OPENING FRIDAY, AUGUST 10, 2018

We are excited to announce that earlier today we received our certificate of occupancy. This means that while the construction phase has ended, our real work--making great pastries, baked goods, and beverages--has only just begun. We are very busy getting ready to open our doors to you at 7 am on Friday, August 10, 2018.

Our pastry chefs have been busy testing recipes. In particular, Karen, one of our sous pastry chefs, has been making test batches of various kinds of pastries that use laminated dough.

 From left to right, spinach-feta, chocolate, butter, and vanilla-rhubarb croissant.

From left to right, spinach-feta, chocolate, butter, and vanilla-rhubarb croissant.

Today, Karen made several different kinds of croissants, including the spinach-feta, chocolate, butter, and vanilla-rhubarb in the photo. 

Over the weekend, Karen also made Kouign Amann, a specialty of Britanny. It's lovely and flaky and buttery and sugary.

 A test batch of Kouign Amann.

A test batch of Kouign Amann.

Joel Wachs
PASSING INSPECTIONS AND TESTING EQUIPMENT

This past week Convivial Cafe passed its electrical, plumbing, and health inspections. We very much appreciate all of the help that our contractors, architects, and employees gave us. Next week, we plan to have the few remaining inspections that we need before we can open for business.

In the meantime, we have been testing our equipment. Andy from Snohomish Bakery came out to help by working with our sheeter.

 Andy looking over one of the parts of our sheeter.

Andy looking over one of the parts of our sheeter.

We also received our main work table for the bakers. It has a beautiful maple top. This will be where most of the breads, pastries, cookies, and cakes will be made.

 Rumi, our pastry chef, testing out the new maple-topped work table.

Rumi, our pastry chef, testing out the new maple-topped work table.

We have also been testing our beverage equipment. While we love coffee, we also love tea and so have been enjoying making various teas from Smith Tea.

 A freshly made pot of Smith Teamakers Red Nectar Rooibos tea.

A freshly made pot of Smith Teamakers Red Nectar Rooibos tea.

Joel Wachs
Construction is Nearly Finished

It has been a long trip, but we are nearing the end. We have a few refinements to make to the public space as well as most of our inspections.

The space is very different now than it was just a few months ago. If you compare the photo below with the photos of the space in November, 2017, you can see what a beautiful community gathering place has been created by our architects and contractors.

 View of the pastry case and refrigerated case from the banquette seating.

View of the pastry case and refrigerated case from the banquette seating.

We are thrilled with the final result and are particularly pleased that there is a variety of seating for our guests ranging from the banquette seating at tables to cushioned comfy chairs to community tables, and a cushioned lounge area.

 View of the front doors, cushioned comfy seating, and the pastry case.

View of the front doors, cushioned comfy seating, and the pastry case.

One of our contractors is also a metal worker and built custom door pulls that feature a wheat-sheath theme. There are many other small features along these lines that we hope that our guests will discover in the months ahead.

 Our custom door pulls.

Our custom door pulls.

Joel Wachs
Construction Has Started

Thank you for the enthusiastic response to the announcement of our bakery and cafe that we have received from so many Islanders and community groups. We were thrilled with the article in the "Mercer Island Reporter" and the blog post on "My Mercer Island." We have been surprised and pleased that so many people asked about buying treats for the holidays before we are even open. (We're sorry that this will have to wait.) And last month, Joel had a great time handing out cookies at the annual Chamber of Commerce Trick-or-Treat event.

Earlier this month, we received our construction permit from the City of Mercer Island and so our contractors, Zac and Jesse of Young and Young, have begun the process building the cafe. They are nearly finished demoing the interior with just a bit of framing to remove.

 The cafe space nearly completely demoed and ready for construction to begin.

The cafe space nearly completely demoed and ready for construction to begin.

In addition to clearing the space, Zac and Jesse have also laid out what will be built by putting tape on the floor to indicate where each wall, fixture, countertop, and piece of equipment will go. It is very exciting to see how everything actually fits in the space rather than having to rely on the blueprints and our imaginations.

 The layout for the front counter. The blue lines are the walls, the green lines are the fixtures (in this case, the display case), and the white lines are the countertops.

The layout for the front counter. The blue lines are the walls, the green lines are the fixtures (in this case, the display case), and the white lines are the countertops.

We've begun to hold weekly meetings with the general contractor and the architects to review progress and solve issues.

 Ian and Dain from Best Practice Architects and Andy conferring over the blueprints.

Ian and Dain from Best Practice Architects and Andy conferring over the blueprints.

Joel WachsConstruction