Brian Dujmovich has always wanted to run a restaurant, so he couldn’t believe the opportunity when the place where he was a regular customer for 11 years came up for sale.
Dujmovich and his longtime girlfriend/business partner Lorrie Reaves took over ownership of Rhodes Cafe at the beginning of the year. The breakfast and lunch eatery is in the Lakeway Center at 1046 Lakeway Drive. George and Judy Moularas opened the cafe 19 years ago, naming it after a Greek island and maintaining a consistent style while staying somewhat under the radar at the Lakeway Center.
Dujmovich, who was born and raised in Bellingham, left the area twice for job reasons. He lived in Bellingham between 1999 and 2010, during which the Rhodes Cafe was his family’s go-to choice for breakfast. He moved away in 2010 for a job but soon wanted to find a way to move back to Bellingham. When he saw a for-sale listing for Rhodes Cafe, he knew this was his chance to be a restaurant owner.
He’s kept almost all of the original menu and is making plans to add to it. He recently started using Tony’s Coffee and added a gluten-free bread option. He said with the Moularases’ help, it’s been a smooth transition. The biggest surprise for him in becoming a restaurant owner is that he’s had to become a jack-of-all-trades, learning how to deal with stubborn kitchen equipment and plumbing.
For the most part though, he’s excited about the choice he made. Working in the kitchen, to him it feels like people are over at his house. He tends to stay in the kitchen while Reaves manages the front part of the cafe.
“It’s so fun to be back there cooking and hearing people laughing and having fun,” Dujmovich said.
He’s also getting ready for the influx of traffic in the center when Whole Foods opens on Wednesday, May 11. He considered doing a remodel after taking over but didn’t want to take the chance of being closed when the grocery store reopened. For now, he’s postponing those plans.
“There are a lot of people who might not see us because that store has been closed a while, so I’m excited to have a full parking lot,” Dujmovich said.
Dujmovich plans on adding hours to the cafe. Currently open every day except Monday, the cafe will be open seven days a week in mid-May. He also plans on staying open a little later next month, closing at 2:30 p.m. Breakfast and lunch will remain the focus for the cafe, with no plans to put in a dinner menu.
Breakfast is something that the cafe is known for, attracting regular groups during the work week, which is typically a slow time for morning eateries. Weekends remain the busiest, he said.
For further details about the cafe, visit its Facebook page.
THE TABLE CLOSING, NEW RESTAURANT COMING
The pasta restaurant The Table announced on its Facebook page that its last day will be Saturday, April 16.
It also was announced that the space will have a new owner. Tim Shea is opening a restaurant called Hundred North, according to the post. A state liquor license application was recently filed for the restaurant in that name.
Mount Baker Distillery recently unveiled its latest product, Mount Baker Gin. Described as a new American-style gin, the distillery is marketing it as more flavorful than London Dry Gin. The company specializes in making small-batch spirits and has a tasting room at 105 Fraser St., Suite D2, and its products are sold in a variety of local stores and restaurants. ... With the opening of Avenue Bread in Lynden’s Waples Mercantile Building last month at 444 Front St., the retail spaces of the first floor are now full. Plans are in the works for an open house celebration for noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, May 1, as a thank-you to the community, said Teri Treat, one of the people involved in restoring the building. There will be a beer garden, complimentary chowder, fresh breads and tours, she said. ... Cosmos Bistro at 1151 N. State St. in the Herald Building has extended its hours, adding a happy hour period 3-5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. ... Pizza’zza is putting the finishing touches on its food truck, which is scheduled to start operating this week. Details about where it will be can be found at pizzazzamobile.com. ... Chuckanut Brewery’s Chuckanut Pilsner has landed on the list of 101 best beers in America by Men’s Journal magazine. The magazine noted the German pilsner goes well with Thai and Mexican cuisine.
Corrected the last name of George and Judy Moularas on Tuesday, April 19.