From customers to owners, Edmonds couple transforms Waterfront Coffee

You can find Vickie Balas behind the counter daily at Edmonds' Waterfront Coffee Co.

Steve and Vickie Balas always enjoyed their visits to the Waterfront Coffee Company, located next to Brackett’s Landing beach and across from the Edmonds ferry dock. Little did they know that some day, they would end up owning the place.

The Edmonds couple had grown children and were thinking about the next stage of their lives, Vickie Balas said. Steve had retired from the construction business while Vickie had been a stay-at-home mom and a self-described “foodie.” Then a friend  told them that Waterfront Coffee was for sale. “We always thought it was a cute little place,” Vickie recalled.

That said, when they moved in Dec. 1, the shop at 101 Main St. needed work. There was minimal seating, a lot of clutter and a “convenience store” approach to the food offerings, including grilled hot dogs and sno-cones, Vickie said.

“Our goal was to transform it into a neighborhood coffee shop,” she said. They expanded the seating to include more tables and chairs indoors (the shop still offers free wireless for computer users), although those looking to enjoy the sunshine on a winter day can bask in outdoor seating against a south-facing wall. They also added new menu items for people seeking a quick healthy breakfast or lunch, such as oatmeal featuring Umpqua oats, healthy burritos, and hand-made Russian piroshki from one of Seattle’s finest bakeries.

Waterfront Coffee Company still features Italian-style drinks created on the La Marzocco manual espresso machine with roasted beans from Cafe Vita. But the baristas — all trained in the artistry of Italian coffee — now use milk from Meadowsweet Dairy in the Kent Valley, which Vickie believes adds a rich sweetness to their lattes and other coffee drinks made with milk.

Waterfront Coffee is open daily from 7 a.m.-7 p.m.

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