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This is a contributing entry for Coming Home - A Tour of Ilwaco and only appears as part of that tour.Learn More.

Red’s Corner Café , which later became Red’s Restaurant and Flame Room was located on the west side of First Street between Spruce and Lake. Red’s became a very popular place to go. On busy weekends, bands would play in the lounge and people would crowd the restaurant. After becoming an antique mall in the 1990s, the building was burned in a fire.


Font, Electricity, Gas, Door

Red O'Connell

Red O'Connell

1st Street looking South with Red's pictured c. 1940

Vehicle, Building, Tire, Wheel

August 18th 1967, Marv Owen's Trio and Sue from Las Vegas, NV playing at Red's.

Membranophone, Musical instrument, Drum, Idiophone

August 18th 1967 interior of Red's

Table, Furniture, Property, Chair

August 18th 1967 Red's buffet

Monochrome, Display case, Monochrome photography, Retail

1st Street Ilwaco looking North. 1995, photo by Wayne O'Neil

Automotive parking light, Land vehicle, Car, Cloud

A bustling day in downtown Ilwaco. Boats lined up waiting to launch at the Port of Ilwaco.

Wheel, Tire, Sky, Car

Naselle AFB Men at Red's

Black, Black-and-white, Style, Social group

Donna Alexander working at Red's in the 1960s

Hairstyle, Furniture, Table, Black-and-white

1st Street Ilwaco

Automotive parking light, Car, Vehicle, Wheel

September 1st 1967, Carmen & His Carousels rock band at Red's.

Microphone, Musical instrument, Band plays, Trousers

Placemat map from Red's.

Product, World, Organism, Font

Many restaurants have come and gone on the Long Beach Peninsula. Some were easily forgotten and some like Red’s live long in the community’s memory. Red and Helen ‘Smokey’ O’Connell moved to the Long Beach Peninsula in 1939, opening a small sandwich shop in Long Beach. After the war, they expanded the business. In 1950, they took advantage of an opportunity to buy an ice cream parlor in Ilwaco, which was the cornerstone of what would become known as Red’s Café. In 1957, Red and Smokey purchased the adjoining businesses of Hebo the Tailor, Pesco’s Pool Hall, and Lusk’s Hardware.

By 1967, Red’s was complete. Red’s Restaurant and Flame Room Lounge had a 42-foot long Chuck Wagon Buffet, several meeting rooms, a 15-foot x 16-foot dance floor and room for live music. When finished, Red’s had room for 350 people within its various rooms.

Red’s was one of the most popular places to eat for locals, sport fishermen and a very popular place for Ilwaco High School students to get a Coke and fries. Both Red and Smokey were well-liked and great employers and friends to the many people who worked and ate at Red’s.

By the 1970s, fishing seasons were increasingly restricted, which took a heavy toll on the local economy. Bowing to the inevitable, Red and Smokey decided to retire in 1981. Red's Cafe was put up for sale and closed for business.

In 1986, Dick and Betty Lundquist and Gerald and Lucille Fritts purchased the business. The building was remodeled and Red’s reopened under the same name on May 23, 1986. Later that year, the Lundquists became sole proprietors. In the 1990s, the building became an antique mall until it burned down.

Source: CPHM Research Files

CPHM Photo Collection

Image Sources(Click to expand)

CPHM Photo Archive

CPHM Photo Archive

CPHM photo archive - 1987.183-171.317b

CPHM Photo Archive

CPHM Photo Archive

CPHM Photo Archive

CPHM photo archive - FIC2022.002.025

CPHM Photo Archive - FIC-2022.009.149

CPHM Photo Archive - NA2008Tellvik008

CPHM Photo Archive - NA2008Tellvik002

CPHM Photo Archive - NA-Murfin-Tribune-Ilwaco

CPHM Photo Archive

CPHM Archive