By Ryan Wynne
You know that vacant restaurant space next to the Mount Baker Theatre? Well, it’s not going to be vacant much longer.
Bellingham Pasta Company co-owners Katie Hinton and Anna Rankin, joined by new partner Nikki Williamson, are moving their business into the old Pacific Cafe site on Commercial Street, which has been vacant for more than two years. They will rent the city-owned space from David Syre, who is currently leasing it.
In addition to making their fresh pasta, the site will allow them to expand their menu and their services. Hinton said they will have a counter-service restaurant and a retail area.
They spent about a year looking for a facility that could meet their needs and their budget, and this site does just that.
“It was a no brainer,” Hinton said. “It was just the perfect fit for us.”
The company, started in November 2008, is doing well. Hinton said they made a profit last year and that demand for their pasta is growing.
“I am surprised it took off so fast and so well,” Hinton said.
In order to satisfy that demand, they need more pasta, but Hinton said they don’t get enough time in the commercial kitchen space they rent to make it.
For example, she said they make approximately 100 pounds of fresh pasta every Friday preceding the farmers market, and they almost always sell out by 2 p.m. In addition to the market, they deliver to Terra Organica, both Bellingham Food Co-ops and all Whatcom County Haggen locations, The Cliff House, The Fountain and Chuckanut Brewery – but they don’t want to stop there.
Hinton said they want to sell more pasta in Bellingham and expand their product into Skagit County, and the new kitchen will allow them to do so.
Their new restaurant will be called The Table: by Bellingham Pasta Company. Hinton said they wanted the restaurant to invite people to gather.
“When I think of a gathering place, I think of a table,” she said.
The restaurant will be open for lunch, dinner, dessert and will open after theater performances. They will also be doing catering. The menu will be a “from scratch, simple menu” including soups, salads, sandwiches, beer and wine, desserts, and, of course, a variety of pasta cuts and sauces, Hinton said.
She said dishes will be packed full of local ingredients because using ingredients produced close to home helps local businesses and creates a smaller carbon footprint.
Hinton said when the new restaurant opens, which they hope will happen by July, they will continue selling pasta at the Bellingham Farmers Market and that they may even start selling their pasta at the Skagit Valley farmers market.