James Pitzer is enjoying being able to whip up breakfast and lunch in a spot that's not on wheels.
Pitzer, who operates the food truck StrEAT Food, recently started operating a café at the Bellingham Cruise Terminal in Fairhaven four days a week. Pitzer gave the space a test run in December and January before deciding to make more of a commitment.
"It was busier than I expected, so I decided to do this earlier (than a planned expansion in the spring)," Pitzer said. "There's a lot of opportunity here that hasn't been explored."
By having a full-fledged kitchen, StrEAT Food is able to branch out beyond the fare that's been popular in the food truck, which has been in operation in Whatcom County since 2010. The café menu has a seafood flavor, including shrimp and grits as well as the catch of the day. It also has a variety of other items, including egg sandwiches, breakfast tacos, gumbo and burgers.
In recent years that space has had a variety of café operators. The challenge, it appears, is getting enough regular traffic in the building beyond what's generated by the Alaska ferry and special events.
StrEAT Food is tackling that challenge in a couple ways: First, it already has an established, loyal customer base through its food truck. Pitzer is also getting out in the neighborhood and talking to people, getting to know what foods they want. He recently developed a delivery service to the Fairhaven merchants after learning a lot of workers have trouble getting away for a breakfast or lunch break.
For those who enjoy the food truck meals, it's still in service. Information on the truck's location can be found online at streatfood.me or on Facebook. Current regular stops include Kulshan Brewery, Samuel's Furniture and Zodiac Aerospace.
Winter hours at the café are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday.
-- Blair's Repair, which repairs computers, has moved to Bakerview Square, near IHOP. ... Last week Bobby's DryDock at 7876 Birch Bay Drive posted on Facebook that it is closed "until further notice."
-- On Saturday, Feb. 1, TD Curran opened its fourth store, in Issaquah's Grand Ridge Plaza. The store offers a full line of Apple products. The company also has stores in Bellingham, Burlington and Kirkland, recording about $25 million in sales last year.
-- Steve Huizenga has started a company that will be of interest to those who want a convenient place to pick up bags of ice. Northwest Ice has ice vending machines. Customers can pay cash or swipe a credit card to get a 10-pound bag of cubed ice. The first machine was recently installed outside of Trader Joe's, and Huizenga said he is evaluating other sites in hopes of putting in more ice vending machines around the county.