NewBirch Bay cafe features art gallery, quiche

Published on Thu, Aug 31, 2006 by ack Kintner

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New Birch Bay cafe features art gallery, quiche

By Jack Kintner

Judy Davis opened her bakery in Birch Bay’s new Sandcastle building on August 17 and hasn’t had time to do much besides bake and serve the unexpected flood of customers that was literally waiting at the door for her and husband Michael to open on their first day. Business is still just as brisk two weeks later.

Called the Tradewinds Cafe, Gifts and Gallery, Birch Bay’s newest watering hole seats 30 people inside on a mixture of ice cream parlor stools, regular chairs at small round tables and comfortable lounge furniture.

Except for the sky, the view from inside is almost the same as that from the outside deck due to the front and side walls being almost all glass. Additional outside seating accommodates another 15 customers.

“Thanks to my friends I’ve been able to pretty well cover the bases,” Davis said, but she admitted that the popularity of the place from the minute she opened has made her scramble.

She’s there to open at 7 a.m. six days a week and at 8 a.m. Sundays, “and we close around 9 p.m., give or take,” Davis said.

She’s already hired eight local employees and can’t say enough about them, especially her best friend Kim Capeloto who’s gone above and beyond in dealing with the new business’ intense first two weeks.

The ground floor shop devotes most of its 2,000 square feet to counter space and seating, but also features an impressive array of locally produced art in its gallery section, set off by walls painted rich hues of terra cotta and maroon. Prices run from $4 impulse purchases to serious one-off unique creations selling for nearly $900, among them glassware, jewelry, vases, watercolors, fine art photos and furniture.

This is not the old-fashioned kind of beach art gallery selling combinations of driftwood, clamshells, beach grass and glue but a serious attempt to show valuable pieces to a discriminating audience.

Davis’ menu features 12 different hot drinks in sizes labeled short, tall, grande and serious, ranging from $1.15 to $3.65. For cold drinks she has smoothies, milkshakes, protein shakes and something she calls a coffee lover’s answer to a slurpee, a rich and slushy Javaccino.

Lunches feature standard deli kinds of sandwiches ranging from $4.95 to $6.50, and they’re large. Half sizes are available for $3.

Earlier in the day the breakfast clientele can choose grilled panini (sandwiches), breakfast wraps and exotic to a garden variety quiche at under $3 a slice plus a huge assortment of baked goods.

The crush of customers was a surprise, Davis said, because she really didn’t know what to expect, although she’s no rookie.

Davis and her three brothers Jeff, Randy and Jerry (she’s the baby) have over 10 year’s experience in the business, having started the Java Hut Bakery & Cafe chain in Surrey B.C. in 1993.

“But this one’s mine, something I wanted to do, and I’m glad it’s working,” Davis said, “because the best part is I don’t have to cross the border.”

Tradewinds Cafe, Gifts & Gallery is located at 7856 Birch Bay Drive. They can be reached at 371-8641.