Photo by Zachariah Bryan
Marisa Tanji will be running Ampersand in Greenwood, which is opening next week

Ampersand, a place like home

Greenwood will be getting a new coffee place. And a pastry place. And a sandwich and soup place. And a place to buy local produce. And a specialty item place. And a place where you can just let loose and hang out on comfy couches.

Appropriately, this new, all-in-one place is called Ampersand (located on 424 N. 85th St., Suite 1) and it hopes to be more than just your typical coffee place. It hopes to be all of the above.

It’s owned by the married couple and business duo Marisa Tanji and Daryl Waits, who own Slices, the pizza place on Alki which has become rather popular during the summer season.

Now, Tanji will be commandeering Ampersand in Greenwood when it opens next week (conveniently just 10 blocks away from her house) while her husband runs the business back in Alki.

Recently, Tanji graduated from college with a degree in Graphic Design -- a skill which is showcased in Ampersand’s logo -- and was a pastry chef at Washington Athletic Club for four years, while also working at Slices. Needless to say, she was busy, but now she is able to focus most all her attention on Ampersand.

People can expect the food to be more than the cake pops and oatmeal cookies found at the local Starbucks. Tanji and Waits are both experienced cooks and they will be showcasing their talent at Ampersand.

“Daryl gets a big kick out of making everything himself and I get the benefit of enjoying it” Tanji said.

Tanji said that they will bring fresh food and pastries up from the kitchen at Slices every morning, so the food will be made fresh. They prefer to have everything self-made rather than getting their food from elsewhere, she said.

“To me everything tastes better when it’s homemade,” she said. “You taste the love you know?”

In addition, Tanji said she likes to buy local and will be featuring locally sourced food in their ingredients. She will be partnering with Frank’s Produce from Pike Place Market for their ingredients. Tanji said she hopes she can spread an appreciation for local food within the community.

The coffee, too, will be unique. Since Tanji was born and raised in Hawaii, she said that Ampersand will be featuring Hawaiian coffee. She has been working with Ballard-based Seven Roasters Coffee and Keala’s Coffee to accomplish this.

“There’s been so much hype around Hawaiin Coffee,” said Eric Tauscher, who works with Keala’s and is a coffee consultant for Ampersand. “It’s a very delicious coffee, I don’t know how to explain it.”

While Keala’s Hawaiian Coffee is available at several stores, including Sunset Hill Green Market and Ken’s Market in Greenwood, Ampersand will be one of the only, if not only cafes to feature the coffee.

Tauscher said the coffee gives a warming sensation, a sense of being back in Hawaii -- like being at home.

Indeed -- with the atmosphere, the décor, the food, the coffee, even the furniture -- that is the feeling Ampersand resonates to anyone who walks through the door; a sense of being at home.

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