Client Spotlight - Cafe Barjot
Nestled on the Capitol Hill's sleepy northwestern slope, Cafe Barjot is the creation of Joe Bar veteran Seattle restaurateur, Wylie Bush. Looking through Barjot’s three-sided glass front at the thin canopy of trees and verdant greenery that surrounds the cafe and the adjacent avenue, it seems hard to remember that it is a mere four blocks from the noise and chaos of Broadway. Upon entering the cafe, one is instantly struck by the simple aesthetic of smooth wood, red brick and stainless steel that is at once clean yet inviting.
To find out a little more about Barjot and their views on coffee, cuisine and neighborhood culture, we sat down for a chat with Wylie.
THE ORIGIN OF BARJOT
“I used to come to this place,” said Wylie, recalling the restaurant that previously occupied Barjot's Bellevue Avenue location, Chico Madrid.
“They were a great little place, really nice ownership, so it’s a little bittersweet…but more so I coveted the space, so when this came up on the market I jumped on it.”
The name, not surprisingly, was derived from Wylie's other, similarly named Joe Bar, a staple of the Seattle coffee scene for 17 years and running.
“I had some French customers that used to come there who thought 'Joe Bar' was a play off of 'Barjot'—which turned out to be a French colloquialism for “crazy."
While the decision to open a new cafe a mere four blocks from the already successful Joe Bar may seem to some like a move befitting Barjot's name, Wylie put a good deal of thought and wisdom gleaned from his years in the coffee industry into the choice of his new space.
“It’s only four blocks away but we have a very very different clientele. Coffee is about convenience I’d say about 98% of the time.”
Barjot’s oven and larger kitchen have also allowed Wylie and chef Maegan Rasmussen to bake all the pastries for both locations and has given them direct control over the quality of food they serve.
WHY TRUE NORTH?
Given Wylie’s already well-earned reputation for service and delicious food, he took care in selecting which roaster would supply Barjot's coffee.
“I’d talked to a bunch of different roasters. They were all really good, but I’m personally not a big fan of Third Wave coffee. I find it to be usually a little too light on the roasts, and I’ve tasted some really good things that are a part of the Third Wave—I think mainly I'm just still of the old school and I haven’t progressed or something.
“True North I found to be of a flavor profile that worked as soon as I put it into the grinder. It had just a touch of the Third Wave but still had the robustness that I really like in original espresso. Then meeting Maine and John cinched the deal, just from being so personable and interactive."
Given Wylie and Maegan's reputation for quality as well Wylie's love for small neighborhood establishments which foster a sense of community with their customers, Barjot and True North seem a natural fit.
“They behave towards me as I liked to behave towards my customers. Kindness and truly listening; they go for miles!”
Finally our talk turned toward the path ahead as Wylie excitedly related his plans for expanding all Barjot has to offer.
“I’m really looking forward to night service. It's the last piece of the puzzle."
Expect dinner to retain all the eccentric culinary charm of Barjot’s day menu with the addition of a full bar (pending the approval of their liquor license).
“Bistro, Americana, Euro-Fusion, it’s whatever we feel like. Barjot is a French name and Joe Bar serves crepes but we’re not ever pigeonholed by any one thing. Whatever we want to serve will be really good.”
He went on to mention his collaborator and chef, Maegan Rasmussen “cant wait to be making handmade pasta.”