Hannegan Road restaurant gets new name, adds breakfast menu

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDJuly 13, 2013 

Retailtipsheet Estelle's PAD

Kristen Gunderson, left, and her mother Lydia Blakeway prepare carry out lunches for customers at Estelle's Cafe in Hannegan Square in Bellingham, Thursday, July 12, 2013. They opened the cafe six months ago.

PHILIP A. DWYER — THE BELLINGHAM HERALD Buy Photo

Family members working together in a business can have mixed results, but Lydia Blakeway and her daughter and son appear to be having a great time with customers at their new restaurant.

Blakeway and her daughter, Kristen Gunderson, recently purchased Gigi's Café & Deli at 4073 Hannegan Road, in the Hannegan Square retail center near the East Bakerview Road intersection. They are in the process of renaming the eatery Estelle's Café & Deli, with Estelle being a middle name they share.

They bought the café six weeks ago and already needed more help serving up breakfast and lunch, hiring Lydia's son, Jason Gunderson.

One factor for the increased business is the addition of a breakfast menu. They quickly learned that part of town has plenty of demand for healthy on-the-go meals. Being near an industrial park, the area has lots of truckers and construction workers who are heading out to various projects first thing in the morning. They currently offer meat that's free of genetically modified organisms and organic, fair trade coffee from Tony's Coffee.

"I was a little surprised at how many people do breakfast throughout the day," Kristen Gunderson said.

One of the more popular items on the menu so far is the Estelle Cakes. Blakeway describes the family recipe as a fluffy biscuit with a variety of breakfast items inside. They come in baby, momma and pappa sizes.

"It's closer to an omelet on-the-go," Blakeway said. "Customers took to them right away."

Running the café as a family has gone smoothly because they all have the same attitude, which is to treat the customers well while having fun. Blakeway said there are plenty of jokes among the three, and customers are quick to pick up on those.

"We're all about being happy at the restaurant," said Blakeway, who got involved with the purchase to help her daughter fulfill her goal of operating her own restaurant.

Kristen Gunderson said what makes that attitude work is that all three get along well.

"My brother and I are pretty much best buddies, and I'm very close with my mom," she said.

Estelle's plans to have a variety of competitions Saturday, Aug. 10, for children and adults, including making muffins and cupcakes. The owners also are working on an art and music competition. Details can be found by stopping by the restaurant.

The restaurant is open 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more details, call 360-738-8096.

HAGGEN STORES NOW OPEN 24 HOURS IN WHATCOM COUNTY

Haggen recently announced that it will keep its five Whatcom County stores open 24 hours a day. The company had cut hours a few years ago as a cost-saving measure but decided to switch back as a way to better serve customers, said Clement Stevens, senior vice president of merchandising.

"Now we're trying to focus our efforts on meeting the needs of our guests," Stevens said.

The increase in hours will mean either adding some employees or increasing the hours of the part-time workers, depending on the store.

OTHER TIDBITS

Menace Brewing of Ferndale announced on its Facebook page that it plans to open a neighborhood brew pub at 1427 Railroad Ave., in the former Cicchitti's space. It plans to keep the brewing facility in Ferndale and showcase the beer at the new pub, which will be called The Local. Ben Buccarelli, Brandon Peterson and Tim Rader have already applied for a state liquor license for the space. They plan to open in the next few months.

• Two local restaurants made Wine Spectator magazine's 2013 Restaurant Wine List Awards, which highlight eateries with the best wine programs. The local restaurants are The Oyster Bar on Chuckanut Drive and The Steak House at the Silver Reef Hotel Casino & Spa. According to a news release, 3,793 award winners span all 50 U.S. states and 76 other countries and territories.

• Last week, Starbucks opened a café in the Bellis Fair mall food court area.

Retail Tip Sheet runs each Sunday.

Reach Business Editor Dave Gallagher at 360-715-2269 or dave.gallagher@bellinghamherald.com. Read his Business blog at blogs.bellinghamherald.com/business or follow him on Twitter at @bhamheraldbiz.

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