There ’s no Wi-Fi at this Greenwood cafe, because (gasp!) the owners hope people might talk to each other as they enjoy their snacks and coffee.
The sandwich board outside will tell you if Preserve and Gather is your kind of place: “Coffee, pastry, pickles, snacks, beer/wine.” That’s just what you’ll find walking through the unprepossessing exterior into the pretty Greenwood cafe with blue walls stenciled in gold patterns. There’s no Wi-Fi, another self-selecting factor for fans and foes (the owners are trying to encourage a more social environment).
What there is: thoughtful attention to ingredients and an interesting twist to almost every dish, such as beet added to rhubarb jam and jalapeño in the egg salad.
The menu: Light fare with a selection of pastries, yogurt with toppings, toasts, cheese and meat plates, and salads.
Preserve and Gather
358 N.W. 85th St., Seattle
Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday-Sunday
Etc: Cash preferred but not required
Don’t miss: How many times can you say house-made? Consider it a given for all the foods unless otherwise mentioned: A delectable serving of yogurt with apricot-vanilla bean compote comes in a Weck canning jar. Other favorites include pudgy buckwheat fig bars, rich gluten-free (but you’d never know it) peanut-butter cookies, and toasted Sea Wolf bread with toppings like soft white ricotta curds and that vivid beet-rhubarb jam or pickled egg salad with big chunks of egg and a subtle bite from the jalapeños.
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What to skip: The one-note pickle plate. With our eyes closed, we couldn’t have told the difference between the various components. It’d do better as an adjunct to a meat platter.
The setting: An open, slightly industrial space with exposed ductwork, lots of natural light, and an attractively DIY feel. Order at the counter and wait for your food at either a handful of two-tops with tall stools, the window counter, wood communal tables (all with stools) or the long, sunny benches near the front entrance. It’s a pleasure to watch staffers rolling out dough or crimping pastries, but how long you linger depends on your tolerance for the universally hard seating. Owners Kayla Blincow and Tess Smedley, who met years ago when working at The Fat Hen, are hoping to have patio seating later this year.
Summing up: Egg salad ($4.50), ricotta toast ($4.50), yogurt with preserves ($4), pickle plate ($7), squash bread ($3), fig bar ($2.25), cookie ($1.75), latte ($3.50), and tea ($3) totaled $33.50, before tax and tip, and amply fed two.