Pogacha owners Lisa and Brad Cassidy cut the ribbon on their new Mercer Island location on Dec. 14. Courtesy photo

Pogacha owners Lisa and Brad Cassidy cut the ribbon on their new Mercer Island location on Dec. 14. Courtesy photo

Pogacha brings a taste of Croatia to the Island

Cassidys have run the restaurant since 1997.

Brad Cassidy unleashes a laugh and you can tell by the inflection in his voice that he’s glad that everything’s finally set in stone.

With their permits finalized on Dec. 14, the Pogacha owner and his wife and co-owner Lisa opened their restaurant that night with a ribbon cutting in front of the eatery at 2707 78th Ave. SE on Mercer Island.

“I am so much more relaxed. I would have never reopened without the history. We’ve got some really great clientele, a lot of Mercer Island clientele, regulars. You should have seen last night, they’re coming in and the support’s been awesome,” Brad said. The couple purchased the now nearly 34-year-old Bellevue restaurant from original owner Helen Brocard in 1997 and the lease expired on Feb. 1 of this year.

Brad knows that there’s heaps of work to be done now that they’ve finally opened the Croatian-inspired restaurant on the Island. For starters, he said they need to get the word out about the restaurant. It’s just takeout and delivery for now, so once restaurants get the governor’s approval to open for some indoor customer seating — Jan. 4 is the proposed date — they’ll begin the next phase of their journey.

The new stop for Pogacha — which translates into “soft, chewy flatbread” — on the Island came about when Brad’s friend told him about the spot that once housed the Island Broiler. Brad had been searching for a new location for 14 months in Bellevue, to no avail, so he met with the Island landlord on Feb. 1 and turned around the quick deal with a March 2 lease signing.

They weren’t able to open sooner because the pandemic hit, so since March they’ve been fixing the place up and working with the architect and contractor and waiting for the permits to be finalized. A crucial component to the restaurant is the massive wood-fired oven, which was made near Tuscany and transported from Bellevue to the Island. Four or five key employees have stayed on board to keep Pogacha rolling.

The Cassidys also run Café Pogacha, which they opened in 2001 in Bellevue. Pogacha’s specialties include flatbread, fresh herbs, house-made pasta and a purple dobar chicken dish with port-soaked grapes and a Gorgonzola cream sauce.

Along with enjoying their new Island location, the spot will help with the catering aspect of the business since they now have easier access to Seattle, Issaquah and Renton.

Brad, who noted that Pogacha will offer brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, is ready to do business on the Island. They’re facing pandemic restrictions now, but he hopes they can soon open their doors for customers.

“I’m a half-full glass guy. I’m an optimist, I guess, and I put in a lot of years and I saw we were real successful in Bellevue,” he said.

For more information, call 425-455-5670 or visit www.pogacha.com.

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.

More in News

Redmond’s Silver Cloud Inn, purchased by county to become permanent supportive housing for the chronically homeless (photo credit: Cameron Sheppard)
King County Council approves plan for future of housing-first approach to homelessness

The plan will govern expenditures of Health through Housing dollars from 2022 to 2028.

Screenshot from Claudia Balducci’s Twitter account
King County Council approves unique public-private partnership for Eastrail project

Funding approved to construct key Eastrail/520 Trail Corridor connector in Bellevue.

Pop-Up Holiday Book Sale on tap

From now until Dec. 11, The Friends of the Mercer Island Library… Continue reading

This October 2021 photo provided by Pfizer shows kid-size doses of its COVID-19 vaccine.
King County woman among first in state to test positive for Omicron

Omicron appears to be more transmissible than the Delta variant.

File photo
Black drivers disproportionately pulled over by WSP in King, Pierce counties

A study by WSU researchers examined over 3 million traffic stops performed by WSP officers.

Mercer Island community gathers for Hanukkah celebration

Menorahs are placed at Mercerdale Park.

Trees aplenty at YFS lot

Don Kovarik trims a tree at the Mercer Island Youth and Family… Continue reading

Island Freemasons rename lodge in honor of Dean LeClare Quigley

Ceremony for dedicated member took place on Dec. 2.

School district seeks ballot measure committees

The Mercer Island School District seeks interested parties to prepare statements in… Continue reading

Most Read