A few years ago I was devastated to learn that The Gypsy Cafe at N 35th St and Stone Way N was closing. My family and I were fond of listening to folk music there and attending the square dance every now and again. The place was a little worn around the edges, but it was still good. Then it became The Tiny Ninja Cafe, and I went once to an afternoon concert. It had been remodeled a bit — mostly the exterior was painted black, but it was still very much the same in look and feel if not in music.
But probably like many people in Wallingford and Fremont, I felt that there was a lot of potential for this spot that was being wasted. With Joule and The Whale Wins opening up next door, there is definitely a demand for a place that you can go to get a beer while you wait for a table at the restaurant. Or a place where you can go when you can’t get a table at the restaurant. A place that’s a little higher end than The Pacific Inn, a well loved dive bar across the street, but less up-market than the bar at Joule. And maybe a place you can take your family.
How does Stone Way Cafe stack up to these high aspirations? Pretty well. First of all the space has been remodeled considerably. There is gorgeous wood throughout, the kitchen is now exposed and the outdoor seating has been improved. Owner Mark Cramer writes:
Our goal with the Cafe is to create a space that reflects the charm and character of the old building and neighborhood while embracing the vibrant change and many new faces the area is currently seeing. We love the old timbers and fixtures of the warehouse building. It’s has great “old bones” and a character that we wanted to preserve and refresh. We’ve focused on natural and reclaimed wood, iron and stone and see the space as an ongoing work of art that will continue to evolve.
The food? I had a breakfast burrito with veggies instead of bacon. It was delightful and attractive. The coffee is from Cafe Vita and it is good. The staff are friendly, and the place was hopping on a Saturday morning at 9:00.
What about the price of an Americano? A while back a Yelper reviewed Tiny Ninja complaining that the Americano was priced $2.50, $3.00 and $3.50 for an 8 ounce, 12 ounce and 16 ounce respectively. I checked. You now don’t have to pay 50 extra cents for a little bit more water. All sizes are $2.75.
In January I went to the Gypsy Squares Square Dance. It was every bit as busy as its previous incarnation, and I saw kids as well as adults enjoying the music and dancing. It was also packed. The square dance is always on the last Saturday of the month and the next one is April 25th.
Probably the most exciting thing about the cafe is the new selection of beer which you can see here. That’s a lot of beer on tap and more than I would anticipate with a name that includes “Cafe.” Unless there is a band, their summer opening hours are until 8:30 pm (7:00 pm on Sunday). It seems that they could be missing out on some business coming from people wanting to enjoy their great beer selection in the evening after 8:30. However, owner Mark says “we’ve had a great response from local artists wanting to play at the cafe, so our calendar is filling rapidly so many of our summer evenings will have later hours.”
They also sell growlers. $25 includes the growler. If you bring your own it’s $15. I probably won’t take advantage of that since I can get a growler at Fremont Brewing for only $9.
All in all I’m very glad for the addition in the neighborhood. I think if they pushed the beer angle more and maybe improved their evening opening hours it would be a good thing. Stone Way is only going to get busier with all the new development in the neighborhood.