People walk along the waterfront in front of South Fork Bakery at the Port of Everett on Thursday, April 11, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

People walk along the waterfront in front of South Fork Bakery at the Port of Everett on Thursday, April 11, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Port of Everett inks deal with longtime Bothell restaurant

The port will break ground on two new buildings this summer. Slated for completion next year, Alexa’s Cafe will open in one of them.

EVERETT — The Port of Everett has already leased most of the space in two waterfront buildings that have yet to be built.

But recently, space became available when one of the tenants terminated their lease.

On Tuesday, the port approved a 10-year lease for Alexa’s Cafe, a longtime Bothell staple. The American homestyle restaurant will move in once the building, a stone’s throw from South Fork Bakery, is complete.

The monthly rent for the 2,400-square-foot restaurant and patio will be about $9,240 a month, port spokesperson Kate Anderson said.

Alexa’s will occupy a space previously reserved for Hamilton Cellars. Hamilton, a winery based in southeast Washington, signed a 10-year lease for space last year, but “unfortunately, the owner passed away recently,” Anderson said.

She said the cafe will be near the future Tapped Public House, Rustic Cork Wine Bar and Menchie’s.

The port will begin accepting construction bids in June for the two new buildings, located just south of Fisherman Jack’s restaurant and South Fork Bakery. Together, they will add another 21,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space. An adjacent parking area for 78 vehicles is part of the project.

Alexa’s is targeting a mid-2025 opening date, said owner and founder Leigh Henderson.

Leigh Henderson, founder and owner of Alexa’s Cafe. (Photo provided by Leigh Henderson)

Leigh Henderson, founder and owner of Alexa’s Cafe. (Photo provided by Leigh Henderson)

Henderson plans to call it Alexa’s Cafe Everett, and like its 29-year-old Bothell counterpart, it will offer breakfast and lunch, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., seven days a week, she said.

The fare will be similar. The menu includes eggs, pancakes and French toast for breakfast, with burgers, sandwiches, tacos and quesadillas for lunch.

“We’ll do the same thing in Everett as we do in Bothell,” she said. “That’s our core.”

Henderson said port officials approached her about opening a restaurant at the waterfront.

“The port actually came to us,” she said. She was happy to step aboard.

“A friend’s son owns The Sisters Restaurant, and they’re very impressed with what’s going on in downtown Everett,” Henderson said.

Catherine Soper, the port’s business development said the port had been working to add “a breakfast spot at Waterfront Place to round out the mix of dining options at the waterfront. “Alexa’s Cafe is a great addition to the Port’s ‘restaurant row,” Soper said in an email.

Henderson also operates Alexa’s Cafe at Molbak’s in Woodinville, but with the garden store’s closure in January, the cafe at that location will close at some point, she said. The cafe closure wouldn’t be affected by the potential comeback that Molbak’s owners announced Thursday.

In 2021, the Port of Everett promised new faces and new flavors at the waterfront. The plan included construction of new retail and restaurant space.

The Port of Everett Commission has authorized two new 15-year leases with local restaurateur The Way Group Hospitality LLC to open two new restaurants at Waterfront Place: Tapped Public House and The Net Sheds, a new fish and chips restaurant with a year-round fish market. (Photo provided by The Port of Everett)

The Port of Everett Commission has authorized two new 15-year leases with local restaurateur The Way Group Hospitality LLC to open two new restaurants at Waterfront Place: Tapped Public House and The Net Sheds, a new fish and chips restaurant with a year-round fish market. (Photo provided by The Port of Everett)

Late that year, the port broke ground on the first building in Restaurant Row, as it was dubbed.

Completed last year, Fisherman Jack’s and South Fork Bakery moved in and opened their doors.

The port’s new epicurean corridor is off to a good start, locals say.

Julie Follett, a Stanwood resident who works in Everett, is always game to pick up her mom and grab lunch at the port.

Fisherman Jack’s is a favorite spot, said Follett, who walked along the boardwalk Wednesday with her mom. She’s excited about the new cafe coming in.

“This is going to be like the Mill Creek Town Center,” Follett said, referring to the popular retail center that opened in the 2000s, featuring shop-lined streets and public plazas.

Robin Vanlandingham is another frequent visitor who turns up “once a week to walk and grab food.”

Vanlandingham welcomes the port’s new look — from the new Waterfront Place Apartments to the Grand Avenue pedestrian bridge. Now, she looks forward to even more dining choices.

“We bring out of town guests here to show off Everett,” she said.

Other walkers recalled a port of another era.

“This was not a nice place,” said Randy Schwardt, who grew up in Everett. “It’s amazing what they’ve done here.”

Henderson launched Alexa’s Cafe, named after her daughter, in 1995. The girl was 8 months old. Now her daughter runs the restaurant group’s Mukilteo-based catering business, Henderson said.

“I’m looking forward to being in Everett,” she said. “It’s at a tipping point.”

Janice Podsada: 425-339-3097; jpodsada@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @JanicePods.

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