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Women in the Workplace: Bryant Corner Café and Bakery

This blog serves as the start of my summer series to highlight women in the workplace. And what better place to start than a recent farewell lunch to honor my intern: the most ambitious Kate Sibley of the University of Washington. We chose the Bryant Corner Café and Bakery, 3118 Northeast 65th Street, co-owned by Sara Swanson, as it remains a Bryant Neighborhood icon and is a scant two blocks from the home my folks bought years ago when our family arrived in Seattle.

With our intern Kate in front of the Bryant Corner Café and Bakery

With our intern Kate in front of the Bryant Corner Café and Bakery

In those days, the café was a drugstore. The high shelves that circle the dining room were filled with nostrums in the days when it was Bursten’s Pharmacy. Today the building has been transformed into the sweetest smelling bakery and café. Look out for the home-made loaves, the giant cinnamon rolls and, oh, those plum, delicious fruit-filled cookies.

I had a chance to chat with Sara about her childhood in the neighborhood. She told me the story about her first experiences at the pharmacy—long before she became the cafe co-owner. She used to come in, and since in the old days you could put everything on store credit, would buy candy for her entire second grade class—that is until her dad got the bill.

She also told of the more recent time when the power went out on a Seahawks game day. Wearing her jersey, she was adding up bills by hand when a television crew showed up to highlight Bryant’s Seahawks spirit despite the darkness.

These are the types of stories I hope to highlight this summer—simple anecdotes from women who are digging in and keeping Seattle vibrant. Additionally, I will tease what the business has to offer. My lunch companions and I threw caution and calories to the wind and ordered two of the day’s special deserts: a still warm berry cobbler with a rich vanilla ice cream and a slice of key lime pie. As I write, I fancy I can still taste its seductive sour sweetness.

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