Coming in June to 604 Fawcett Avenue: Minoela.
Pronounced min-oh-la, the restaurant will be a rustic wine bistro with a kick-back vibe. Located next to the Grand Cinema, in the location that formerly housed the One Heart Cafe (and before that, Kickstand Cafe), Minoela will serve lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturdays. Owners Danielle and Mike Kartes plan a June 23 grand opening.
"I'm a makeup artist turned foodie," is how Danielle Kartes describes herself. Husband Mike works for Oroweat Bakery and intends to keep his day job while she works the restaurant.
Why now? A restaurant? In this economy?
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Kartes is learning what many other entrepreneurs are loving about this crummy economy – stuff can be had for cheap, if you're smart about it. I've heard from restaurant owners recently that leases can be easier to negotiate, kitchen equipment bought cheaply, skilled employees are looking for work.
"This is an amazing time to do this," she said with an airy confidence.
The last five years she worked for Smashbox Cosmetics. She worked from her home in Puyallup, but managed a sales force of 250 that required she travel, from here to Los Angeles, where Smashbox is based.
After working in makeup for so many years – she did runway makeup and photography before the Smashbox job – she thought it time for a change and decided that she had a foundation love for food and entertaining, so why not reinvent herself as a restaurateur? "I feel like you can reinvent yourself at anytime; it just felt right now," she said. This will be the first restaurant venture for the couple.
Minoela's menu will be rustic comfort food and all "things I love to eat," said the Tacoma native.
A few menu items she's mulling right now:
Pizzas: A traditional margherita; as well as a white arugula pizza with a white sauce, chicken and a fresh salad of arugula on top.
Soups: French onion, tomato basil, gazpacho.
Pasta: Baked pasta dishes, including a 5-cheese macaroni and cheese with a buttered bread crumb crust.
Salads: Roasted tomato caprese salad, heirloom tomato and watermelon salad with a balsamic reduction.
Sandwiches: Ham and brie with arugula on ciabatta, tuna with shaved fennel and capers.
Dessert: Freshly baked cookies served hot out of the oven, served with a big glass of milk.
Said Kartes of her menu, "The portions will be large and everything on our menu will be under $12." The restaurant name is a made-up word that she liked the sound of. Don't confuse it with the fruit or the Texas town– both spelled Mineola. She is making over the decor of the restaurant and describes the look as muted, earthy and with a vintage feel.
She said she hopes to locally source produce from South Sound farmers, but she said she hasn't done much of that yet.
She'll serve beer and wine by the glass or bottle, but will skip the full bar for now. "We'll also have retail wine sales," she said. She plans to feature wines from everywhere, but Northwest wines will be a focus. As for beers, she'll start with bottles, but she does have plans to add beers on tap.
Stay tuned and come back here for more updates as the opening date nears.