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Attractive option for getting caffeine fix | Wally's World

Off the top of my head, without actually driving around to make an accurate count, there are at least 10 espresso bars within the Enumclaw city limits. Some are drive-ins, Like Trina’s. Some are part of larger enterprises, like the bars inside City Perk and Mountain Aire Mercantile. Still others are international corporations,. like Starbucks.

Suffice to say, your daily fix of caffeine is readily at hand.

Still, into this rather crowded and, one might presume, saturated market, Arletta VanHoof has the chutzpah to open yet another coffee mill. You know Arletta, don’t you? Being a VanHoof, she’s related, in one abstract way or another, to half the people on the Plateau. She’s tied to me through the first marriage of my grandmother on my father’s side – or something like that.

Anyway, her coffee house is strikingly different from the others around town. For one thing, the Monticello Coffee Bar has more than 2,200 square feet, so there’s plenty of room for friends to sit and talk with a certain amount of privacy, even if the place is crowded with lunch-hour customers.   Initially, the building housed Cascade Bank and then White River Credit Union, before Arletta and her husband bought the site and remodeled. It has a pleasant, quiet kind of atmosphere. Somehow the various conversations going on around me seemed hushed and subdued. People sat on the couches, sipped lattés and read magazines. A couple of fellows plugged in their laptops.

The dominant feature of the decor is the original cast-iron vault – left over from the building’s banking days – and, given its shiny, chrome-plated finish, it’s quite attractive.

The place opens at 6 a.m. weekdays to catch the commuters at the drive-through window. About an hour or so after that, breakfast customers start coming inside for coffee or an espresso and perhaps a morning bagel, croissant or pastry of some type. For lunch, Arletta offers croissant sandwiches and paninis with a wide selection of ingredients, including herb roasted turkey, Italian salami, various cheeses and pesto. There are also chef, Caesar and Santa Fe salads and a special soup for each day of the week. If coffee isn’t your favorite lunchtime beverage, assorted teas, wines, and beers –most of which I’ve never heard of but would certainly like to try – are also available. On warm afternoons, there’s a selection of cold drinks like smoothies, iced espressos and teas, and Italian soda.

I asked Arletta if she stored anything inside the huge vault.

“But, of course,”  she happily replied. “We keep our money in there!” Then she playfully smiled and added, “This business is more profitable than you might think!”

Apparently so.

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