If you’ve visited downtown Astoria recently, you’ve likely noticed the new coat of bright, purple paint adorning the Odd Fellows Building off 10th Street.
Amidst the restoration and repainting of the building, a new café opened its doors. The first week of October marked the soft opening of Green Door Café, a charming eatery tucked inside the building.
At the café, modified and specialized diets are normalized. Owners Andrea Mazzarella, Kendall Padgett-McEuen and Wade Padgett-McEuen craved a restaurant where they could “eat with impunity,” Kendall Padgett-McEuen said.
“My husband, my best friend and I have all had dietary restrictions,” Kendall Padgett-McEuen said. “What we offer is fresh pressed, cold pressed juices, paleo options, keto options, vegan and vegetarian. Everything in our restaurant is gluten free, grain free.”
The café has primarily offered to-go food options because of coronavirus restrictions. Though the space is on the smaller side, there are two seating areas inside and several tables outside the building that were used until the state’s most recent COVID-19 dining restrictions limited restaurants to take-out only.
While running a café is a first for the team, they are not new to the food service industry.
“Wade has been a chef since he was a teenager. I have been in the service industry as well since I was a teenager. Cumulatively, we probably have over 40 years of experience,” Kendall Padgett-McEuen said.
Kendall and Wade work together in the storefront six days a week.
“We’re a two-person operation every day. He does all the cooking, all the baking,” Kendall Padgett-McEuen said.
Mazzarella works as a local real estate agent and co-owns the Odd Fellows Building with her mother, Nancy Mazzarella-Tisch, and Jessamyn Grace West. Her work experience includes starting the Good Bowl food truck with Olaf Ydstie, who now runs the truck on his own.
Pandemic brings opportunity
In a twist of fate, the coronavirus pandemic’s effects are what transitioned the café from dream to reality for the trio. Wade Padgett-McEuen and Kendall Padgett McEuen lost their jobs in March when Carruthers closed. After connecting with Mazzarella, the trio decided the café would replace Downtown Coffee Shop, which closed earlier this year.
“It’s such a labor of love and it’s kind of surreal in this moment that it’s finally come to fruition,” Kendall Padgett-McEuen said. “It’s been in the works for the better part of a decade … I find it ironic that it took a devastating blow to the world, with everything going on, that prompted us to step up and do a thing. The three of us are all quirky enough to try to do this right now.”
The owners are happy with the community support they’ve seen in the first few weeks.
“We’ve had really incredibly supportive, loving, encouraging customers, friends and family, which for first-time business owners is really welcome,” Kendall Padgett -McEuen said.
On the menu
Green Door Café serves coffee from Café Mam, a company in Eugene that sources organic, fair trade, shade-grown coffee. For a bite to eat, the café offers grab-and-go breakfast foods and baked goods, like “eggy bites,” muffins and pumpkin pie.
“One thing that’s been affirming and awesome is that everyone has their own niche,” Kendall Padgett-McEuen said. “A lot of people are excited to eat baked goods again because of their keto or paleo lifestyle. It’s hard to find around here.”
Since opening, the lunch menu has featured meals like Korean short rib tacos, along with soups, salads and sides. Both the cauliflower stir fry and tacos have been big hits with lunch customers, Kendall Padgett-McEuen said. Both menu items are adaptable to many diets and dietary restrictions.
“The cauliflower stir fry is a riced cauliflower, which is chopped up so it really does resemble rice, with butternut squash, spinach, house-made vegan pesto, pecans and marinated mushrooms,” Kendall Padgett-McEuen said. “The meal is vegan but you can add a side of beef, or andouille sausage, or tempeh.”
The café also features a display case of fresh, cold-pressed juices. The cafe’s signature juices are Green Drink, Sunshine Splash and Pink Crush. Green Drink is “a best seller ... hopefully helping people get veggies in their diet;” Sunshine Splash is an orange-based “accessible juice for people new to cold-pressed juices;” and Pink Crush is “a nice energetic pop of color in your mouth,” Kendall Padgett-McEuen said.
The café also features large jars of house-made kimchi for sale. The kimchi is regularly used on the café’s tacos.