EVERETT — I wanted to delay going back to the office after a recent assignment downtown with Herald news producer Sue Misao.
I knew just the place. I pulled into CafeWorks on Broadway.
“Their coffee is so cheap and so good,” I told Sue. “And I’ve been wanting to try their sandwiches. And they have a bunch of cool stuff to look at.”
Sue said she needed to get back to the office, but she agreed. She didn’t have a choice. I was driving.
CafeWorks is a bright and cheery place. The worker at the counter stopped what she was doing to greet us with a smile. Several of the tables were occupied with people drinking coffee, chatting and reading.
This is not a typical coffee shop. It is a remarkable coffee shop.
CafeWorks partners with Housing Hope and Cocoon House to provide job training for homeless and at-risk youth and young adults to gain skills in the food service industry to get employment.
The cafe has two dozen coffee flavors, pastries, yogurt parfait, wraps and more.
There were five sandwich choices that all sounded good: ham, turkey, bacon, roast beef and vegetarian.
“Order one of each,” Sue said.
So I did.
She later said she was joking, but it sounded like a good plan to me.
Our coffees were done in a jiffy, but the food took time. Each sandwich was made to order in a panini press. This provided ample time for us to wander the aisles of interesting items for sale under the same roof in a larger area of the store.
Dining sets. Antiques. Mirrors. Magazine racks. Curio cabinets. Curios such as a pink ceramic parrot. I admired the plum leather sofa for $400 and a stenciled end table that was $40.
This is not a typical thrift store.
ReNewWorks Home and Decor, also part of the HopeWorks social enterprise, helps homeless and low-income people move into the retail/resale industry.
Items are also sold online, so you don’t have to come in — but you should come in. My 16-ounce latte was delicious and only $3.
Drink coffee. Shop. Eat.
Does it get any better than that?
“Although it took forever for the sandwiches to be made, at least there were a lot of things to look at while we waited,” Sue said.
We took the grub back to the office.
Four of the sandwiches had names:
There’s “The Pilchuck,” with Black Forest ham, Dijon mustard and Swiss cheese on French bread ($7.95). “The Baker” has thick cut bacon, romaine lettuce and mayo on French bread ($7.95). “The Rainier” is roasted turkey breast, red onion, romaine lettuce and herb mayo on sourdough bread ($7.95). “The Cam” has hummus, balsamic vinegar, Swiss cheese, sliced apple, jalapeno, red onion and black olives on sourdough bread ($6.95). The roast beef was just called the roast beef ($7.95).
The sandwiches were cut in half, so that made it easy to try a variety.
I devoured the roast beef that was piled with tasty meat on bread toasted just right.
It was filling, but I was beckoned by the bacon of the “The Baker.” It was equally delish.
Sue nabbed the other half of “The Baker.”
“It was very good bacon, very bacony,” she said.
“Also, the people were so friendly. I left my coat there and had to drive back to get it, and the woman at the counter had stashed it in the back room and she said, ‘I knew you’d be back.’ I like a sandwich/furniture shop that saves your forgotten coat for you.”
Here’s what other colleagues said:
Ben Watanabe snagged half of “The Rainier.”
“Panini marks on the bread meant only good things, and the first bite (and each one after) delivered,” he said. “A hot sandwich should have crunchy bread, melted cheese, crisp lettuce and other vegetables, and implore me to keep biting. This one did that.”
Chuck Taylor tried “The Cam.”
“I didn’t know what was in it,” he said. “Whatever it was, it was zesty. I liked it.”
Sara Bruestle had the other halves of “The Rainier” and the roast beef. She liked the zing of red onion on the roasted turkey and the tang of the spicy mustard on the roast beef.
“There’s something very appealing about grill marks on a sandwich,” she said. “Paninis raise the bar for lunch.”
Online reviewers give CafeWorks good marks for service and food.
We scored some pretty rad sandwiches.
CafeWorks: 3331 Broadway, Everett; 425-512-0343; www.hopewrks.org. Hours are 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Closed weekends.
ReNewWorks Home and Decor: 3331 Broadway, Everett; 425-404-3462; www.renewwrks.com. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.