248 Reuben Memorial Drive
Friday Harbor , WA 98250
(800) 451-8910


Every day 8:00 AM - 3:00 PM


Photo Credit: Bud Hardwick
Roche Harbor prides itself on maintaining its historic character while modernizing and adding services for visitors. For many visitors, the most appreciated of these is the Lime Kiln Café. One of the few eateries located outside of Friday Harbor, on San Juan Island, it is strategically positioned to serve breakfast and lunch to customers equally well whether they arrive by land, sea or air.

Located on a rocky peninsula that extends directly into the center of the harbor; the extensive docks for visiting boaters radiate out in all directions. The café, located near the end of this point, offers nearly every diner, scenic maritime views. The large picture windows provide plenty of light and seaside ambiance. The décor is open and uncluttered but does favor the history of the Roche Harbor Lime Company in the historic photographs arranged on the walls and the decoratively placed founding date, “1886,” ornamenting the booths. Along the windows simple wooden tables and chairs blend with the casual atmosphere of the restaurant. No need for dressing up or worrying about children. The rough nautical attire of a nearby patron may not be fashion but function as many of the visiting boaters enjoy dining here.

Breakfast offerings tend to be hearty; with variations on eggs, breakfast meats, and pancakes, a good thing for those enjoying lots of exercise and salt air. There’s also oatmeal and a few less common dishes for those looking for something else. Lunch provides basic fare including fried fish, clam chowder, burgers, hot and cold sandwiches as well as some pleasant surprises. The names of some of the dishes reflect local history and when possible, the preference for local island ingredients; menu items like Cattle Point Burger or The Quarry Man Special. The names of other dishes with references to more distant locales such as Hawaii or Alaska are a reminder of the great distances that Roche Harbor lime was transported in the days when sailing ships dominated the seas.

The very building that the café is now located in was in fact a lime barrel storehouse. Processed lime is potentially highly flammable if it comes in contact with water. Transporters relied on wooden barrels to keep the lime dry but in 1923 a raging fire destroyed the docks and wharves. The present structure was the replacement which was immediately rebuilt. Despite several remodels and upgrades over the years many of the original structural elements still remain.

A slightly more recent addition is the small box-like building at the end of the peninsula opposite a little grass lawn in front of the café. This is the pilot house of what was once the tug “Roche Harbor” used for pulling barges filled with raw quarried limestone or party barges filled with sometimes hundreds of guests of Roche Harbor’s founder John McMillin along with their entertainment and food. Fronting the pilot house, are a series of flagstaffs used in the Colors Ceremony, a famous evening event during the summer months (see Roche Harbor article, this website).

The Roche Harbor area provides a lot of things to do while visiting the San Juan Islands and the Lime Kiln Café is a convenient and pleasant place to enjoy a break while taking some nourishment before continuing your adventures whether they are strenuous or relaxing.
Written By: Bud Hardwick
On: 6/30/2011


Follow directions to Roche Harbor (see article this website). At the waterfront, a peninsula extends into the harbor providing the location for a long white building that includes a general store, restrooms, and at the very end, the Lime Kiln Café.


Breakfast | Kid Friendly | Lunch | Outdoor seating


Copyright 1998-2022 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED