Fat Smitty’s isn’t your typical burger joint — it’s a place where burgers and dollar bills go a long way for charity.
The mom-and-pop shop is located near the Olympic Peninsula’s Discovery Bay and has been serving up burgers and fries since the 1980s.
Owners Carl “Smitty” Schmidt and his wife, Miyo, started decorating the walls and ceiling with dollar bills in the early ’90s. Since then, every five years, staff members remove the dollar bills from the walls and donate to a charity. Though Carl died, Fat Smitty’s legacy lives on with current owners Casey and Kimberly Carson.
The legacy is deeply intertwined with Casey’s own. His father knew Carl Schmidt from the Marine Corps. Casey, too, would go on to join the Marines. Casey’s mother also lived next to Schmidt’s mother in California. His parents actually met there when his father had gone to visit, eventually marrying and moving to Alaska, before reconnecting with Schmidt in 1986 and moving the family here.
“This is before social media, and one day I answered the phone, and here’s this guy asking me all these questions,” Casey said. “Well, Smitty had finally located his old Marine buddy, and the next thing I know, we’re moving to Washington and my dad’s working for him.”
The Carsons took over Fat Smitty’s in 2010 — and not much has changed since then.
The original countertops show well over 50 years of elbow wear, and the floors might lean a little, but you still can get a true American classic Smitty Burger and blackberry milkshake with house-made blackberry syrup. They just marked a five-year donation period in January with proceeds benefiting the Navy Marine Corps Relief Society. Pack up for a road trip, a great burger, and some nostalgia, and make your dollar bills count at Fat Smitty’s.
Hwy 101, Port Townsend.