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Three owners and a bistro

Corina Bakery adds new owners and a bistro

Corina Bakery and Bistro: Casey Brown has a blueberry muffin with your name on it. Photography by J.M. Simpson

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Tacoma does not have a butcher or a candlestick maker (that I know of, if you all are out there, make yourself heard). Tacoma does, however, have a baker. Her name is Julie Rex, and in that case, one out of three ain't bad. Walter and Jessica Gaya hired Julie Rex as a baker at their local hit, Corina Bakery, in July of 2007.  When the Gayas decided to move on, it seemed rational to pass the torch to the people they felt had the most passion for the place. Rex set about arranging a business plan in hopes of purchasing Corina a little more than six months ago. She approached her friend Mike Ott as an adviser. He and his wife, Molly, quickly decided they would actually like to be partners with Rex in her community-based business vision, thank you very much. And so began the re-imagination of what will become Corina Bakery and Bistro.

Unless you are falsely advertising, adding the word "bistro" onto the end of your name means that you have to add more food onto your menu. Interviewing both Julie and Mike, I was promised a plethora of new food choices including wheat-and sugar-free delicacies as well as several tempting breakfast options. "Walter and Jessica served the community very well, we want to build upon these strengths ... we want to honor the hard work and reputation they have with the community, and continue to build upon it," Mike told me. And build they will.

Adding new industrial kitchen equipment and expanding the catering and out-of-house sales, Corina plans on offering baked goods on every level of the food service industry while staying true to the walk-in and feel-at-home atmosphere.

Improvements to the seating area, Wi-Fi and local art on the walls wont hurt things either as the ever changing Merlino Art Center building once again evolves to suit the Tacoma spirit.

Julie tells me, "It's been a really surreal six months finding out what I'm capable of." When I asked her how she discovered her dream, she said, "I gave into my love. I guess I didn't think it could be that easy. This is already something I love to do, I have people over to my house all the time to eat and I've been baking since I was 8 years old. I had to ask myself, why can't I just do this for my whole life? I had to really defeat my own hang-ups about my passion. I had this judgment about it, like: that's what housewives do, but so what if I express myself with scones. To me it's a big deal. Some people paint or draw or whatever, but food is how I express my love for you."

I say, "love is all you need", especially if you mean cookies when you say love.

Mike, Molly, and Julie will celebrate their grand reopening May 1.

[Corina Bakery and Bistro, 510 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, 253.627.5070]

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