Last orders served at landmark Elsie's

After nearly four decades, Joe and Elsie Rainier, owners of Elsie’s Restaurant in Silverdale, are closing the doors on one of the town’s longest operating establishments.

The Rainiers have been serving up homestyle cooking and their Elsie Burgers for almost 37 years in the same spot along Silverdale Way, but decided to retire and will close up shop tomorrow.

“I’ve been in the business long enough, it’s time to bail out and take it easy,” Joe Rainier said. “I’m hoping the customers will understand, we’ve enjoyed serving them all these years and will miss them. We still have customers that have been coming in since day one. It’s hard to leave.”

The restaurant will be missed by many customers including Gary Bowlby, a longtime Silverdale resident and current president of the Silverdale Chamber of Commerce.

“I’m sad to see them go. It’s not just nostalgia, we enjoyed going there,” Bowlby said. “There’s no place like them anymore.”

Bowlby would often take his children to Elsie’s for Elsie Burgers. He also remembers the numerous Chamber meetings that were hosted there when the Chamber first got its start in 1973.

“One of my fondest memories is the ownership,” Bowlby said. “Joe and Elsie have been stellar to the business community, they’ve been here about the longest.”

The family business first opened in December 1968 when there wasn’t much to Silverdale except fields and horse pastures.

“Earlier were the best memories,” Joe Rainier said. “We were open when the development of Silverdale took place over coffee.”

He also remembers Elsie’s as the nighttime shop for local police officers and would always make friends with everyone who would come in.

The restaurant also was where their children, Debbie (Harrell) and Larry, first started working when they were just barely teenagers and have continued to help run the restaurant.

“It’s kind of scary, I’ve worked here for 36 years,” Harrell said. “I was sad (when I

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