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Take Comfort in Colman remodel

The island coffee stand will offer wares at the Seattle terminal.

You head for your island-bound ferry at Colman Dock, hunger gnawing at your stomach.

A tasty tapas washed down with a local microbrew might just tide you over.

Come this fall in a renovated Colman Dock, you should be enjoying the Spanish appetizers and cold brew from the owners of Bainbridge-based Commuter Comforts.

“We want to give great, small, yummy food to tide someone over to get home,” said Carol Jelinek, Comforts co-owner. “And everything can be to go.”

Commuter Comforts, well-known to Bainbridge ferry riders for the coffee stand next to Winslow terminal, is one of five vendors selected by Washington State Ferries this week to offer grab-and-go foods to commuters at Seattle Pier 52’s Colman Dock.

Built in 1961 and serving more than 40 percent of ferry patrons, the terminal has never been upgraded, said Russell East, WSF director of terminal engineering.

Planned is a 10,000-square-foot, $1.9 million renovation. The terminal will remain “100 percent” in operation during construction, East said, although the waiting areas may shift around to accommodate work. Construction will begin in May and finish in the early fall.

One goal is to improve customer service with food service and sundry items.

“I don’t think we could have hoped for higher quality vendors to go into that location,” he said, noting that while there is some overlap in offerings, each vendor has a few signature items. Vendors will be able to serve passengers in the walk-on and car waiting areas as well as street-level customers.

The WSF is also hoping the new vendors will help the system’s bottom line. Manager of business development Brian Volkert said WSF hopes to bring in $400,000 to $500,000 additional revenue each year through the new food vendors and concessions.

The revenue will help to pay for the remodeling, which also includes an upgraded passenger area, ticket booths, information booth and restrooms. Concessions service will be in a food court-style area with standing table bars indoors and outdoors.

Also, the Colman Clock – which dates from the early 1900s – will once again be located outside the terminal, visible from the Marion Street walkway.

For Commuter Comforts, the contract award represents a chance to expand its offerings beyond the coffee and pastries at the Winslow terminal booth.

“We’re very excited to be working towards a larger menu,” said Carol Jelinek, co-owner with husband Don Riddell.

She envisions croissants and baguettes baked on-site in the morning, a midday lunch menu and local beers and wines with tapas in the evening.

She is developing a lunch and evening menu with consultant Jerilyn Brusseau of Culinary Design and Counsel, a fellow-islander and inventor of Cinnabon. Offerings will include Pike Place Market Chowder, Port Madison Farms goat cheese, pies from Whidbey Island and Bruce Gore salmon.

“We will also try to keep things as reasonably priced as possible so it’s not an expensive affair,” Jelinek said, “so people get good value for their dollar and can stop in a few times a week.”

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