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Arlis’s Restaurant has been open at the same location for decades. Make no mistake, Arlis’s is quite clearly a diner in the American tradition. Booths and chairs are upholstered in Naugahyde, and there is enough diner-kitsch to accommodate a small diner museum. Just as there are vintage train enthusiasts there, too, must be diner aficionados. They will find that Arlis’s Restaurant more than satisfies their nostalgia.

While Arlis’s continues to offer diner fare like cheeseburgers and biscuits and gravy, there is a notable exception: vegetarian options. In the South, vegetarian options typically mean beans with fatback, or cornbread and red-eye gravy. Arlis’s has created a menu that all diners can appreciate, with options such as a Garden Burger, a vegetarian omelet, and veggie potatoes. Granted, a corner of the griddle is reserved for vegetarian items, so there is some meat present in the vegetarian dishes. Nonetheless, It’s a tremendous relief for vegetarians to get a diner experience without having to limit their choices to dry toast and jelly.

Arlis’s serves only breakfast and lunch, and as a general rule ends the business day at 2:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m. on Saturdays. All the menu items, with a couple of exceptions, are reliably consistent and quite tasty. Restauranteur Ray Caillier, designed the diverse menu items which are prepared by a small team of line cooks. Breakfast prices range from $6.99 to $10.99 and include comfort foods such as biscuits and gravy. This satisfying plate of two buttermilk biscuits buried under piping-hot silky-smooth sausage gravy is the perfect morning-after breakfast. The P.M.S Omelet ($9.49) is also an excellent morning option and includes Parmesan cheese, sautéed mushrooms and spinach served with a side of hash browns.

You cannot go wrong with the bacon cheeseburger for lunch. It has the works, melted cheese, onions, lettuce, pickle, ketchup, mustard, and fries for $9.99. It makes for a rather satisfying lunch, or you can order it for breakfast, whatever suits your fancy. For $10.49 the Cod and Chips is a bargain. Three pieces of tempura-dipped cod deep-fried to perfection and served with salty fries. All that’s missing is a pint of beer! Diners will not find 21 and over only beverages on the menu or, apparently, used in cooking. Plans are in the works to add beer and mimosas to the menu in the near future. For now, if you’re a friend of Bill, then Arlis’s Restaurant is a supportive place to eat. Obviously, this is not a date destination, but it is a terrific place to meet up with friends and visit over a good meal.

Arlis’s Restaurant is a Bellingham mainstay for a reason. The servers are attentive, the line cooks efficient, and the coffee is always hot. Don’t be surprised to overhear conversations that run the gamut of politics, art, comic books, theater, and futuristic outer space-themed movies. When in the mood for a nosh, make your way to Arlis’s Restaurant: an icon among Bellingham’s restaurant scene.

"Arlis’s Restaurant is a Bellingham mainstay for a reason. The servers are attentive, the line cooks efficient, and the coffee is always hot."