Pybus market nearly full with eclectic mix of wares
Saturday, September 1, 2012
Red Rooster Kitchen & Home was misidentified in the original version of this story. The error has been corrected in this version.
WENATCHEE — Frank St. Dennis and Michelle Lak drive by the Pybus Public Market job site a few times a week just to see how the building rehab is coming along.
The dream of their very first restaurant, Pybus Bistro, is taking shape under the fresh plywood of the market’s monitor-style roof.
Their vision is in fine tradition with the building’s past as a Columbia River-front storage warehouse for steel angle iron and rebar.
“We’re modeling it after a lot of blue collar bistros in France,” says St. Dennis, an expert in French cooking and graduate of the Portland Culinary School. “It’ll be a casual place where you can hang out, have a glass of wine, some food. Pybus...will kind of be the center of culture, and food culture specifically, in the Wenatchee area. Being in at the ground level was really important to us.”
He and Lak, both Wenatchee High grads in their 20s, have about 20 years of restaurant experience between them, including upscale hotels and restaurants in California and Seattle. He’s currently head chef at Chelan’s Vin du Lac winery.
The couple are part of an eclectic mix of both novice and veteran entrepreneurs who have signed letters of intent and put earnest money down on commercial space at Pybus, the city’s public market project taking shape at the foot of Orondo Avenue en route to an opening by Apple Blossom.
Joining Pybus Bistro are:
- Almond Blossom Roasted Nuts, a specialty nut shop owned by Dan and Cathy Rodriguez of Leavenworth. The couple already sell custom-roasted nuts with exotic flavors at their shop in Leavenworth.
- Ariana’s Restaurant, a Mexican eatery owned by Arcellia and Norberto Bedolla.
- An Auvil Fruit Company fruit stand.
- Dolcini, a coffee, dessert and artisan ice creamery owned by Beth Spadoni of Wenatchee.
- A tasting room for Jones of Washington Winery.
- Mike’s Meat & Seafood, a second location for the Wenatchee specialty grocery store.
- Red Rooster Kitchen & Home, a second location for this boutique gourmet kitchen store at Smallwood's Harvest in Peshastin.
- Riverside Design, a metal artwork shop where Eric Peterson will make and sell his wares.
- The Sweet Kitchen, LeeAnna Dugger’s sandwich, baked good and smoothie stop.
- Candy Mecham, owner of Visconti’s Italian restaurants will have a gelato shop that could also feature custom-cured meats and brick-oven pizza.
- The Wenatchee Valley Farmers Market will call Pybus its permanent, seasonal, outdoor home, but could also have some year-round tables indoors.
- Heather and Kevin Knight, owners of Anjou Bakery in Cashmere, are having a vintage Airstream travel trailer converted into an espresso, sandwich and baked-goods shop with drive-up and walk-up windows. It’ll be set up on the Pybus lot at the corner of Worthen and River streets.
A few additional spaces are still available. Market Manager Steve Robinson says potential tenants have expressed interest.
Excitement is pretty high.
“Pybus is just a great project. It’s so good for the area,” said The Sweet Kitchen’s Dugger, a 23-year-old Eastmont High grad who has been selling her custom-baked goods at the farmer’s market for about a year. “It’s fun to be involved in something new. All the tenants, we all vibe off each other. There’s mutual excitement from everybody.”
Heather Knight of Anjou agrees. “We hope to provide a fantastic, fun and flavorful experience for our local customers as well as those visiting our area!” she said in an email.
Fun and creativity, sans prétention, will be key to St. Dennis’ and Lak’s Pybus Bistro, as they serve modern twists on French classics like ratatouille on their expansive back deck overlooking the Columbia River.
Hand-made pasta and sausage, a France-inspired burger and a separate bar menu with “playful” smaller portions are also in the works.
“The French are one of the few cultures in the western world that take food seriously,” St. Dennis said of his passion for the cuisine. “They eat and drink with passion.”
After traveling around and gaining experience, he and Lak are ready to put their experience to use here at home.
“We did what we felt we needed to do away from home, but Wenatchee was always calling us back, so here we are,” he said.
Christine Pratt: 665-1173
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