LANGLEY — Opening a restaurant during a pandemic is less than ideal.
But with the knowledge that most of his menu would be entirely portable, it’s what one business owner decided to do.
Owner Jim Goodall opened Langley Kitchen on Second Street in November. The new cafe is modeled after Goodall’s first restaurant in Seattle’s Madison Park neighborhood, called Madison Kitchen. About 60% of orders in Seattle were take-out, so Goodall decided to make the leap to Langley with a similar business plan.
“I spent the last year poring over tax letters, knocking on doors, writing letters, asking people on the street about a space,” he said.
Though bakery offerings picked up in Langley recently, Goodall said he was surprised in years past that he couldn’t find a baked good as simple as a cookie to eat while in town.
“I love baking, I love eating cookies,” Goodall said with a laugh. “That’s probably the impetus of some of this.”
For several years now, he contemplated opening a restaurant in Langley. Why not during Phase 3 in Island County?
“I was poised and ready to jump when things changed, mid-June,” Goodall said.
In his remodel of the 840-square-foot building — which was previously occupied by Anthes Ferments — Goodall has left no surface untouched. From new floors to appliances to wiring, the newly designed space has it all.
Goodall, who sold Madison Kitchen when he moved to Whidbey Island, refers to himself as a “working owner” and a “one-entity operator.” Which means you can find him working alongside his employees at Langley Kitchen.
He said he isn’t deterred by the pandemic, although there are things he feels nostalgic for.
“I do miss making a cappuccino in a beautiful porcelain cup,” Goodall said.
The new restaurant is equipped with to-go cups, boxes and utensils, with nary a plate nor bowl in sight.
“When we make food, we’re always thinking about how portable it is,” he said. “We don’t start by visualizing how something is going to look on a plate.”
Pandemic or otherwise, the menu won’t change much.
Langley Kitchen offers a range of salads, not just of the green and leafy variety — although there is plenty of that, too. On the menu are salads with potatoes, roasted beets, broccoli, curry chicken and more.
And as promised, there is no shortage of baked goods. Salmon cakes, quiches and sandwiches made with potato focaccia bread are just some of the savory delights available. On the other end of the spectrum, there are sweet treats such as cranberry croustades, cookies of every type and cinnamon rolls, the most popular dessert.
After placing an order, customers are directed to step outdoors onto the patio, where there is a pick-up window. That way, you don’t have to reenter the building.
Patricia Ackerman, a longtime employee of Madison Kitchen, has joined Goodall at the new restaurant.
“We’ve been talking about this place for a long time and how it would be different,” she said. “We wanted to create a place that felt like it had a geographical importance.”
Ackerman helped with the branding of Langley Kitchen, which includes the restaurant’s logo of an owl with a quiver that holds not arrows, but a fork and spoon.
“I wanted it to be slick, I wanted it to be something that represented here,” she said.
Both Ackerman and Goodall have been adjusting to island life on Whidbey. Ackerman said she has noticed a lot of tea drinkers.
Goodall said Langley Kitchen will have online ordering soon. For now, customers can call in orders at 360-321-1971 and peruse photos of the goodies on the cafe’s website at www.langleykitchen.com.
“We’re thrilled to be here,” he said.
If you go
Langley Kitchen, 138 Second Street, Langley, is open 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Call 360-321-1971 or go to www.langleykitchen.com.