Generally, when a new restaurant opens in Liberty Lake, my family and I rush to try it. Big Island BBQ was no different.
It wasn’t love at first sight.
On opening day, the first day of March, we attempted to give it a try but found there to be a long line of other Liberty Lake residents hungry for some new flavors. A few food allergies require me to ask some questions the first time we visit a new establishment, so we decided to skip it and try again when Twenty Questions wouldn’t be such a burden.
After a few days, the reviews started coming in and they were not all positive. Some were frustrated with disorganization over the first days of operation and others didn’t care for the food. With this information and not yet verifying what menu items would work with my food allergies, we didn’t rush to give it another try.
On April 14, six weeks after opening, a friend invited us to brunch at Big Island for a Meals on Wheels fundraiser.
It was love at first bite.
The staff was extremely friendly and helpful; the portions were generous, and the food was delicious. I was there to visit with friends and cover the event, but I couldn’t stop eating. I am not embarrassed to share that I cleaned my plate and then started picking at my wife’s plate. The steamed clams, pork adobo, and citrus salmon were great. Sauce options with different citrus and spice flavors added a nice kick to the rice.
At this point, I was hesitant to write a review as it didn’t align with some reviews I had seen. So, I gave them another try.
Since that first experience, we have been back twice. We tasted various sides, the pulled pork, short ribs, and curry meatballs. The food was superb both times. At each visit, we learned a little more about the food as the team explained some of their island roots and traditions.
In addition, it is refreshing to find a restaurant where most of the menu is dairy and gluten-free.
What about the haters?
All that being said, I can see where some guests may not have cared for it. Some of the reviews I heard describe the meat as tough or fish as dry. Most of the food is pre-made and sits in covered food wells where controlling the moisture and temperature of meat is challenging.
This hasn’t been my experience at Big Island, but I expect it might be some day. I won’t mind if it is tough or dry some time. The benefit of “fast-food” that is not bland or greasy is so appealing to me that I would be ok with a little over cooked fish or chicken.
Overall, I found Big Island to be a good value, provide fast service, have dedicated owners, friendly staff, and deliver delicious, diverse flavors.
I recommend giving Big Island BBQ a try and if you weren’t impressed on your first visit; give it another try.
For more information on Big Island BBQ hours and location, visit their website: https://www.mybigisland.co