BY ELLEN HIATT
The talented baker of South Fork Baking Company is witnessing a dream come true this spring with the opening of a full service cafe in the Port of Everett’s Waterfront Place. It’s the first business to sign a lease for one of six new retail spaces in the Fisherman’s Harbor district of the Port’s 65-acre, mixed-use development.
The new space faces the marina’s yacht slips, with Hotel Indigo to its north, and all-new Waterfront Place apartments to its east. The Port has said it will be open by May, but owner/ baker Katherine Hillman says she’s confident in an early July opening. Local boaters, new apartment dwellers, hotel visitors, and all the neighbors atop Rucker Hill are South Fork Bakery’s potential customers.
Hillman’s father is a fisherman, and she plans a hearty menu a hungry fisherman would appreciate on a chilly day, as well as small bites, pastries, and cake by the slice. Expect to find a concise coffee bar, with every one of the syrups made in-house. That’s how South Fork Baking Company rolls. Speaking of rolls, have you tried their Cinnamon Rolls and chocolate Babka Buns? Oh my! Show up in the morning before you board your boat or go for your daily walk around the marina and grab a breakfast sammie on a house made biscuit. Feel free to put down a couple bucks to buy someone a sandwich — a “pay it forward” opportunity for someone in need.
“It’s an inclusive space, with hospitality,” said Hillman. “Nobody should be hungry.”
Hillman has been baking for many years, beginning first out of her home kitchen while she worked a marketing job. Out her kitchen window she could see the South Fork of the Stillaguamish River, thus the name of her bakery. After four years of seeing demand increase, she went to work in the bakery at Red Twig in Edmonds, quickly becoming their head baker.
For the last few years she’s been working in a commercial kitchen space in Everett Station, providing wholesale baked goods to coffee stands and others. Opening a new bakery and cafe in Everett’s swankiest new district is a dream come true. As a youngster, she was captivated by the baker in Beauty and the Beast and dreamed of owning her own bakery.
“I always said I would have a bakery by the time I was 30. I signed the lease for this space before I turned 30,” she said.
This is brand new territory for me.
“This is brand new territory for me,” she said, adding that the people at Port of Everett “have handled everything with grace and amazing communication.”
With a covered patio doubling her dining capacity, big garage doors that lift high on a sunny day (funded in part by the Everett Forward Grant), the airy, light space is open for conversation over coffee and pastries, a glass of wine or a beer. It’s also a place where Hillman hopes to provide the leavening not only to breads, but to people.
The airy, light space is open for conversation over coffee and pastries, a glass of wine or a beer.
“Our core value is to over communicate. Always ask for help when you need it,” she said, sharing her style as an employer.
She hopes to provide a training ground for up-and-coming bakers, giving them that first critical year of experience. And she will be holding classes for the public. “Have a glass of wine and learn how to frost a cake,” she said.
Photos Courtesy of South Fork Baking Company