BANDON — When sports editor John Gunther and I arrived at the Wheelhouse restaurant a little after noon on Monday there were still good seats to be had.
A few minutes later, the place was full and groups were putting their names on a waiting list.
Since we go to lunches fairly early on Mondays, we usually don't expect restaurants to be that busy. You can tell the summer tourism season has started.
The Wheelhouse is located at 125 Chicago Ave SE, across from the marina and across the street from Cranberry Sweets.
The party of nine that came in while we were ordering was probably going to have to wait for the party of eight that came in right as we were getting there to get done. Just a hint, if you have a large party like that, call for reservations ... even for lunch.
The only hitch in our plans at the Wheelhouse was that they were still waiting for the fish truck to get there and were out of rock fish.
Since both of us had picked rock fish items off the menu (I was going to order the grilled rock fish with rice and salad and John was going to order the rock fish PoBoy) we needed to make a second selection.
That wasn't really that difficult since there were several items on the menu I was interested in.
Our server said they could make the fish tacos with halibut, so I opted for that.
John went back to what he said would have been his first choice and ordered the blackened chicken sandwich. That one caught my eye as well, but being that close to the water, I feel like I have to order seafood of some kind.
The blackened chicken sandwich at Wheelhouse Restaurant in Bandon. The meal comes with an order of fries and cole slaw.
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The other item that caught my eye was the chicken-sausage gumbo and I was tempted, but I wasn't sure if I could have finished that and the fish tacos.
Now, as soon as I tell my wife how Wheelhouse makes their tacos, she's going to make me take her there. We used to live down the road from this taco shop in the Sacramento area that used to melt the cheese on the tortilla shell, then spread a thin layer of guacamole and then the meat of your choice. Wheelhouse does something very similar. They have the melted cheese on the tortilla, then the fish, then the avocado before the slaw on top.
The two tacos comes with a side of pico de gallo and sweet potato fries. They put a light crisp on the tortilla, which I like. I'm a new fan.
John also enjoyed his meal. He couldn't stop nodding his approval.
"This is a good sandwich."
He even grabbed my fork halfway through the meal to cut off a small piece of chicken so I could try it.
Yep. Really good.
And it came with a nice slab of tomato, some leaf lettuce and mayo and is served on grilled garlic bread.
Good thing is that now we have a really good reason to go back and try out our first selections ... and maybe that gumbo.
The Wheelhouse restaurant is located in Old Town Bandon, at the corner of Chicago Avenue Southeast and First Street Southeast.