Favorite local coffee hangout shuts down

SUQUAMISH — The place “where everyone knows your name” will cease to exist next week. But the music will live on.

Northern Expressions, or the Coffee Cantina — as it is commonly known — will be shutting its doors on Sunday, July 21 and Rico Reynolds, a current employee and volunteer with the cafe, is not happy with the decision.

“I’ve seen young kids turn into teens and teens into adults, all over that silly little counter,” Reynolds said. “It’ll be sad to leave this place.”

According to Reynolds, the owner of the building (adjacent to Beach House Too), wants to shut down the 11-year-old cafe and turn it into a bakery. The cafe has changed hands several times, most recently into the current ownership of Ed Barnhart and Carol Rose.

But the heart of the cafe, the Friday Night Jam sessions, will not end, and will only move up the road to Kingston. David Weinstock of Community Art Works is bringing the group to Kingston’s newest art center at the Old Kingston Hotel.

In the beginning, when the cafe was Bruce’s Coffee Cantina, locals wanted to start something musical, keeping things acoustic but different from everyone else, Reynolds said.

Not an open mic, or formal, but something for people that didn’t have a lot of experience or who had some stage fright.

“Its a darn shame that the song circle has been forced to move after all these years,” said Don Downing, a former owner of the cafe. “I hope it will be successful in the new venue.”

Reynolds is just upset that the local hangout and staple of Suquamish will be gone.

“It’s so neat, perfect strangers will sit down and talk over coffee and a cookie,” Reynolds said. “I’ve seen a lot of friendships and couples get started here.”

The owner of the building, Mildred Flora, and the owners of the cafe could not be reached for comment.

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