Business

Keystone Café offers ferry riders a spot to dine

Chris McDougal, an employee of the Keystone Cafe, scoops ice cream. The restaurant recently opened across the street from the Keystone ferry terminal on Central Whidbey Island.  - Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times
Chris McDougal, an employee of the Keystone Cafe, scoops ice cream. The restaurant recently opened across the street from the Keystone ferry terminal on Central Whidbey Island.
— image credit: Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times

To go with their long waits for the ferry, passengers finally have a place to sit back and enjoy a meal.

The Keystone Cafe, located across the street from the Keystone ferry terminal, has new owners and recently opened its doors.

Originally from Bend, Ore., owner Christy Kellison said she and her husband, Ray, discovered the empty restaurant when they were visiting the island.

“My husband was riding the ferry and thought what a great opportunity,” said Kellison as she worked Wednesday afternoon.

The Keystone Cafe is the couple’s first foray into the restaurant business.

The cafe offers a selection of soups, salads, chowder, beer and wine. They plan to start offering fish and chips later in the year.

The Kellisons purchased the building, which had been vacant for about a year. Since then the family has been sprucing up the interior — new carpet, paint and kitchen equipment.

Christy said the most difficult part of the renovation was commuting from Bend every weekend.

While Christy will be manning the cafe, Ray will continue his work as a commercial fisherman.

She will have some family help at the restaurant, though. Two of her children, Kaylie and Kole, will be working with her.

She and Ray have two other children. Kaprice is a student at Western Washington University and Kody is also a commercial fisherman.

The new restaurant fills a big need at the Keystone terminal. With limited service on the route, food service in the area was seen as a way to ease the effects of long summer waits.

The small Steilacoom II now serves the Keystone to Port Townsend route during a time of the year it’s normally served by two, larger Steel Electric ferries, which were pulled from service. The smaller boat will continue to serve the route until a larger ferry is built in a couple of years.

There was a concession stand operating at the terminal. However, when the Keystone Cafe opened for business, the concession stand closed.

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