The Lunch Bucket serves up home cooking with a Hawaiian twist

By Michael Homnick

Alton Yamaki is doing his part to feed Bellingham’s hungry workforce.

Yamaki, who moved to Bellingham from Hawaii two years ago, opened The Lunch Bucket on Dec. 20 with one goal in mind: provide filling meals to working people on a budget.

“I like things that are hearty,” he said. “Things with meat, and gravy and rice.”

Yamaki has worked in kitchens for the last 25 years and said the focus at The Lunch Bucket is entirely on the food.

“I really just consider myself a cook,” he said.

Larry Albert, who works in the kitchen, described the food as a mix of Hawaiian and American home cooking. This makes for a diverse menu; some highlights include: meat loaf with mashed potatoes, rice or macaroni potato salad, “special fries” served with chili, Italian style or with gravy and meat, grilled cheese with bacon or ham, and their own take on burritos containing mashed potatoes, cheese, sour cream, lettuce, tomato and choice of meat. There is also a “Hawaiian Corner” featuring Hawaiian mainstays like kalua pig and rice.

Albert said the restaurant has been seeing more and more Hawaiian patrons looking for nostalgic food.

“It’s what the working people would eat for lunch on the island,” he said.

When it comes down to it, Albert said The Lunch Bucket just wants to act as a stop for people looking for a good, affordable meal.

“It’s a place for workers, lots of food at a reasonable price,” Albert said. “It’s a friendly place to come.”

The Lunch Bucket is located at 505 32nd St., and is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information, call The Lunch Bucket at (360) 922-0678.

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