I remember when I first learned the word Kitsch. I was a young man, in my late twenties, and managing a restaurant for the first time. The local newspaper wanted to write a story about the restaurant and my boss asked me to give the interview. The restaurant was large, two story, and built of a framework of open beams. It was not laid out in a grid fashion rather more of a meander up stairs to different levels. It was called the Vintage House and there were many empty bottles caged about to impress our customer. It held the general feeling of a winery, but with little or no kitsch. I remember trotting the word kitsch out two, maybe, three times to the reporter, I was so in love with the word. I was so proud of the fact that we had a unique look with no kitsch. Have you ever seen the sparkle leave a person’s eyes? Unfortunately I have, and this was one of those times. I meant to impress, but impressed she was not. I remembering rambling on for another 5 or 10 minutes before she made her excuses and left. I waited one week, then two. No newspaper article. Ah well, at least I got to use my new favorite word.


Speaking of kitsch there is a place in town you all know. I know you know it. If you have not yet been in it then I know that you have been by it and am one hundred percent positive that you have looked inside of it. It sits on the water and is, well, full of kitsch. Nautical kitsch. Yep, you guessed it: Vik’s Wheelhouse Bar & Grill down by the ferry building.


I first remember coming to town almost 20 years ago and walking by Vik’s a few times lamenting the fact that they were not open. Then one day the door was propped wide and there were people on the dock. I made my way in and had a lovely cold beer. Their kitchen is small and their bar even smaller. The dining room is a bit larger than the kitchen and bar combined and . . . is . . . well . . . full of kitsch. There is an old wooden ships wheel hanging from the ceiling, and another that was made in to a table. The remainder of the tables appear to be old hatch covers sealed with clear lacquer. An old binnacle sits by the door to the dock and the post at the bar is wrapped with an old hemp rope. All in all, one of the kitschiest places I have ever been in.


But gentle readers, do not let this dissuade you from entering. This past weekend we popped in for an afternoon cocktail and a bite. Fish and chips, and two types of chicken wings: Buffalo and Teriyaki. For such a small kitchen they did a great job on our food. The fish was light and fresh and the wings were super tasty. The cocktails were, as my dear old dad would say, honest. The service was friendly and attentive and the view over the Mare Island straits is always one to be enjoyed. We sat next to the window, baked in the sun and squinted while enjoying our meal. Yay to Vik’s!


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Until next time,


Eat Well and Smile Often

Tommy Judt


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