Central Cafe & Juice Bar – Turning Lemons into Lemonade

Central Cafe & Juice Bar – Turning Lemons into Lemonade

An Unforeseeable Opening Year

Central Cafe celebrated their first birthday this past January, after a truly unforeseeable opening year. Many small businesses were shuttered by the cascading disasters of a global pandemic, but Bridgette had a lot of luck and a lot of love to keep her going. “We were preserved through this pandemic by the love and support of our community. We could’ve never made it without them.”

Community is at the heart of Bridgette’s cafe, a cozy spot nestled in a 1920’s brick building in Seattle’s Central District, a mostly residential neighborhood located east of downtown and First Hill. She grew up in this small, bustling neighborhood and attended the local high school, now a quick walk from her shop. Her dream was to recreate a space she remembered from her childhood, a local corner store where, as she puts it, “the owner knew us, so we wouldn’t act up.” Even before the pandemic, she could see that people in her neighborhood were becoming increasingly isolated and depressed. She wanted to get back to a time when neighbors knew and looked after each other. She truly believes, “We need those community spaces where everyone is welcome.”

And at Central Cafe, everyone is. Step through the bright orange door and you’re greeted by a vibrant, colorful mural of the word “Welcome” surrounded by fruits and flowers. The space is filled with real flowers as well, provided by a local business that had been forced from their usual spot at Pike Place Market by Covid-19. Bridgette partners with many local artists and vendors to keep her shelves stocked and her community strong. Her warmth is the kind of fire that lights all the candles around her and makes the whole neighborhood shine a little brighter.


None of it happened overnight, of course. Bridgette spent 12 years in the food industry, where she watched, worked, and learned. She filed away ideas in her mind, noting what worked and what could be improved, dreaming of her own space. There were endless challenges and obstacles in her path, from finding the funding she needed to the real work of transforming an old barbecue joint in an even older building into an eco-conscious cafe and community hub for the future. And then, out of nowhere, a global pandemic. Central Cafe’s success, despite everything, is a testament to Bridgette’s strength and to the value of the space she built for the neighborhood. The community saw something special, and they weren’t about to let it go without a fight.

Today, coffee is just the tip of the iceberg on an ever evolving menu. Her focus is on fast, healthy choices that are, first and foremost, completely delicious. As she says, “I love creating tasty, healthy food because no one likes healthy food that tastes bad!” She loves experimenting with new twists on old favorites, like vegan jambalaya, but you can always count on her flagship smoothies and fresh juices to brighten your day.

With hot coffee to wake you up and cool cocktails to start your night, Central Cafe is hopping from dawn until dusk and beyond. Bridgette is beyond particular about whom she works with and we, at Fulcrum, are incredibly humbled and grateful to be a small part of the remarkable story of Central Cafe and Bakery.


Read more about Bridgette and her community here on the South Seattle Emerald.


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