New businesses crop up in Birch Bay, Blaine

Bay Breeze Restaurant and Bar on the water. Photo by Ruth Lauman

By Stefanie Donahue

A handful of businesses recently opened shop in Blaine and Birch Bay. Here’s a quick look at what they have to offer:

Bay Breeze Restaurant and Bar

Location: 7829 Birch Bay Drive

Hours: Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Contact: 360/922-7902

As Birch Bay’s only waterside restaurant, Bay Breeze Restaurant and Bar offers a one-of-a-kind view that owner Chris Choi likens to the feel of dining on a cruise ship. The walls are decorated with black and white photos documenting Birch Bay’s history to create a nostalgic atmosphere for guests, he said.

The restaurant, which celebrated its soft opening on May 11, serves up locally-sourced seafood, burgers and chowder. A combined 25 part-and-full-time staff members work at the restaurant.

Choi is a member of financial firm, PS Investments, which owns the restaurant and the property.

In an email, he said, “After years of leasing the property to various businesses that fell short of reaching their full potential, we decided to revitalize the building and provide the community with the opportunity to enjoy one of Birch Bay’s most iconic locations.”

Boardwalk Café

Location: 7876 Birch Bay Drive

Hours: Monday, Thursday, Sunday, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.; Tuesday-Wednesday, 11:30 a.m.-8 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Contact: 360/922-0816.

Margo McCall and her daughter, Vanessa Bell, opened Boardwalk Café in partnership with The Beach at Birch Bay, which now solely operates the restaurant’s bar.

“It was a longtime dream of my mom,” Birch Bay resident Bell said. “It’s really fun.”

Prior to opening the café, Bell was the former manager of The Beach at Birch Bay. She said the restaurant now employs 22 people, including a few folks from the former restaurant.

Family-owned and operated, Boardwalk Café offers what Bell calls a “homey” atmosphere and serves up traditional food, such as fish and chips, burgers and seafood. The restaurant caters to groups of all sizes and offers indoor and outdoor seating as well as live music five days a week.

Soul Space Studio

Location: 264 H Street, Suite B, Blaine

Contact: 435/704-1598

Passionate about intuitive healing and self-expression, Julia Frehner opened Soul Space Studio, an art studio that strays from tradition.

While it’s equipped with a large cache of art supplies, she pointed out why the shop is special. The studio gives the public the chance to partake in Play Shops, which are setup like workshops led by an instructor that feature a mix of journaling, art and discussion.

The Play Shops cost between $37 to $97 per session, according to the Soul Space Studio website.

Frehner said she first learned about intuitive healing after experiencing tragedy in her life. She lost both of her legs in an accident and shortly after, her husband passed away. “I’ve just had hit after hit after hit in my life,” she said, adding, “I’ve always been a spiritual individual.”

Soul Space Studio offers a variety of Play Shops catering to groups and individuals as well as mothers and their children. During open studio, the public can rent the space and utilize a wide variety of art supplies.

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