Retail Tipsheet: New owners pleased with remodeled Fairhaven restaurant

The remodel took longer than expected, but the operators of The Black Cat are happy with how things have turned out.

The first few weeks following the reopening of the Fairhaven restaurant have gone really well, with many customers liking the fact the owners were able to retain much of the look of the old Black Cat, said Cameron Tino, general manager.

New owners Sam Tino, Kyle Bornstein and Bob Cotton closed the Sycamore Building restaurant in August to do a complete remodel of the space, with much of the work focused on the kitchen, replacing equipment rather than the decor.

Cameron Tino said his goal is to to make sure the food and the service are consistent like Mambo Italiano, the downstairs Sycamore Building restaurant that the Tino family also operates.

Bornstein, who has spent much of his time in the seafood industry, said getting into the restaurant business has been a learning experience.

“If I had known more going in, I might have been more stressed,” Bornstein said. “I wouldn’t have gotten in without someone like Sam (Tino’s) experience.”

The addition of seafood, which comes from Vis Seafoods in Bellingham, is also getting good feedback from customers, Bornstein said. Other items on the menu include beef stroganoff, shrimp cakes and The Black Cat’s own fondue. The back bar also has televisions to watch sports.

The restaurant is open every day from 3 p.m. to midnight but will be closed Feb. 1 for Super Bowl Sunday. For details, visit the restaurant’s Facebook page or call 360-733-6136.


A state liquor license application was submitted for OVN Wood-Fired Pizza at 1148 10th St., in the new building that’s being built near the Fairhaven Village Inn. The applicants are Matthew and Valerie Brawner.

-- Several tenants at Bellis Fair are currently doing remodel projects to show customers a new look. Those stores are Hot Topic, Torrid and Vitamin World, while construction is underway for the new restaurant Go-Grill, which is going into the Food Court.

-- A building permit was submitted to put in a new distillery called Cascadia Distilling at 1600 Kentucky St. in Bellingham.

-- Building permits also were submitted to put a 9,920-square-foot addition to an existing Flax 4 Life building at 468 Horton Road.

-- The community website is under new ownership. Ben Kinney, who owns several businesses including Keller Williams Bellingham and the web design company Big Fresh, acquired the website from local resident John Servais. Servais owned and managed the website for 13 years, providing a wide range of information about the Fairhaven district. Some of the regular offerings on the site include upcoming events and features on the businesses.

-- The Koi Cafe in downtown Bellingham has closed. A letter to customers posted on the front door at 1203 N. State St. noted that a decision was made to not reopen after the close of business on Friday, Jan. 23. “We dreamed of expanding this cozy little cafe into something royal and timeless, but in the end it just wasn’t meant to be,” said a portion of the letter. The Koi was purchased by Andrew Ward in August 2014 with plans to change the name to King’s Cafe.