Goodbye Smokehouse

It has been a rough few months for our old landmarks …even though they may need to go it is still sad to see them go and it brings back many memories.

Last week the tear-down began on the old Smokehouse Restaurant. It has been vacant for some time and according to county records was purchased by the Quileute Tribe in Feb. 2021 for $435,000 from Forks Property Holdings LLC. The highway frontage property connects up with the 110 Business Park property (formerly Rosmond Mill) that the Tribe purchased in 2014.

It was a humble beginning for August and Helen Slather when they first operated a business on the property in 1947, selling smoked salmon out of their truck. In 1955 they built a one-story building on the property for their smoked salmon business with a cannery. They shipped fish all around the world!

A newspaper article from 1969 recounted that the Slathers sold to a couple named Nelson in 1969. Cindy Caudill, daughter of former owner Jim Caudill thought that her parents and Don Quick had purchased the business directly from Slather in the early 1970s.

Over time a second story and other additions were added on to the original building and the cannery remained in operation.

Business partners Caudill and Quick also ran Harley’s Resort for a time and operated the Smokehouse until 1983 when Steve and Judy Torgesen purchased it and ran the restaurant until the late 1990s. Allison DeMatties then purchased the business and ran it until 2011.

Quick’s son Derek recalled working in the cannery from 1981-1982. He also shared that Caudill and Quick had also opened up other Smokehouse restaurants in Bremerton and Spokane during that time.

Hungry for Smokehouse recipes? …DeMatties said that after she closed, the building was broken into several times and someone stole the recipe book!

Many will remember some great times and great seafood and the infamous stairs that went to the bar … Occasionally a customer having a few too many would have trouble navigating those stairs.

Up next …the building on Sol Duc Way?

Christi Baron, Editor