Sano Cafe will open in the old Roberto’s location on Mercer Island at the end of January. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Sano Cafe will open in the old Roberto’s location on Mercer Island at the end of January. Katie Metzger/staff photo

New Sano Cafe to open on Mercer Island this month

The new eatery in the old Roberto’s location will feature healthful food, from salads to smoothies.

It’s a dream many years in the making. Lisa Nordstrom, founder and owner of Sano Bar, announced that she is opening Sano Cafe this month on Mercer Island, in the old Roberto’s space.

The cafe will serve breakfast and lunch and will feature salads, acai bowls and toasts along with fresh juices, smoothies and espresso drinks. Nordstrom said she also hopes to sell the bars there, and is searching for a new manufacturing space.

“Sano” means “healthy mind and body” in Italian. Nordstrom envisions that the cafe will be a gathering place where people can enjoy nutritious food, if they’re in a hurry, or want to hang out for a while. The cafe will have dedicated parking, indoor and outdoor seating and a retail area featuring local items.

Nordstrom is a fourth generation Island resident, and chose the old Roberto’s location at 7605 SE 27th St., Suite 111, because of her fond memories of the restaurant. She sees it as a local gem and wants to preserve its history and legacy. She was also inspired by the legacy of her parents, Don and Jo Scalzo. Nordstrom has three daughters, ages 12, 15 and 17, and said that her mother opened a business — “Once Upon a Time Antiques” on Mercer Island — when she was about that age.

Nordstrom said she always wanted to open a bakery cafe, but was encouraged to start with a brand and an item. She launched Sano Bar in August 2015. The bars are non-GMO and gluten, soy and dairy-free, and contain high-quality whole food ingredients. A portion of the profits are donated to local charities, such as Food Lifeline.

She said she saw an opportunity on Mercer Island to expand her business, and provide a space “for our customers who care about what they are eating, especially for our kids,” she wrote on her website.

“Seeing the demand and support for healthy alternatives to the food we and our families are eating, I was encouraged to expand our offer across a range of delicious foods,” she wrote.

Nordstrom said she also cares deeply about the community, and wants to partner with businesses and organizations such as the Rotary Run.

Sano Cafe will be the latest in a line of new cafes on the Island, including Homegrown and Convivial Cafe, which is also set to open this year.

See www.thesanocafe.com for more.


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Lisa Nordstrom started Sano Bars with her daughters before deciding to open a bakery cafe. Photo via Facebook

Lisa Nordstrom started Sano Bars with her daughters before deciding to open a bakery cafe. Photo via Facebook

Sano Cafe will feature salads, acai bowls, fresh juices and smoothies. Photo via thesanocafe.com

Sano Cafe will feature salads, acai bowls, fresh juices and smoothies. Photo via thesanocafe.com

Lisa Nordstrom and her daughters created Sano Bar to provide a healthy snack option and give back by donating profits to local charities. Nordstrom says she hopes to sell the bars in her new Sano Cafe. Photo via thesanocafe.com

Lisa Nordstrom and her daughters created Sano Bar to provide a healthy snack option and give back by donating profits to local charities. Nordstrom says she hopes to sell the bars in her new Sano Cafe. Photo via thesanocafe.com

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