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BITE US: Vanila Bean Cafe

Plus: Smooth and Juicey to open soon

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Vanilla Bean Café
A cheery red wall draws the eye while a bank of stools offers a peaceful sun-warmed perch, perfect for people-watching from the front window of newly arrived Vanilla Bean Café on St. Helens Avenue. Owners Rick and Tobe Collier are not new to the roasted bean game, having operated on Puyallup’s Waller Road before relocating to downtown Tacoma and opening Dec. 1. Like a hermit crab, Vanilla Bean now occupies one of the former homes of Black Water Café.

I stopped in last Saturday to smell the air, and yep, that’s the inviting aroma of good coffee.

Vanilla Bean is supplied pastries by Upper Crust and serves hearty soups on weekdays — hot tomato, creamy potato and Ivar’s clam chowder. The barista working shared that more tasty nibbles “possibly from Corina Bakery will be added in the near future, since we only just opened.”
Hot and cold teas, juices, sodas, and hot cocoa are also available.

Open Monday through Friday 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday 7a.m. to 4p.m. — Jennifer Johnson

[Vanilla Bean Café, 743 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma]

Smooth and Juicey
A January grand opening celebration and ribbon cutting is on the horizon, and an even closer soft opening on Dec. 14 is imminent for Smooth and Juicey — the new alt-bev bar will soon to open on Market Street near the YMCA.

With playful excitement in her voice, co-owner Patricia Lecy-Davis shares her anticipation. “I’m so uberly excited for the best coffee and smoothies to be downtown within the next couple weeks,” she tells me.

Partnering with Satellite Coffee ensures the coffee part is covered, and Smooth and Juicey already has a solid cache of tasty smoothie blends up its sleeve, but Lecy-Davis wants to kick it up a notch. A contest for the 12 very best smoothie recipes is being held as we speak. Winners will be announced at the grand opening, and then featured monthly at Smooth and Juicey as a “Smoothie of the Month” during 2010.

“I think it will be a really fun way to involve the community and give them a sense of ownership,” Lecy-Davis continues.

Pastries, teas, matcha from Mad Hat Tea Co. and more will also be offered.

Look for contest guidelines in the Smooth and Juicey at to e-mail your recipe.

Opening Daily: Monday-Saturday 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. with Sunday hours to be determined. — JJ

[Smooth and Juicey, 1112 Market St., Tacoma, 206.365.6706]

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Comments for "BITE US: Vanila Bean Cafe" (1)

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Charlene Kosche said on Jan. 26, 2010 at 1:17pm

This is a much needed gift to downtown Tacoma. Nice quiet atmosphere for a coffee drink or lunch with a friend. The owner is amazingly cordial and she serves the best coffee (roasted locally by Ipsut Creek Roasters) around. Pastries are from Corinna's Bakery and sandwiches are from The Upper Crust. Talk about local flavor, it's all here in one cozy little cafe'!

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