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Delicious coffee, food, camaraderie all on the Red Cup menu

Sep 11, 2019

There’s a “feel good” vibe at the Red Cup Café that draws in people from all walks of life. Quality food and drink keep them coming back.

The vibe starts at the top with owner Marianne Brown who exudes infectious joy to employees and customers alike. It’s not an act. Marianne is truly happy to be here.

“I really do love seeing the people,” she said. “It recharges my batteries, too.”

She long wanted to be in the coffee business, and where better than the Great Northwest where delicious coffee and rain go hand-in-hand? Although Marianne had been in the restaurant business in high school, life took over after graduation, and she found herself working in the accounting department of a printing company. When her boss informed her he was moving her to the receptionist position – probably because of her cheerful disposition – she nevertheless viewed the move as a demotion, and decided the time was right to pursue her dream.

She started researching, and discovered the perfect café in the perfect spot. Originally the Mukilteo Coffee Café, it had become the Whidbey Coffee Café when Marianne sent her resume seeking a job. They had no openings.

Undeterred, she made a candle out of a coffee cup, put the Whidbey Coffee Company logo on it, and sent it to the owner, Dan Ollis. He called the next day, and offered her a job. “I don’t usually go after a job that hard,” she laughed.

Looking to advance in the ranks, Marianne left in 2008 to work for that international coffee company – you know the one – but she wasn’t happy there. Dan, her former boss at Whidbey, began helping her look for a place to buy, but she was coming up empty.

Then, one day, Dan sent her a text: “Why not buy my café?” he asked. He helped finance the purchase, carrying the paper until she could secure a loan. “He’s been a great mentor to me,” she said.

The Red Cup continues to serve Whidbey Coffee, considered one of the Northwest’s premier roasters since 1989.

Besides well-crafted espressos, cappuccinos and other coffee drinks, they serve chai lattes, premium teas, smoothies, ice-cold teas and sodas and other beverages.

Then, whether you’re hungry at breakfast or lunch, the Red Cup offers tasty options at hard-to-beat prices.

For breakfast there are a choice of bagels with cheese, ham or bacon, and egg. There also is an asiago and avocado sandwich, a quinoa burrito, and a choice of croissants, with all the fixin’s. “People absolutely love the breakfast croissant,” Marianne said. It comes with cheese, ham or bacon and egg.

There’s also oatmeal, granola, toast and fruit parfait – a variety of delicious ways to start your day.

Lunch features build-your-own sandwiches, with choice of breads, cheeses, meats, toppings galore and all the condiments. There also are daily hot sandwiches and wraps, such as Taco Avocado, BLT Caesar, and Greek options.

There are soups (homemade all winter) and salads, and plenty of gluten-free and veggie options.

Add in one of the best views in town, with the Red Cup overlooking Lighthouse Park and the ferry, and you’ve got yourself a home away from home.

Even if you come in alone, you won’t be lonely.

“We’re fun,” Marianne said. “We all like being here. So a lot of people say they love the feel of it.”

A regular customer, overhearing our conversation, chimed in. “I absolutely agree,” he said, “It’s the energy. I love it here.”

Even after the lunch rush, the Red Cup is usually busy with young people who come in after school to do homework, as well as retirees and others meeting up for a leisurely afternoon to catch up.

During the warmer, dry days, you’ll find lots of people taking advantage of the outdoor seating area.

Inside, many enjoy sitting at the group tables, such as the renowned “Table of Nalage,” where regular customers past and present have pontificated about the issues of the day. One of them, on occasions when the café was hopping, would whistle for more coffee, a habit that drew rebuke from his companions. Another would call Marianne on the phone, earning similar condemnation from his friends.

But all in good fun.

“It’s a connecting/community kind of place for people,” Marianne said. “I feel blessed to be in charge of it.”

Find out for yourself. The Red Cup, currently operating summer hours from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, is at 619 4th St. in the Lincoln Courtyard. For more information, call them at 425-348-4825.

 

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