When Jennifer Miller opened The Blend Café in the New Caldonia building downtown, it was a moment of (well thought out!) spontaneity.
Having worked in restaurants and property management for most of her professional life, she’d considered opening her own shop but never actually went looking for the right space or concept.
In February 2013, that all changed. She explains, “In December, my husband and I were visiting at Marchetti Wines, in the New Caldonia building, the gal who previously occupied the cafe space was retiring, and without any discussion, we just said ‘we’ll take it!’ The following week we were signing the lease!”
Thus The Blend Cafe was born and Olympia has been daily wowed by Jennifer’s creativity, market-fresh approach, and unique taste combinations.
Jennifer explains she came up with the name ‘The Blend Cafe’ because she has a ‘blended’ family with two children from her previous marriage, and one from her husband, all ‘blending’ into one loving family.
In addition, she has always felt that she was a ‘blend’ of her two sisters, in both personality and appearance. And, since The Blend Cafe serves tea and coffee ‘blends’ as well as unique ‘blends’ of food tastes….”The BLEND Cafe just made sense to me”.
Open Tuesday through Friday from 11:00 am—2:00 pm, Jennifer, her sister Sandy, and their friend Staci create a new menu daily of soups, salads, sandwiches, and desserts. Jennifer creates the majority of their recipes and 95% of her creations are invented “on the spot…sometimes on the way to the grocery store,” explains Jennifer.
The freshest ingredients are used in each day’s unique menu, stressing local and seasonal products. Their desserts are vibrant and are artistically displayed amidst lovely linens and fresh flower bouquets. Unique pairings like bourbon+bacon brownies or roast beef+brie grilled sandwiches tempt passersby into their centrally located cafe.
Occasionally she’ll offer a themed menu or offerings to match the weather. Weeks featuring wraps, cheeses, desserts, or bacon (hooray!) compliment chilled soups in hot weather or TGIF specials. Each Friday is Chowder day…although never clam chowder, they experiment with unique combinations each week, such as the creative black forest ham and Cougar Gold chowder.
The Blend Cafe works closely with the other downtown merchants and has enjoyed participating in events like Arts Walk and Girls Night Out. Jennifer states that “all the businesses in the New Caldonia work together to schedule events where we can all be open and reap the rewards from the exposure to new guests and shoppers. It’s a true benefit to The Blend Cafe to be surrounded by all of the wonderful shops in the New Caldonia Building. And, to be right here next to the Olympia Downtown Association is quite simply better than I could have hoped for!”
Aside from their bustling lunch schedule, The Blend has a thriving private event and delivery business as well.
Located within a beautifully appointed atrium, they host bridal showers, business meetings, celebrations, high teas, and groups ranging from 4-75+. They have often pair with neighbors Marchetti Wines for tastings, and are always on the lookout for new opportunities. The Blend Cafe will be the sole dessert vendor at the Olympia Brew Fest at the Port of Olympia and in November, Jennifer will be teaching a class at Bayview School of Cooking.
The Blend Café is truly an original Olympia gem. Reachable at (360) 754-2184 for events or with questions, Jennifer Miller shares her passion that “food is an event! It’s a time to celebrate tastes, and the company of those you care about. It brings me great joy to create food, and to take care of and feed others.”
116 – 5th Ave SW
Olympia, WA 98501
Open Tuesday – Friday from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm plus special events