Aster Coffee Lounge to reopen as Toast Ballard Friday, Aug. 30
The original headline proposed for this article by Ballard News-Tribune Columnist Peggy Sturdivant was "Aster is Toast."
But, even if quite literal, that might have been initially too confusing for readers.
The fact is, five years after it opened in 2008, Aster Coffee Lounge is no more. This Friday, at 7 p.m., it will reopen as Toast Ballard (5615 24th Ave NW). And to open up in style, they will be kicking things off with a party, including beer and wine specials and music by Ballard resident Drew Piston.
Owner Frank Trevino said the name is multi-faceted, "a little homage to the neighborhood." It's a toast to Ballard. Toast, like toasting drinks. And toast as in, uh, toast.
Toast Ballard is completely revamping what Aster used to be. The new owners Trevino and Ashley Bucenec bought the establishment back in April and have had trouble living up to the Aster image. While they tried to stick to it for a while, "the rep got a little hurt," Trevino said.
The original owner, Beth Scribner, opened Aster in 2008 and had developed a following for her quality coffee, food and the lounge environment that had made so many people feel at home.
But ever since she left -- life interrupted and she had a baby -- the lounge has had trouble retaining its original character. As Trevino noted, it was her project, not his.
"It's hard to live up someone else's brainchild business when you know it's not your own thing. So we decided to make that stop," he said.
So now, change is uh-coming.
Toast Ballard, currently in the liquor license application phase, will be offering cocktails, will feature coffee from Slate Coffee and Conduit Coffee and a fancier food list. The couple of the food items Trevino mentioned were red wine mushrooms and open-faced sandwiches.
Trevino comes from a modest restaurant background. He first worked as a Whole Foods cook and moved on to several small, family-owned restaurants and businesses. The last place he worked at was the popular Portage Bay Cafe.
Trevino said he just moved to Ballard from Green Lake over the summer and is excited to be part of the neighborhood. Not that he's any stranger to Ballard. Back when he was younger, he said, "I pretty much grew up here with the friends I knew in Ballard."
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