Caffe Parousia closes after 14 years of brewing

POULSBO — Trying not to mix tears with coffee, Caffe Parousia owner Myla Dalton greets each customer with a smile as her family prepares to serve one last cup Friday.

Caffe Parousia began pouring its wide array of drinks on Sept. 15, 1992 across from Plaza 305 and was the city’s first drive-thru espresso stand.

Now, almost 14 years later, Myla and her husband, Emmett, have decided to close their doors instead of attempting to succeed in the face of the widening of State Route 305.

“We’d thought about it several times in the past and last fall, we got word that that was what they were going to do,” Myla said. “We need the turn lane to survive.”

Without the existing turn lane, eastbound customers would have to drive down Iverson to 8th Avenue, up Hostmark Street and turn back onto SR 305, so it was time to close, she said.

“The best part has been interacting with customers and the camaraderie. And friendship is the best part of a business like this,” she said as a longtime customer arrived to give her flowers.

During the last 13-plus years, Myla said she and her husband have grown close to their customers and seen many of them get married and have children of their own.

In 1992, they were the only drive-thru in town and even they weren’t sure if they would be able to get the permits required to open, she said.

“Poulsbo wasn’t at the top of our list but it was the door that opened first,” she said, explaining that Boise, Idaho was the couple’s first choice.

The Daltons hail from Boise but that city took longer than Poulsbo to process their application, so they stayed in Little Norway.

“Mike Regis had just started working for the city and he showed us what we needed to do to get it done and when the council voted for us, we were surprised,” she said.

Regis is now a city councilman and is working with the state on a parking/landscaping plan for the area affected by the widening.

In its heyday, Myla said cars would be lined up down SR 305 in both directions. The business reached its peak in 2000.

“Once Central Market moved and Frontier Bank moved, we stopped getting as much filter traffic,” she said.

However, the coffee shop has developed a strong following of regulars who have helped the couple put their three daughters through school. Even so, the impacts of the upcoming SR 305 widening were just too much, Myla said.

Emmett has already found another full-time job and Myla said she’ll focus on her art and her writing.

“We thought about moving it and having me run it full-time but that would have been too much,” she said. “It’s been a happy life.”

To commemorate the end of an era, a farewell party will be held at the coffee shop beginning at 4:30 p.m. Friday as the Daltons say good-bye to their customers.

“A lot of my customers have been coming in saying, ‘Where am I going to get my coffee in the morning?’” Myla said.

Unlike 1992 when they started, coffee shops including chains like Starbucks and Austin Chase are commonplace up and down SR 305. And speaking of Starbucks, Myla said she had her eye on a place in downtown Boise a few years ago for a tea house and coffee shop.

However, those plans have met a major roadblock.

“Guess what’s in there now?” Myla asked. “Starbucks and it would have been the perfect place.”

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