Katie Metzger/staff photo Convivial Cafe is planning to open its doors to the community in March 2018.

Convivial Cafe to open on Mercer Island

Mercer Islanders dream of a Town Center that is more lively, welcoming and befitting of its small town, “village” atmosphere. A new business coming to Islandia Shopping Center in a few months could make that a reality.

Longtime community volunteer and avid baker Joel Wachs is planning to open Convivial Cafe in March 2018. The bakery-cafe is geared toward community, and will have a meeting room, a lounge area and plenty of other seating where patrons can enjoy artisanal breads, pastries, desserts, coffee from Elm Coffee Roasters and more.

“It will be a place where you can always get a whole wheat sandwich, or a chocolate chip cookie or a blueberry muffin,” Wachs said. “There will be old favorites along with new things to discover.”

The Convivial Cafe location is currently under construction. Wachs is working with architects at Best Practice, who have designed several Cupcake Royale locations, among other projects.

Wachs said he always wanted to open a cafe, even before moving to Mercer Island about 10 years ago. He became involved in the Island community, joining the Library Board, Open Space Conservancy Trust, Farmers Market Board, Town Center Visioning Group and, for five months until health concerns forced his resignation, the Mercer Island City Council.

Before moving to the Island, Wachs lived in Paris, in a culture famous for buying fresh baked bread every day. He started learning more tricks of the baking trade about six years ago, when he started working with Andy Papadatos at his Snohomish Bakery, a favorite vendor at the Mercer Island Farmers Market.

He said he started talking to the Mercer Island Chamber of Commerce about opening a similar business on the Island, but is heading into this venture with “eyes wide open” about the retail climate and success rate of new small businesses.

Still, he wanted to create the space Islanders say they want.

“The number of bakeries and cafes is declining [in France], but each neighborhood still has its baker, and there really isn’t one here,” Wachs said.

Chamber Director Laurie Givan said the buzz is building around the new business. People walking by Island Books, Terra Bella and Homegrown have already noticed the blue and white window signage and visited the website. Wachs said he hopes to collaborate with neighboring businesses on events.

He also wants his customers to know that his cafe will be receptive and responsive to input and suggestions. He said that the baked goods offered will change throughout the day, from breakfast, to after school snacks, to dessert.

According to the website, Wachs chose the name “Convivial” because it describes his hopes for the bakery cafe: “relating to lively social events centered around food, drinks, and friendly conversation.”

“The idea is that people won’t come here to just get a pastry or a cup of coffee, but that they’re bound to see someone they know,” he said.

See www.convivialcafe.com for more.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@mi-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.mi-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

[flipp]

More in Business

Survey on tap for Mercer Island business owners

An 18-question survey is now online geared toward Mercer Island business owners… Continue reading

File Photo
LA Fitness to reopen all locations Aug. 10

Gyms will follow state guidelines

Mercer Island in the fall. Natalie DeFord/staff photo
New (but temporary) outdoor seating permitting options available on Mercer Island

The city council recently approved an ordinance that allows restaurants to use vehicle stalls in private parking areas for outdoor seating.

Kristen Sisco (pictured) had been dreaming of opening a French bakery for years before officially opening the doors to La Fête Pâtisserie Française. Photo courtesy La Fête Pâtisserie Française
Inside new Mercer Island bakery La Fête Pâtisserie Française

The eatery, which opened in July, specializes in traditional French pastries.

PPE was handed out at the Mercer Island Community and Event Center’s parking lot from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesday, July 7. Photo courtesy Mercer Island Chamber of Commerce
About 275 Mercer Island businesses received PPE kits at recent distribution event

Distribution was organized by the Mercer Island Chamber of Commerce, King County, the city of Mercer Island, Amazon and other Eastside chambers.

Tracy Harris (pictured) began pet-grooming 20 years ago. Photo courtesy Tracy Harris
Pet-grooming on wheels: How new Mercer Island groomer’s model is faring amid pandemic

Om Doggies owner Tracy Harris opened her business as soon as Gov. Inslee announced Phase 1.5.

File photo.
The difficulties and limitations of Phase 2 in Mercer Island

COVID-19 business restrictions have eased. Implementation, however, can pose challenges.

Natalie DeFord/staff photo
                                From left: a November 2019 shot of Mercer Island Community Fund grant chair Debbie Hanson, treasurer Betsy O’Connell and president Erin Krawiec.
How the WeLoveMI COVID-19-relief campaign has supported Mercer Island businesses

The relief campaign has been integral in supporting small businesses amid the pandemic.

Don Brunell
China’s push for high-tech dominance

The country’s control of rare earth metals will give it a key advantage in this fight.

A new measure from the King County Council could increase flexibility for businesses in rural areas of King County. File photo
County measure would increase flexibility for businesses in rural areas

Staff report Legislation the King County Council passed June 23 could lead… Continue reading

Mercer Island business owners discuss Phase 1.5 experiences

With Phase 1.5 in effect, COVID-19 guidelines have been relaxed in numerous industries.