Red Cedar Café – the love of food and music
For most chefs, opening your own restaurant is a life-long dream. Taking the leap in the height of the pandemic is harrowing, but not impossible.
When chef and life-long foodie, Wesley Blain, noticed the empty space in the Winslow Green that formerly housed the Good Egg restaurant, he began to think about his dream of opening up his own restaurant. However, with a pandemic in full swing, and the need of a business partner to help him get things started, the odds were against him. Cue Alan Simcoe, local musician and luthier, and the father of Wesley’s partner, Marissa.
Wesley grew up on Bainbridge Island and throughout North Kitsap, and spent much of his adult career working as a chef and in various positions in restaurants throughout Bainbridge Island and the greater Kitsap County. His culinary skills are mostly self-taught, having worked with amazing chefs at local restaurants such as Café Nola, The Four Swallows and others in North Kitsap, as well as catering for celebrities in Southern California and as head chef for the VIP tent at the USGA 2015 US Open at Chambers Bay. He’s worked in several positions, including kitchen manager, and attributes much of his successes in the culinary field to the wonderful mentorship he received along the way.
His idea was simple enough. He wanted to create unique sandwiches using his own house-made condiments, homemade soups and delicious salads.
Alan, knowing Wesley’s culinary talents and determination, saw it as a dual opportunity, combine fine food with great music. Although the musical aspect of their dream would have to wait a bit, they opened the Red Cedar Café in September 2020, initially as a take-out only lunch venue. As restrictions from the pandemic began to lift, they expanded to outdoor service in the patio and limited indoor service.
Wesley creates all his own sauces, mayo, mustards and au jus, and uses a short-term pickling technique for his onions and cucumbers, which give his sandwiches their unique flavor. His most famous dishes include a French Dip sandwich and steak and Andouille chili. In addition, he offers several other sandwiches (the Turkey & Swiss is incredible!) as well as a variety of flatbread delights, pesto linguini and an olive tapenade veggie plate. Wesley’s partner Marissa often arrives early to bake fresh cookies and brownies (note: due to time constraints, those are only available a few days a week). When possible, they source all their food locally, and serve their sandwiches on the freshest Macrina Bakery breads and occasionally source muffins and scones through Macrina as well.
Today, the Red Cedar Café is booming and they’re excited to expand their menu and hours in the near future, offering dinner entrees, fall menu specials and an expanded beverage menu (they currently serve a variety of wines, soft drinks, coffee and tea).
Join them for live music throughout the fall and winter!
Last Sunday of the month, 3pm to 5pm:
Brazilian music of Roda de Choro. Escape to Rio with music from the streets and the heart of Brazil.
Third Friday of the month, 6pm to 8pm:
Sessions at Red Cedar – Guitarist Alan Simcoe and bassist Neil Conaty serve as the house band as they back up featured guest musicians and students. . . and occasionally they will feature themselves!
Like and follow them on Facebook and Instagram (@redcedarcafebainbridge) for more information on upcoming events!
It’s a family affair at the café—you’ll often find Marissa Simcoe and her mother, Debby Simcoe working side-by-side with Wesley and his small kitchen staff to serve up the finest and most delicious foods. In addition to baking and serving customers, Marissa retails a small selection of artistic fair-trade products for the kitchen and home (displays are near the front counter).
Alan and Debby also run Village Music and Alan’s luthier business, to learn more, click here.
Weds – Thurs: 11am-5pm
Fri – Sat: 11am-6pm
140 Winslow Way W.
Bainbridge Island, WA 98110