Photo by Zachariah Bryan
B&O Espresso Owner Jane Lukatah has baked all her life, and now, after 37 years on Capitol Hill, she is sharing her desserts with the Ballard community.

After 37 years on Capitol Hill, B&O Espresso now serving desserts in Ballard

After 37 years in Capitol Hill, B&O Espresso is now serving its beloved desserts in Ballard at 5404 Leary Ave NW, across the Ballard Landmark.

One neighborhood's sad loss is another's very joyous gain.

What's more, despite early rumors that the arrangement would be temporary, Owner Jane Lukatah said she might be here to stay -- at least, for the foreseeable future.

When asked if she would be leaving, she said, “I don’t think so. I’m not really looking forward to move back. It’s a lot of work. I’m really happy here so far.”

B&O Espresso's new location is considerably smaller than the old one, which was demolished for a new development. Whereas the Capitol Hill location could seat 125 people and had two huge kitchens, one for baking and one for cooking, the Ballard location only seats 24 and has one modest kitchen.

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Location is smaller, but desserts are still just as good./Photo by Zachariah Bryan

Still, Lukatah said she enjoys the new spot. She said it's a lot like how she started out in 1976, when she opened the very first coffee and pastry place in Capitol Hill.

"I opened B&O in 1976 after I had been living in Europe for little over a year. When I came back to Seattle I realized that what was missing was a pastry and coffeehouse," Lukatah said. "At that time all Seattle really offered was taverns. Since I wasn’t a drinker I didn’t really want to go to taverns. You couldn’t go into a restaurant and say I want a coffee and a piece of cake. No, restaurants were restaurants."

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B&O built their reputation on their desserts./Photo by Zachariah Bryan

Thus, B&O was born. "This was a place you could go into in the evening. You didn’t have to have a beer. You could have a coffee and a tea and a pastry,” she said.

Her husband, who is Arabic, had expanded the original B&O into a full breakfast, lunch and dinner place. But the Ballard location is a return to the basics, offering coffee, desserts and appetizers.

Oh, and crepes. Both sweet and savory. Lukatah is excited about that.

"I’ve always wanted to do it, but just didn’t have the opportunity to do it (in Capitol Hill)," she said. And then she said, with a smile, “I love crepes.”

So far, B&O has been well received by the Ballard community.

“It's really positive," she said. "Seems like everybody’s happy to have us here, wishes us well."

One customer who came in exclaimed, "I can't believe we get to have this now!"

Indeed, Lukatah said many made the trip from Capitol Hill to revisit. Moreover, old customers had moved from the hill to Ballard and were excited to see B&O make the move, too. One such customer said she had her wedding cake made by B&O over twenty years ago.

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If a wedding cake doesn't suit you, how about a tuxedo cake?/Photo by Zachariah Bryan

Lukatah is no stranger to Ballard, either. She is a lifelong Seattleite and she lived in the neighborhood off and on when she was a child. She said she was well aware of the changes in the neighborhood.

"When I was growing up, Ray’s boathouse was a boathouse,” she said. "We would buy worms there."

For Lukatah, the new Ballard location is just a continuation of her lifelong commitment to baking. When asked at what age she started baking, she said without flinching:

"When I was three. It’s true. I baked my whole life. That’s all they gave me for Christmas presents were these little baking kits ... I baked forever."

And if you're wondering, the German chocolate cake is still delicious. But we went with the espresso mousse torte.

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Lead Reporter and Web Editor Zachariah Bryan ate every last bite./Photo by Zachariah Bryan

B&O Espresso is located at 5404 Leary Ave NW and is open Mon.-Thurs. 7 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri. 7 a.m.-11 p.m., Sat. 9 a.m.-11 p.m. and Sun. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. For more info, visit http://b-oespresso.com/

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