Bistro changes hands

Armed with a combined decade of culinary experience and a shrewd entrepreneurial acumen, three local young men are bringing big city food to downtown Oak Harbor.

Seth McKee, Adam Hand, and Mike Kummerfeldt recently purchased Dave’s Bistro on Pioneer Way. Although the restaurant will be renamed BayCity Bistro, the ambiance that Dave Wilson cultivated over the years will be more than intact.

“We want to fine-tune what Dave started,” Kummerfeldt said.

The co-owner of Bayside Lounge, Kummerfeldt literally found his business partners in the kitchen. McKee is head chef at Bayside and Hand carries the sous chef duties.

When the trio heard that Dave’s was up for sale, they jumped at the opportunity.

“I knew what it looked like in here and after I spoke to the real estate agent, we came in and looked at it, saw the numbers and decided to put an offer on it,” said the 29-year-old McKee.

Kummerfeldt, 23, will continue to devote the bulk of his time to running Bayside, but the chefs are moving up the street to their new restaurant.

“We can reach a whole new demographic here,” McKee said.

With plans to help revitalize downtown Oak Harbor, the business owners wanted to get into the action as the commercial boom approaches.

“With all the plans for downtown, we want to be here as it’s happening and add to all of it,” McKee said. “I think now is the right time to get in down here.”

Aesthetically, the new owners consider BayCiy Bistro almost perfect. The only changes that the already large and loyal customer base will notice are new tables and chairs. And espresso. And of course a new menu.

“For example, for breakfast we’ll be offering a smoked salmon goat cheese omelet,” McKee said. “For lunch we’ll have a Napa chicken sandwich with apple chips and for dinner the menu will include a 24-ounce rib eye steak.”

Great food at reasonable prices has become the business owners’ mantra. Entrees will range in price from $6 to $20.

“We’re so excited,” said McKee, a graduate of the Art Institute of Seattle’s culinary arts program and the former sous chef at Christopher’s on Whidbey in Coupeville, which was named Christopher’s Front Street Cafe during the chef’s tenure. “We want to bring great quality food to Oak Harbor; big city food. Food you can buy in Seattle in Oak Harbor for reasonable prices.”

Dave’s Bistro was not merely a place to drop in for sustenance, it was a place for friends to congregate and chew the proverbial fat. BayCity Bistro will continue the tradition.

“We don’t want the 15-minute turnover tables,” McKee said. “We want the people to be here for an hour, have a glass of wine, have a good meal, have a dessert.”

“A good dining experience,” said the 23-year-old Hand.

Dave Wilson has put his faith in the young men. When the business opens Friday he will visit his longtime establishment and help introduce the new owners to the public.

Opening any business is a daunting process, especially for three young, albeit experienced and confident, young men. One would assume nerves come into play. But one would be wrong making that assumption.

“I would say we’re not very nervous because we’re very confident in our abilities to present a good meal,” said Kummerfeldt, who has already proven himself with the success of Bayside Lounge.

McKee and Hand will be slaving away at the bistro, but they are now looking to complete the team with wait staff. Prospective employees can reach McKee at 720-1881.

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