WALLY'S WORLD: Hoping cafe is a rousing success

When I was a little kid the long, narrow building beside Suburban Soul and across Cole Street from the senior center used to be a garage and Goodrich tire shop that my uncle, Joe Semanski, owned and managed. I’ve discussed this business in previous columns and have no desire to describe it again. Suffice to say, it was the noisiest place I’d ever been in and the loud clang of sledgehammers against iron wheels actually hurt my young ears and may have caused nerve damage – a condition that, years later, was further aggravated by several rock concerts. (At this stage of my life, it’s a wonder I’m not stone deaf.) But mostly there was the irritating odor of burnt rubber. Indeed, that terrible smell is permanently etched into the deeper recesses of my reptilian mind.

Several years after my uncle drowned in a fishing accident and the tire shop had closed, the rear part of the building facing Railroad Street was reopened, appropriately enough, as a car repair business and Eric’s Auto is there today. However, much to my surprise, the front of the building was remodeled and opened as a restaurant.

In some spooky way, I could never enter that restaurant without detecting the odor of burnt rubber.

At any rate, this café didn’t last long. Then, another restaurant opened there. It also closed. This was followed by yet another, which lasted a year or more before it folder. All together, I think there have been four such unsuccessful diners, but I can’t be certain. I’ve lost count.

It’s as though the building was meant to be a garage and my uncle put a curse on the place.

Nevertheless, unscathed by these past failures, Craig Porria has recently remodeled the place yet again and, along with his chef, Cheryl McGuffin, has opened the Twisted Kitchen. They’re absolutely convinced their new operation will be the one that breaks the chain of flops.

I surely hope so and wish them the best of luck.

Craig is a transplant from Oregon who moved to our region in 1978 and has been here since. For the past 12 years, he’s been a full-time employee with Leaf-Guard Gutters. When I first shook hands with him I had the distinct feeling we’d met somewhere before, but the sensation wasn’t mutual. He’s a friendly, outgoing fellow with a rather unique physical appearance owing to the bandanna wrapped around his head and his large soul patch. He’s participated in four or five TV commercials for his employer, so perhaps that’s where I’ve seen him.

Cheryl is a home-town lady whose parents at one time owned Duke’s Restaurant, if you happen to remember that café. Shortly after graduating from Enumclaw High School, Cheryl moved to Chelan, where she spent the next 20 years cultivating her culinary interests. In the course of that pursuit, she developed her skills for making pastry and, in particular, she created a truly excellent cinnamon roll. Be that as it may, most of her culinary talent isn’t channeled towards such high-caloric, super-rich delights. Instead, she prefers light, healthy fare and prepares most of her sandwiches, soups, and salads from scratch. Toward this end, she offers a wide variety of breakfast dishes that are available all day and a lunch menu that includes Italian and American sandwiches and Greek and Italian salads. The place promotes a broad selection of beer and wine and also features various flavored lattés, some of which would nicely compliment a cinnamon roll.   Furthermore, the prices are quite reasonable.

The Twisted Kitchen is open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day and, in case you’d appreciate a little soft music and a glass of vino, from 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday. Cinnamon rolls are available any time of the day or night.


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