This is a slower time of year when it comes to local retail sales, giving business owners a chance to make changes.
Whether it is remodeling, moving or getting open, early in the year is the time to spruce things up while consumers recover from the holiday shopping season. Here’s a sampling of the activity happening in Whatcom County:
The Culture Café at Kombucha Town opened in the basement of the Herald Building (the entrance is in the alley near La Fiamma restaurant).
Along with the fermented tea that is kombucha, the café will have a menu of European-style small plates as well as kombucha-infused cocktails. It is open every day from 11 a.m. into the late evening, according to a news release from the company.
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“The café will provide healthy late-night menu options, which is something that’s missing from the restaurant and bar scene in downtown Bellingham,” said Kombucha Town owner Chris McCoy in the news release. “Our café offers something different that we really hope the community will enjoy.”
Next to the café is Kombucha Town’s production facility. The company currently makes seven flavors of kombucha in bottles and cans.
For details, visit kombuchatown.com/culture-cafe.
NEW RESTAURANT GOING INTO FORMER SHRIMP SHACK SPOT
A new restaurant is in the works at 1200 Cornwall Ave., in the former I & Wife and Shrimp Shack space. It is called Eat Restaurant and Bar and is operated by an ownership group that includes Eric Truglas and Dominique Faury.
Truglas said they are aiming for a French bistro feel but will have some American comfort food on the menu. Also featured is a large selection of wines from the Pacific Northwest and Europe.
They plan to be open later this month for lunch and dinner (closed on Sundays and Mondays) and hope to have some live music. Details about the restaurant can be found on its Facebook page.
MOUNT BAKERY EXPANDING ITS FAIRHAVEN SPOT
The Mount Bakery is making plans to expand its Fairhaven space at 1217 Harris Ave.
According to the planning documents, the eatery will be expanding into the former Trek Video space. Owner Vince Lalonde said the expansion will triple the size of that spot and will allow them to have a full-service sit-down restaurant much like the downtown location at 308 W. Champion St. He said they don’t have a timeline yet on when the expansion will be completed but are hoping for sometime this summer.
The Fairhaven spot currently offers soups and baked goods while also taking orders for special events like weddings. The downtown spot offers a full breakfast and lunch menu. Details about both can be found at mountbakery.com.
Rocket Donuts has finished remodeling its downtown Bellingham location at 306 W. Holly St. The shop has operated with limited service since November but now has an expanded seating area. Much of the remodeling work took place behind the counter, including moving ventilation systems and other heavy equipment to create a better flow and make it easier to expand production capabilities, said Kim Mindnich of Rocket Donuts. It had a soft reopening Jan. 8, and a grand opening celebration is planned for Friday, Jan. 15. ... The Cantina restaurant at the Silver Reef Hotel Casino Spa is closed for the next few weeks while it undergoes some remodeling. When the remodeling is complete it will have more seating, big-screen televisions and a new menu. The remodeling is part of a plan to update and provide a new look to the food service operations at Silver Reef, said Bill Gorman, a spokesman for Lummi Nation. ... A new food truck is operating over at Barlean’s Fishery. The truck offers a seafood menu with some of Barlean’s Fishery products, including salmon burgers, fish tacos, clam chowder and oysters. Fishery production manager Jeff Kyle said the goal is to showcase the store’s seafood, which is caught on the coast from Alaska south to California. The truck is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Barlean’s Fishery at 3660 Slater Road. ... Pure Bliss Desserts took the first week of January to remodel its cafe at 1424 Cornwall Ave. According to its Facebook page, they did some remodeling to increase the kitchen area in order to better serve customers. ... The Little Red Wagon children’s consignment store is now sharing space with Along Comes a Baby in Bakerview Square. According to its Facebook page, the move means more room in the retail floor. ... The Bellingham Baby Co. is now open in Lynden’s Waples Mercantile Building at 444 Front St. The best way for customers to access the store is by going through the lobby of the Inn at Lynden, as the store is tucked away in the back area of the building, by Village Books, said owner Shelly Allen. ... A Bellingham building permit application was submitted to put in a pet supply store at 1701 N. State St., near Perch & Play. ... The Cabin Tavern bar at 307 W. Holly St. is going through a major remodel, which includes working on the flooring, according to its Facebook page. The tavern is aiming for a grand re-opening in early February. ... A Bellingham building permit was submitted to put in a three-story, 20-unit multifamily building at 2707 Connelly Ave. ... A “Coming Soon” sign is up for a restaurant called Tasca del Tinto at the former La Vie En Rose space at 111 W. Holly St. Owner Miquel Losada said he is planning to do a Madeira-style Portuguese bistro that offers some tapas and full meal lunches and dinners. Depending on permitting and construction, the plan is to have it ready sometime in the late spring.