Side view Big Star Diner Bainbridge Island or is it Richie’s 305 Diner now

Side view Big Star Diner Bainbridge Island or is it Richie's 305 Diner now

This is a side view of the Big Star Diner in Bainbridge Island, WA. During our visit to Seattle for Gnomedex last year we took the ferry over to Bainbridge Island to visit this diner. It had previously been featured on The Food Network show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Our waitress actually made light of the fact that we came from Seattle when she was talking to another employee. I guess they must figure the food isn’t that good to deal with a 30 minute ferry ride. Actually Cheryl wasn’t all that impressed and has said she didn’t think it was worth the trip. I’d go back in a minute. Why? Well I liked the ferry ride over. I found it relaxing and it was interesting to people watch. It was also interesting to visit somewhere I hadn’t before. Our waitress stated all people do on Bainbridge Island is shop or ride the trails. Neither of which we did the day we visited. The point of the journey was to go some place different and little out of the ordinary. Which is exactly what we accomplished and part of the reason I would go back. I’ve often said that people at conferences don’t take the time to explore the cities they visit. When I get a chance to be on the road and travel. I try to do exactly that – explore the places along the way. Honestly I’d tend to bet I could find some interesting places if I would do more of this around home.

The food at the Big Star Diner didn’t strike me as spectacular. However it was a different spin on what would be considered diner food. Our waitress didn’t disappear for to long and did take the time to have a conversation with us. She was friendly enough but you got the feeling she wasn’t a fan of the community she was working in. Cheryl and I were both a bit confused by one story the waitress told. We both were aware that the diner had changed ownership a bit before the Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives taping. But our server made it seem as if it had changed hands again. We never did get it worked out if that was in fact the case. There did seem to be some friction between current employees. The person who I think was the chef needed some items so he could cook. A lively discussion took place as to how those things should be purchased. As Cheryl and I were leaving we saw him coming back with a bag of groceries from the local store. He didn’t even acknowledge us or say thanks for coming in.

Since no one seemed to know when the bus would show back up to take us to the ferry station we decided to walk back. You walk through downtown Bainbridge Island and then down a hill and then you make a right for a direct shot to the terminal. The walk doesn’t take to long. But if your a bit out of shape I wouldn’t recommend walking up from the terminal to the downtown area. There is in fact a fairly decent size hill you would have to climb. Better to walk down it. Keep in mind a shuttle bus service is available at a reasonable price. We would have taken that back if we had known when it would be showing back up at the Big Star Diner.

The Big Star now Richie’s 305 Diner shares a parking lot with the Kids Discovery Museum.

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Inside the Big Star Diner Bainbridge Island

Having breakfast on Bainbridge Island at the Big Star Diner

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Charlie Parker’s diner Springfield IL on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives March 25, 2008

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Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives  Worth the Trip  Food Network

A new Star on Madison Avenue Search Big Star Diner to find the archived articles. They don’t have a direct link unfortunately.

Kids Discovery Museum

Dine – Bainbridge Island Downtown Association

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Bainbridge Island, Washington – Wikipedia

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Big Star Diner

PLEASE NOTE: Under new ownership Richie’s 305 Diner

305 Madison Ave. N.

Bainbridge Island, WA 98110

Tel: (206) 842-5786

Richie’s 305 – Classic American Diner & Bar-B-Que – Bainbridge Island has an immediate need for experienced Line Cooks & Prep Cooks for a Scheduled March 17th Opening

Craigslist link is no longer valid.

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The Urinals of Big Star Diner

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Diner News & History A Look Back on November 14th

7 thoughts on “Side view Big Star Diner Bainbridge Island or is it Richie’s 305 Diner now”

  1. I hope they’re still looking for a cook.
    The food – if the burgers and grilled cheese sandwiches are typically executed fare one month after re-opening as ‘305’ – is really crummy.
    Upside: Kids love the paper boxes shaped as vintage Chevies that their meals are served in and they’re open until 9:30 on weekends – later than a lot of places on the island.

  2. Unfortunately we didn’t get back to Bainbridge Island this year. Do to lack of time and nasty weather I compromised on heading across the water. I was really looking forward to seeing any changes that may have taken place with the new owners. I’d also wanted to be able to comment on the food. I have a bad habit of trying to explore new places while fitting in all the old places I like to visit as well. It’s not hard to see how this can cause problems in regards to time management on a trip.

    I always appreciate links back to articles here from legitimate websites. When I come across these I try my best to return the favor. Hopefully any new readers to my site will find other material they find worthwhile here. There are several pictures and articles related to our Bainbridge Island adventure on this website.

