On The Side

Ciao Thyme cafe set to open this Fall 2012

Rumor has it Ciao Thyme is opening a cafe.  People have asked us for years when we would open a restaurant.  We thought we could satisfy them with Incognito--our (occasional) restaurant dinner series.  How naive we were--the dinners and classes just expanded the crowd that was asking for more Ciao Thyme.   As we head into our twelfth year of business in Bellingham, we have a vision for the next twelve years.

Rumor has it Ciao Thyme is opening a cafe.  People have asked us for years when we would open a restaurant.  We thought we could satisfy them with Incognito--our (occasional) restaurant dinner series.  How naive we were--the dinners and classes just expanded the crowd that was asking for more Ciao Thyme.   As we head into our twelfth year of business in Bellingham, we have a vision for the next twelve years. 

Imagine this...you are working downtown and dying to step out of the office for a quick, delicious lunch.  You walk down the block to 207 Unity street, reach for the bronze spoon on the door and step into Ciao Thyme On the Side.  On this beautiful September day, you are greeted by a warm smile and the aromas of pulled pork with peach BBQ sauce on freshly baked bread and carrot-orange soup with cardamom creme fraiche.  You see sides of organic quinoa salad with pickled cauliflower, arugula, heirloom tomatoes and pine nuts; and local field greens with Asian pears, spiced walnuts and goat cheese tossed with blackberry vinaigrette; and grilled eggplant stuffed with roasted pepper couscous and drizzled with mint chimichurri. You place your order and pick up your tray, then head outside to catch a rare moment of sun in your busy day.  You find a seat in the Ciao Thyme parklet out front and enjoy your lunch surrounded by beautiful plants and community members.  You strike up a friendly conversation with the person next to you.  When you leave, you feel nourished--body and soul recharged for the continuation of your day. 

The menu changes with the farm produce of the seasons.  There is no pretense in this space, just high quality ingredients prepared with care and delivered with love.  Folks come knowing they can trust that the food that is prepared here will be sourced responsibly.  They know that by choosing Ciao Thyme On the Side, their dining dollars will go farther in this community to support local families, local farmers, and other small businesses in Bellingham--keeping our community thriving.  Some will come knowing that they helped make it all possible--that they contributed to the dreams of a passionate group of culinarians and helped raise the “barn” walls.

In the stories told to us by our grandparents, there was a time when people helped each other build their dreams.  When folks came together to raise the barn walls, white wash the new fences and help hang the signs on the general store.  We are designing and planning an inviting space to serve you lunch complete with sidewalk/street gardens and seating.  We listened to your cries for more Ciao Thyme, now please listen to our plea. Our plans will cost in-the-neighborhood-of $50,000 dollars, including our grand street-scape plan of Bellingham's first Parklet.  We appreciated your generous support of our garage sale--which bought the new garage door!   Now, we are asking you to help us raise the funds to build the dream.  So often we put our money into things we don’t believe in or can’t touch--we are asking that, if you believe in Ciao Thyme, if you believe in good food, if you believe that dreamers make this world a better place to live, that you give what you can to help make this dream a reality.  If you help us, rumor has it, you won’t have to wait anymore!

This newsletter was prompted by the national and international movement of small businesses that have raised funds through crowd-funding.  Crowd-funding describes the collective cooperation, attention and trust by people who network and pool resources to support efforts initiated by small business owners or organizations.  Small business owners with big ideas are often stopped in their tracks by the overwhelming thought of debt and big loans to repay.  Programs found online, like Kickstarter.com, Rockethub.com, and Indiegogo.com, have paved the way for small businesses to get their projects funded through support from ordinary folks in their communities.  Like with so many things Ciao Thyme does, we wanted to use this idea, but do it our way.  We have chosen to design our own version of these programs through our website.  Which cuts out the middle man and allows all the funds you donate to go directly to the building of Ciao Thyme On the Side and the street-scape out front.

Part of our vision for this new incarnation of Ciao Thyme is to make it more accessible to a wider variety of people, from a cost perspective.  Part of keeping our prices more affordable, is keeping our build-out costs low.  If we do not have costly loans to repay, we can focus on making great food for a fair price. 

Donations of any denomination are appreciated for this Community Supported Cafe.  You will find options from $10 on up on our website through this link.    Donations may also be sent via mail to Ciao Thyme On the Side at 207 Unity Street, Bellingham, WA 98225. Please, only give what you are able to afford and willing to donate. This donation is NOT tax deductible, but we think it will count toward your good karma!