Downtown Bellingham is going through a growth spurt that will mean more cafes, bakeries and restaurants.
On a two-block stretch of Cornwall Avenue, three former retail spaces are being converted into eateries. At the Chestnut Avenue intersection, El Capitan's is aiming to open in early May. Work is underway for a bakery called The Wild Oat, which is going in at 1305 Cornwall Ave., near the Greenhouse. Across the street from The Wild Oat, work continues for The Blue Koi Coffeehouse, which is expected to open later this year.
El Capitan's was on Railroad Avenue before this recent move, selling gourmet sausages and pretzels. Owner Marc Ravaris said store hours will be 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays. He also plans to have live music on Fridays and Saturdays.
It's been interesting seeing the transformation of downtown in the years following the retail exodus after Bellis Fair opened in 1988. After years of empty spaces, office space began filling up. That was followed by several residential projects, adding more walk-around traffic. In recent years it's been restaurants and eateries filling former retail spaces.
Here's other restaurant-related activity in the past few weeks:
▪ A state liquor license application was submitted for 4277 Meridian St. Suite 102, currently home to Teriyaki House near Best Buy. The proposed new business name is Hokkai Ramen & Sushi, and the applicants are Hoi Wong and Yukmui Lee.
▪ A new frozen yogurt store has opened Lynden. Lynden Fro-Yo is in Bender Plaza, 8874 Bender Road, Suite 104. According to its Facebook page, the store had a grand opening on April 25. Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, open an hour later on Fridays and Saturdays.
▪ Brotha Dudes is at work getting ready to open its second location at 3098 Northwest Ave., near Yeager's Sporting Goods. According to the company's website, the Northwest Avenue Brotha Dudes will have a patio, bakery, beer on tap, live music and be open from breakfast late into the night. They are planning to open in May.
▪ Pepper Sisters has started offering a Happy Hour with new appetizers and deals on drinks. It happens 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Details can be found on its website.