't long before a couple of spots opened up. Use this opportunity to make some new friends and chat.
Today's fish and chips plate was a mix of Albacore Tuna and Snapper. The breading wasn't overdone, meaning it wasn't so thick that you taste more breading than fish. It was the perfect amount.
Now I realize what all the fuss was about. Waiting an hour in line for 5 pieces of fish, was it worth it? Yes. Yes it was! If you're in the Astoria Oregon area anytime definitely plan to stop by The Bowpicker for lunch, you won't be disappointed. My advice, get there early before they run out!