Interesting tidbit on the Endive Eatery, the new cafe-style restaurant in West Richland: aside from the sign on the building and various signage inside, there isn’t an endive to be found in the place. Yet.
Chef and owner Edward Shoemaker is a big fan of the bitter, pricey little vegetable. It’s a key ingredient in chicory coffee, and it’s huge in Belgium – both of which hold a special place in his heart.
However, the endive has to be imported and has a shelf life of four or five days at most.
So the lemony-seared endive dish is still a ways off.
Not to worry, there are still plenty of intricate offerings — sweet potato, zucchini, crimini mushroom, tomato and relish vegetable torte, anyone?
“It’s where fine dining meets grab’n’go,” Edward said.
The Eatery, which opened Oct. 21 at 4001 Kennedy Road, shares the building with a pizza shop and a yoga studio, among others.
It’s open weekdays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., though there is no guarantee the display case will have anything left later in the evening.
A dining area can seat up to 40 customers. The interior features a counter with the kitchen area behind and a glass-fronted case with the day’s offerings.
Edward, 33, comes in about an hour before he opens and begins cooking food that will be portioned and displayed in the case. There are no paper or digital menus – just browse the case to see what’s available that day.
After the morning rush peters out, Edward gets back to cooking, offering up new selections for the afternoon and dinner crowd.
The menu is dynamic. On any given day, you might find a roast beef pita with curried yogurt, cucumber and arugula; sockeye salmon rosti with beetroot relish, herbed goat cheese, arugula, lemon cheeks and fresh dill; a chickpea fusilli with kale, roast tomato, mozzarella and pecorino. Or, for those who don’t know what all that is, a sausage roll.
And for dessert, a cashew-raspberry chocolate chia pot; various scones and other baked goods.
Warning: Don’t go scrolling down the restaurant’s Facebook page (@theendiveeatery) unless you’re ready to get hungry.
There are plenty of vegan and gluten-free offerings, but there’s also plenty of meat and cheese.
And lots and lots of coffees.
“The Tri-Cities has a lot of good coffee, and a lot of good food,” he said, “but rarely does anyone put the two together.”
The menu changes daily depending on what ingredients are on hand and what Edward feels like cooking. But count on four to five salads and a couple soups (gluten free), six sandwiches, six savories (sausage rolls, quiches and the like). And six sweets.
And it’s all made fresh daily.
Coffee will cost between $2.50 and $5. Food starts at $3.90 and ranges up to $15 for the more intricate offerings.
“Our style is to serve good food with creativity that keeps the cooks and staff energized,” Edward said.
The business will employ 2 1/2 people, including Edward (but not officially counting his wife, Claire, a speech pathologist at the Children’s Development Center in Richland who suddenly knows a lot more about the restaurant business than she did a year ago). He’s applied for a beer and wine license.
To date, his advertising is done on social media. Word of mouth also has been effective, as several students from the yoga studio next door made their way over on a recent morning.
Plans are eventually to be open seven days a week. But, he stressed, there is no hurry to push too quickly. Instead, the key is to do what they can do well, and not reach too far too soon.
While this is his first endeavor as a business owner, Edward has an extensive résumé as a chef, including seven years making the rounds in Australia and New Zealand at such food stops as Ten Minutes by Tractor and Dog With Two Tails.
He grew up in the Tri-Cities, graduating from Kennewick High School before heading off to Seattle to major in international studies at the University of Washington.
Along the way, Edward said, it became apparent that an international studies degree isn’t all that great unless you pair it with a law degree or the like.
Edward already had experience around food. He started cooking while he was in Boy Scouts, had fond memories of cooking with his mom and dad, and spent time helping his mom at her cheese shop in Prosser, aptly named Le Grand Fromage.
Also, during a student exchange to Belgium in high school, he expressed an interest in cooking and got his first exposure to classic fine dining.
“It taught me a lot about food, wine, beer and chocolate,” he said laughing.
Back in Seattle, he started working as a line cook and then a sous chef (second in command) for a couple years before deciding to go to Seattle Central Culinary Academy. He also spent time at the Northwest Wine Academy.
Along the way, he figured out he was learning more in the kitchens than he was in culinary school, so he left school and got “paid to learn” on the job.
He went to Victoria, Australia, with a one-year work permit on the country’s Working Holiday Program, an apprentice program for the food industry.
“I worked as a chef,” Edward said. “You move around (to different restaurants), and it gave me a good opportunity to learn. They do things differently.”
After his year was up, Edward moved to New Zealand, continuing to cook and also spending two years managing a vineyard. All the time, he was soaking up the style of restaurant that would inspire the Endive Eatery.
“The cafe-style scene is a lot more vibrant in New Zealand,” he said. “It’s a healthier alternative to fast food.”
In New Zealand, he added, “the drive thru is a foreign concept.”
He came back to the states about 18 months ago, with his mom Alison Bryan battling illness. She died last March.
He did his best to stay in the kitchen, but eventually began working as a server because, with tips, the money was better.
“In this line of work, it’s easy to find something,” he said, “but it’s hard to find something good.”
The answer, it seemed, was to open his own restaurant.
The first key decision was finding a location. That, Edward said, would tell him what kind of restaurant he would open. That way he could service the surrounding neighborhood.
“You pick the location,” he said, “then you figure out what you want to be.”
And, he added, “you cater to local residents before you try to get everybody in town.”
The location – on Kennedy Road near the intersection where Bombing Range Road and turns into Dallas Road – combined with the building space meant cafe-style, he said.
He signed the lease Sept. 13, and some six weeks later the Endive Eatery was open for business.
“A lot of used equipment, and a lot of help from people in the industry,” Edward said of the quick turnaround.
“We were extremely lucky in many ways,” he added. “The minute we needed something, it was like, ‘There it is!’ ”
Startup costs were around $25,000, which Edward and Claire were able to fund themselves, with help from some money left to him by his mom.
“As a guy with a backpack and some knives, it’s hard to convince someone with money to give it to you,” he joked.
“It’s a risk,” he added. “But I wouldn’t have done what I did without (Claire’s) support and the experience I have in this industry.
“But it’s paid off so far.”
Endive Eatery: 4001 Kennedy Road, West Richland;
Daily and Monthly NewsSign up now!