INDEX — No bodacious bikini baristas at this coffee stand.
The attraction is a hairy dude with big feet.
And that’s if you get lucky.
What’s up with that?
Sandy and Mark Klein know flesh and cleavage aren’t the only espresso perks that work. They’ve have been cashing in on Bigfoot for more than 25 years at the Espresso Chalet on U.S. 2.
The mythical primate is the theme at this java joint, though his appearances are suspect.
“He was here earlier,” Mark told me with a straight face. “He brought some huckleberries and we traded it for a latte.”
Mark, a 60-year-old in a Bavarian hat and a mischievous grin, admits he says that 100 times a day to customers asking “Where’s Bigfoot?”
Bigfoot’s likeness is everywhere at the chalet that sits against the backdrop of Mount Index. There are Bigfoot signs, statues, souvenirs, specials and footprints.
But sightings are dubious of the rockstar ape.
Oh, well. At least you can drink like a Sasquatch.
Six bucks buys the 32-ounce Bigfoot Quad.
A Stevens Passquatch latte is $3.25. The $5 Lift Ticket has four shots of espresso with heavy cream in an 8-ounce cup.
Coffee separates the humans from the apes.
There are 187 flavors, including Vampire Blood. The dozen milk choices include hemp, goat and almond.
Giant — really, they are huge — Bigfoot cookies, handmade by Sandy, are a steal for $2.50.
Much to the relief of many tourists, hikers and skiers along this scenic but lonely stretch of highway, there are two portable toilets. Wait. Not so fast. The doors are locked. To get the key to the door you have to buy something.
“There is no minimum purchase,” Mark said. “Pick up a stick of gum. It’s a little show of graditude and it helps pay for maintenance of the toilets. The toilets cost us $3,000 a year. We’re not Starbucks. We’re not McDonald’s.”
Espresso Chalet opened in 1991 and is one of the longest-running coffee stands in Snohomish County. The site had been one of the sets for the movie “Harry and the Hendersons,” a 1987 comedy starring John Lithgow about a family who adopts a friendly Sasquatch after accidentally hitting him with their station wagon. The film is set in Seattle, and Lithgow of course wears a Seahawks shirt.
“It’s really a good movie,” Mark said. “Not just because it was shot here.”
He and Sandy bought the property four years after the film was released.
“It came with the green building,” Mark said, referring to the Quonset hut that was the Bigfoot Museum in the flick. “Now it’s storage for cups and lids.”
He also scored a Sasquatch costume used in the movie. “When I was trying to develop a business, I’d wear it out there waving at traffic,” he said. It’s on display through the window of the hut that sits next to the chalet he made.
Mark didn’t set out to entrap Bigfoot fans and coffee drinkers. He was working for the phone company when he was offered a buyout. “I took the money and built all this,” he said.
The couple’s house is a few Bigfoot strides away from the coffee chalet. They have 10 big senior dogs. “I used to run sled dogs,” Mark said. “I was in and out of those woods all the time. I saw some tracks that were very unexplainable.”
The supersized cement footprints by the chalet are modeled after those tracks he saw. If you think your feet are big, this will make you think again.
Customers can search, hike, bike or picnic in the 5-acre Bigfoot Park beind the chalet. It formerly had a Bigfoot campgrounds.
The chainsaw-carved statue of Bigfoot holding a snowboard is a roadside attraction that shows up in many selfies and Facebook posts.
“I commissioned a guy to do that one. I gave him $1,200,” Mark said. “We’re Leavenworthy and mountainy.”
The stand is at milepost marker 36 on the highway in the Cascade Range, about an hour from Leavenworth.
Seattle resident Michelle Acquavella stopped by recently for the first time on the way to her cabin at Fish Lake.
“We were getting tired and felt like stopping to get a coffee and came upon this,” she said. “It’s pretty adorable.”
Is she a Bigfoot believer?
“I’m open to all possibilities,” she said. “But mostly not.”
No matter what you believe, the hook to the “missing link” creature works.
“The coffee stand pays the bills,” Mark said. “For every two shots of coffee that is served we sell about another $20 in Bigfoot mugs, signs and field guides.”
Bigfoot hair in a bottle is another hot item, though Mark admits it’s not the real thing.
Sightings tend to be seasonal.
“It’s always in the fall and the spring,” Sandy said. “A Forest Service guy said he saw one at Beckler River and threw a rock at it. I think Bigfoot is possible, just like UFOs and everything else.”
Sandy, 59, sports her faith by wearing Bigfoot T-shirts. “I have one that’s probably 23 years old that I wear the most,” she said.
As for Mark, he’s a convert.
“I’ve heard thousands and thousands of stories, and I don’t believe 99 percent of them,” he said. “The best one came from two old logger guys that never really looked to increase their shoe size with big gigantic stories. They came in and were really besides themselves. They said they saw Bigfoot and it was the most amazing thing they’ve ever seen in their entire lives. I really believe they believe they saw something. They’d seen enough to know something. That story gave me the chills.”