CATHLAMET — After more than a decade in the restaurant business, Audi Belcher is going after one last venture before heading off into the sunset.
Belcher opened the Thyme Square Bistro in July at 71 Main St. downtown next to Hotel Cathlamet. The bistro serves breakfast and lunch, espresso, smoothies, beer and mimosas.
Belcher has operated four restaurants, including a Thyme Square Bistro inside The Merk in Longview about five years ago and the Bradley House Bed and Breakfast in Cathlamet. Her husband, Dennis, an industrial salesman, plans to retire in the coming years years, and Belcher said she wanted to take on one last project.
“I wanted this to be my last hurrah before I retire,” she said.
The Belchers spent about $60,000 renovating the space owned by the Hotel Cathlamet, which had previously been a hair salon. Inside, the spacious cafe has local artwork on the walls and plenty of room for customers. Seats on the sidewalk look into downtown Cathlamet.
The menu is mostly “whole foods” with no preservatives or growth hormones, Belcher said. The cooks make their own pastries and are particularly proud of the maple bars, she said. The bistro serves Lewis and Clark Coffee from Vancouver, and she said she’s looking into selling organic Kona coffee grown in Hawaii.
Belcher hired Dana Badger, former owner of the Covered Bridge Cafe in Grays River, as lead cook. Belcher hopes Badger will eventually take over the restaurant. Badger hasn’t committed to buying the bistro, but she said she’s happy to be back in the kitchen.
“I’ve always liked cooking. I’ve been out of it since I left my restaurant. The opportunity to get back in — I just jumped at it,” Badger said.
Thyme Square has seven employees.
Thyme Square Bistro is open 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. The restaurant will change hours this fall and winter. Call 795-8800 for more information.
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Talking Business is a weekly column about business openings, closings or major changes. Contact reporter Erik Olson with any business news tips at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 577-2510.