Bainbridge's Cups run over: New coffee shop to open

Wanda Winker (right) with her daughter Emma at Cups Espresso’s location in Poulsbo. The new Bainbridge shop, set to open later this month, will operate out of Roosters Café’s former space at 123 Bjune Drive. - Photo courtesy of Wanda Winker
Wanda Winker (right) with her daughter Emma at Cups Espresso’s location in Poulsbo. The new Bainbridge shop, set to open later this month, will operate out of Roosters Café’s former space at 123 Bjune Drive.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Wanda Winker

When a neighbor asks a Pegasus loyalist to meet him at Bainbridge Bakers, there’s a silent scuffle that ensues. It involves eyebrow raising, maybe a little scowling, and — only because human nicety requires it — eventual acquiescence.

But the message is clear: I’m sacrificing my cup, my routine, my regular seat only because you’ve asked me to.

Those of the experimental persuasion, meanwhile, are chomping at the bit for a new purlieu. They have a different shop for every day of the week, you see, depending on the mood, and Tuesday’s begun to be boring. When you tell them the Bainbridge coffee house count has ticked to eight or a dozen, their bloodhound’s noses start twitching. They don’t need you to tell them Cups Espresso Café will open its doors at 123 Bjune Drive in mid February; they’ve already dashed there  at least 20 times to appraise the project’s progress.

If the Winker’s niche-making goes according to plan, their Poulsbo-based business, set for expansion to Roosters old digs, should satisfy both breeds of caffeine seekers.

The latter group won’t need any convincing; just put the shop’s signature blackberry mocha in their hands. They’ll marvel to all their friends that they’ve discovered molten Mora ice cream.

The stalwarts, on the other hand, will be tougher converts. But Wanda and Sean Winker will try to woo them with novelty.

“We understand that there is a significant offering of coffee on the island, especially in the Winslow area,” Sean said.

“But what we will try to offer is something different. We’re going to try some things that we think there might be a demand for here, that wouldn’t necessarily work in Poulsbo.”

He envisages salads in a jar, for example.

“Someone could swing by on their way to the ferry, do a jar exchange,” Sean explained. “They wouldn’t be made-to-order, but ready-to-go, since time is of the essence in that situation.”

Fresh juice is another idea he’s considering.

“I don’t know if the volume would be there — you’ve got to have volume because of the perishability of the fresh produce — but maybe we’d do a juice of the day,” he said.

The island couple, who opened the first Cups in 2012, say the secret to their success — a 60 percent growth rate in three years — is customer service.

“We aim to deliver a good product consistently,” Sean said. “It’s very basic; it’s very simple, but it’s not necessarily easy.”

In Poulsbo, they’re known for their made-to-order sandwiches, quiche and Caffè Umbria coffee, Wanda said.

They’re also known for their flexibility.

“If we have customers that come in and say, ‘Can you get this?,’ we really try to listen and offer what people want,” Wanda explained.

That’s how cold brew ended up on the summer menu. White coffee, too (beans are roasted for a shorter amount of time, producing a nutty, tea-like flavor that packs extra punch).

With Gelarto next door, the Winkers decided that Cups’ island outpost won’t be serving ice cream. But you’ll still be able to get shakes made from the stuff in “espresso explosion” and more conventional flavors.

Other than new paint and wall art, the interior setup will remain the same — lots of seating space.

“Like our Poulsbo location, our goal is to create an inviting and friendly place where locals of all ages can come for good food, music and conversation,” Wanda said.

Roosters Café merged with Thuy’s Pho House, at 112 Madison Ave., in early January.

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