In the Night Kitchen…”I’m Not the Pizza!”

Coffee Shop Cruising in Okanogan County, Washington Rocks!

During these tough economic times it’s generally not difficult to find people who are a little down and even depressed, but that doesn’t seem to be the case in Okanogan County in Washington state.  I’m finding unity in the communities here and these discoveries for me begin in coffee shops.

I wrote about the Salmon Creek Coffee Company in Okanogan and how the towns people support the coffee shop and the owner supports local businesses.  Yesterday I was heading to Leavenworth and found myself stopping in Pateros for a cuppa at the Sweet River Bakery and not only did I park myself there and sip on some Blue Star Roasters morning blend, but I “played” with the baristas and they with me, joking, laughing, and taking photos.

Katherine and Megan were working and both full of life, smiles, laughter, and information about the bakery and things to do in Pateros.  Are they always like this or was it the result of a sugar rush from the “breakfast cookies” left for them by the pastry chefs?  Apparently it’s something they look forward to when going to work – a cookie with a little note from the bakers.  How fun would that be, to start your day with a cookie and a note?

Barista Megan at the Sweet River Bakery

“Give me a Hello Dolly! bar.”  said a woman who came in for coffee.  I found out that it is like a seven layer bar – seven layers of sugary heaven.  I asked Megan to pose and make the pose a “Hello Dolly!” kind of pose, and thus she did.

Hello, Dolly!

One of the managers came in while I was taking photos.  “Not to send you away from us, but have you been to the coffee shop in Okanogan?”  Not only was I excited to tell her that I had been to Salmon Creek Coffee Shop and wrote about them on my blog, but it pleased me to hear people recommending their (kind of – sort of) competition to me.  I love to hear people promote each other for “win-win” – not to be confused with Charlie Sheen’s “bi-winning” of course.

The bakery coffee shop got swamped quite a few times while I was there with people picking up fresh-baked breads, bakery goods, and coffee drinks.  In between the rushes, Katherine offered to answer any questions that I may have.  I asked what the deal was with all the drive-up coffee shacks in Washington.  She replied, “You don’t get hot or cold if you don’t have to get out of your car.”  I started to think about that and realized that not everyone is like me.  I go to coffee shops for social activity, play, and solitude.  I suppose that’s possible in my car, but coffee shops are so much more fun.

As I packed up my laptop (the first time), Katherine told me if I came back at 2 pm, I would meet more staff members.  I thanked her, but told her I was heading south for a bigger adventure.

Within 90 minutes I was back at the Sweet River Bakery.  This time it was busy with a lunch crowd and when Katherine saw me, she welcomed me back and told me she would clean up a table for me.  I ordered lunch – their veggie sandwich on homemade rye bread with a side of Tom’s potato chips.  It was delicious!

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When the afternoon staff came on, James introduced himself and asked if I wanted a tour of the bakery since they were closing that evening for a week to resurface the flooring.  Of course I wanted a tour – as much as I try, I cannot escape my food service roots.

Then the fun really began.  I noticed that Katherine became more bubbly around James and Alex, the night crew.  Just as Katherine was bundled up and ready to leave, I asked if she would allow me to take photos of her with them.  She agreed, and before I knew it, I actually gave her my camera to take photos while I played a cross between “Hansel & Gretel” and “In the Night Kitchen” with James and Alex.


Wait…it’s a bakery…shouldn’t this be from Maurice Sendak’s In the Night Kitchen, not Hansel and Gretel?

Then it was Katherine’s turn to play…..

I love coffee shop cruising, especially when the people who work at them know how to live…or play…both!

Alex, James, and Katherine

The Sweet River Bakery is located at 203 Pateros Mall, Pateros, Washington  98846.  Their phone number is 509.923.2151 and website is  They are open every day, 7 am – 8 pm with indoor and outdoor seating and wi-fi available.

From May through September they have live music every Friday and Saturday night in the back, where they have a stage, outdoor seating, and an awesome view of Lake Pateros, where the Columbia and Methow Rivers meet.  I could visualize it – garden seating with tables and chairs and the manager told me people come and sit on the lawn, also.

Their menu includes sandwiches, salads, homemade pizzas, gluten-free items and locally made wines.  They feature organic coffee from Blue Star Coffee Roasters from Twisp.

I wanna go back in the summer…or next week!

About Kristy "Kiki"

I'm just a gypsy with a passion for the earth, people, art, music, photography, and writing.
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4 Responses to In the Night Kitchen…”I’m Not the Pizza!”

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  2. Pingback: A Journey to Joy: My Search for Meaning in Life | My Road to Zion

  3. Joelle says:

    I have an idea that when Sweet River Bakery mentions a comparable place in Okanogan, it’s not a coffee shop, it’s an Artisan Bakery. The Okanogan Bakery may not have 2 dozen corn syrup flavors to put in their coffee but they have dozens of hand made & fresh baked goods to offer everyday.

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