  3. Hi. I live on Bainbridge Island and my boyfriend was a waiter at Richie’s for a long time.

    The “chef” that you mention is no chef at all. He has never been to a culinary school (“chef school”). He smokes a lot (read: cannot properly taste the food.) Although that doesn’t stop him from making everyone in the back call him chef.

    About the story the waitress told:

    Well, I can’t tell you what she told you. But here’s the real story:

    * The diner was at one time the Big Star Diner

    * It exchanged hands and became Richie’s 305 (this is where it was at when you visited)

    * The resturaunt is now for sale (on craigslist!) for $162K

    This resturaunt could definately succeed, but the ‘chef’ needs to go, and it needs to be managed better.

  4. Here is a copy of the ad in case it is taken down:

    RESTAURANT FOR SALE – Established Business Opportunity – $162000 (Bainbridge Island)
    Reply to: [email protected] [?]
    Date: 2008-12-04, 12:19PM PST

    RICHIE’S 305
    305 Madison Ave N
    Bainbridge Island, WA

    A Classic American Diner

    BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY —– Offered at $162,000

    –Formerly the Big Star Diner–

    Owner’s health necessitates quick sale… Need to sell by Dec. 31st… Any reasonable offer will be considered… Need to sell ASAP!

    Classic American Diner Fare

    Featured on the Food Network’s – Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives – July 2007 segment titled, “Worth the Trip.” Re-airs frequently.

    Received 2008 “Best Casual” Platinum Plate award from the Best Independent Restaurant Association.

    This is a turnkey business opportunity (currently open seven days a week – 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM – Breakfast & Lunch). Fully staffed with motivated employees.

    Diner re-opened for business after extended cleaning and upgrades on March 17th, 2008 as Richie’s 305.

    This is a standalone building with parking. The building is a classic 50+ seat (with additional 16 seats on umbrella covered patio) 1948 diner built by the Fodero Dining Car Company – Originally in Willow Grove, PA and restored to its original beauty on this site in 1997. Lots of history. You must see to appreciate.

    Walking distance from Bainbridge Ferry – Next door to the Pavilion Theater complex – Down the street from the High School – Across the street from new Teen Center. Expected annual gross without marketing, $500,000+; since mid-March – November 2008, gross is $380,000+. With marketing by new owner, $++++++?

    Current Beer & Wine license.

    Sale includes all equipment (all cook line equipment except salamander was new as of March 2008) pots & pans, flatware, dishware, glassware, smallwares, existing inventory, recipes, new ALOHA POS system with complete back office server & software, new CCTV video surveillance system w/tamper proof video cams throughout, etc. Not included are the walk-in cooler, diner counter/stools and the booth seating (these remain the property of the building’s owner and are included in the lease) and the smoker, which remains the personal property of the seller. Equipment, etc. valued at $80,000+.

    Current lease has 3 years plus one 5 year option. Assume lease or negotiate new lease with property owner.

    Brokers/Agents with qualified, serious and motivated buyers welcome.

    Please, DO NOT SPEAK WITH EMPLOYEES or call the restaurant. For additional information please call the owner, Rich Morton at 206-459-4566 or email at [email protected].


    Willow Grove Diner
    Willow Grove, PA
    Circa 1948

    * Location: Bainbridge Island
    * it’s NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

  5. I was aware of the history from Big Star Diner to Richie’s 305. The diner was Big Star when we visited in 2007. Do to weather and other factors we didn’t make it to Bainbridge Island when we were in Seattle this year. We did make it to the greasy spoon Beth’s Cafe for the third year in a row. Still haven’t gotten to Voula’s Offshore Cafe. There is never enough time to fully explore the area as much as I would like. So we miss out on many of the hidden treasures.

    In regards to the ownership. When we were there the waitress made it sound as if the establishment had changed hands since the taping of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. It is my understanding that it had changed hands a bit before that taping. So her comment had us wondering if it had changed ownership again since the taping had taken place.

  6. Here’s the complete history:

    When the diner was located in PA it was called Willow Grove.

    It got moved to Bainbridge Island, and became the Blue Water diner.

    Then it got sold and became the Big Star Diner. (To be honest, I’m just guessing that it got sold in between Blue Water and Big Star, this was a long time ago and I don’t remember for certain.) This is when Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives came. And I guess when you came 🙂

    Then it got sold and became Richie’s 305.

    It is up for sale again.

    If you want, you can shoot me an email 🙂 I can give you tips on what places locals like to eat at. It’s easier for me than checking this site for updates.

    Plus, I like the idea that you explore the areas when you go to conventions.

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