Jun 22, 2022 - Things to Do

Getting Penn Cove mussels to go in Coupeville

A stainless steel pot filled with mussels on a wooden table with a silver table runner.
Four pounds = a lot of mussels. Photo: Melissa Santos/Axios

Whenever I go to Whidbey Island, I like to stop at Toby's Tavern in Coupeville and eat a giant bowl of local Penn Cove mussels.

Yes but: On our trip this year, my husband and I ran into a problem. Our adorable toddler — who also likes mussels — isn't allowed inside Toby's, which is 21+.

  • The good news: As it turns out, you can get a giant pot of mussels to go — and that's exactly what we did.

The verdict: I was a little nervous about transporting 4 pounds of mussels in the driver's seat of my Subaru, but they weathered the 6-minute drive back to our vacation rental nicely.

  • And, bonus – Toby's doesn't skimp on the garlic bread, even for to-go orders.

The bottom line: Devouring these local mussels and dunking toasted, crispy bread into the garlicky broth is one of the great pleasures in life.

  • And now, it's a portable one.
A stainless steel pot next to a white takeout container, both inside a brown box on the seat of a car.
The takeout container is stuffed full of toasted garlic bread. Photo: Melissa Santos/Axios

Details: Toby's Tavern, 8 Front St. NW, Coupeville, Washington

  • You pay a $15 deposit for the pot the mussels are cooked in, which you get back when you return it.
  • A large order of mussels (2 pounds) is $29 and can feed two, while a smaller pot is $17.

Getting there: Coupeville is about a 2-hour trip from Seattle.

  • You can either take the ferry at Mukilteo to reach Whidbey Island, or drive up to Anacortes and cross over the Deception Pass bridge.
  • When you're not mussel-eating, you can explore Coupeville's cute waterfront shops and picturesque wharf on foot.
A view of an open door to a painted building with a hanging sign that reads "Toby's" in red letters, with the 'O'  in the shape of a shell.
Toby's doesn't allow minors inside, so we had to get creative. Photo: Melissa Santos/Axios
A wooden wharf with buildings in the background and a blue sky with clouds.
Coupeville's waterfront is fun to explore on foot. Photos: Melissa Santos/Axios
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