Coupeville Wharf gets a Vietnamese twist

Kim's Cafe owner Kim Sittner prepares a meal at her new restaurant.
— image credit: Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times

After spending years selling salad rolls at local farmers markets, Kim and Randy Sittner are making the move into a more traditional, sit-down restaurant.

The Greenbank couple recently took over the restaurant out at the Coupeville Wharf and renamed it Kim's Cafe.

The started their new venture in time to participate in the Penn Cove Mussel Festival, which took place the first weekend in March. In its first year competing in the highly competitive mussel chowder competition, Kim's Cafe placed third.

Vietnamese food is the backbone of the restaurant, however. In addition the Sittners' popular salad rolls with a peanut sauce, which they sold for six years at the Greenbank and Bayview farmers markets, they are also specializing in cooking pho, which is a beef and chicken noodle soup.

Randy Sittner said he and Kim have been looking for a restaurant to operate for some time. While they were on a cruise, the Sittners heard through a friend that the cafe on the historic Coupeville Wharf may become available.

"We've been looking for something that's at the right place, at the right time," Randy Sittner said. They considered a spot above the Greenbank Store, but didn't want to compete too closely with a similar restaurant that opened recently in Bayview.

The Sittners took over the restaurant from long-time Coupeville Harbormaster Long Bechard. She said managing the restaurant, along with her duties as harbormaster and operating the gift shop, were too much work.

The Sittners are the third operators of the restaurant at the end of the Coupeville Wharf. The restaurant several years ago was known as the Harborside Cafe. Unfortunately, it went out of business and Bechard, who had operated the restaurant for years previously, took over the spot again.

She helped Sittners for a couple of weeks during the transition.

While the restaurant change comes at a time the economy is struggling, Randy Sittner said the 50-seat eatery has an established clientele. There are also plans to expand the restaurant by offering breakfast and he's applying for a beer and wine permit.

Kim's Cafe is open Wednesdays through Mondays from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

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