By Oliver Lazenby
When the owners of one well-established Blaine restaurant decided they wanted to move on, the owners of another seized an opportunity to upgrade.
The Pastime Bar and Eatery closed at the end of September and Peace Arch City Cafe is moving into its former space at 658 Peace Portal Drive. Pastime owners Christy and Rodny Lonquist sold assets to Peace Arch City Cafe owners John Quimod and Kylie Bestul, who hope to be open on the busiest street in the Peace Arch city by early November.
“We have just decided to move on to other ventures,” Christy said. “I’m going to miss the social part of it. The people who come in are phenomenal and we have a good rapport and we’ve made a lot of friends.”
In early 2016, the Lonquists bought the Pastime Tavern from the Hill family, who ran it since the 1960s. They still own the space and are leasing it to Peace Arch City Cafe. In its new location, the Peace Arch City Cafe will have an expanded breakfast and lunch menu and, for the first time, will be open for dinner.
“There are locals who we never get the opportunity to offer a meal to because they’re working out of town during the day,” Bestul said. “We’re looking forward to trying to provide an experience for everyone.”
The move is a big expansion for Peace Arch City Cafe, which is going from 1,300 square feet to about 5,000, and will allow it to offer much more. They plan to double or triple their current staff of five.
Quimod and Bestul opened Peace Arch City Cafe on H Street in 2012. Before long, the two found they wanted to do more than the small kitchen allowed.
“It was never designed as a kitchen. It was designed as a coffee shop and sandwich shop,” Quimod said. “We really tried to push something in there that it wasn’t capable of.”
The bigger kitchen will allow Quimod to serve burgers, fries and other dishes. Currently, cooking at the café is limited to eggs, sandwiches and paninis. More storage space will allow buying in bulk.
In addition to food, the new location will have a full service bar with craft beer, wine and cocktails, alongside an espresso bar and space for customers who just want coffee or pastries.
While the menu will expand, Peace Arch City Cafe will keep most items from its current menu.
“We’re still going to have a lot of familiar items,” Bestul said. “We’ll have a certain number of items that will be creative and have different international influence.”
A day after getting keys to the new space, Quimod added new menu items to the restaurant’s point-of-sale system – the dinner menu will include everything from burgers to popular dishes from around the world, he said.
Bestul and Quimod are making minor changes to the new space’s interior, including removing the neon beer signs and mirrors and painting the ceiling and some of the wall panels a lighter color. The bar top will be replaced with live edge acacia slabs.
They hope to host live music in the restaurant eventually, but that might take a while. “We recognize it is something that the community enjoys about the Pastime,” Bestul said. “A lot of people really like that and have asked us about it.”
Peace Arch City Cafe is still operating at its H Street location. It will close sometime after mid-October while they finish moving into the new spot.