A transformation of a familiar island gathering spot will be unveiled on Friday when Snapdragon Bakery & Café opens a new area of the restaurant called the Black Cat Cabaret at Snapdragon: An Arts Center for the People.
A wall in the center, gallery section of the café is being knocked down to double the size of the room and reveal a large stage where music, theater and literary events will take place. The entry to the cabaret will be adorned with a hand-painted sign by island tattoo artist and sign painter Paco Rollins, proclaiming the name of the cabaret and featuring a large, Japanese-style Maneki Neko — a “good fortune” black cat. The expanded room will also allow a new point of access to Snapdragon’s expansive back patio and garden and reveal a large window along the building’s back wall that will bathe the room in daylight.
But for owners Adam Cone and Megan Hastings, the most important part of the renovation is what it will bring to the community.
For the married duo, the stage truly is the thing — a place for island performers and others to experiment and present new work in a warm, casual setting, with food, drink and friends nearby.
“This was our chance to create a large, open space for cabaret, music, dancing, theater and poetry,” Cone said, adding that it will be a place for all ages to gather.
The cabaret’s official tag-line, “An Arts Center for the People,” was intentional, he said — meant to convey the idea of inclusion and accessibility for all.
The newly renovated area was formerly part of Snapdragon’s bakery, but baking operations for the business recently moved to another building near the Vashon IGA, freeing up the back room and making the renovation possible.
In December, Hastings and Cone opened The Wild Mermaid, a waterfront coffee shop, bakery and soon-to-be bar next to the north-end ferry dock. For years, the couple has also owned Snapdragon. The vegetarian restaurant and community hub also includes an art venue, The Hastings-Cone Gallery, and an adjacent bar called Home Sweet Home.
Along with the renovation of Snapdragon will come new days of operation for the café and bakery — starting May 1, it will be open Thursdays through Sundays. Previously, Snapdragon was also open on Wednesdays. Home Sweet Home will continue to be open Wednesdays through Sundays and host its popular trivia night on Wednesdays.
The changes at Snapdragon coincide with the appearance of new players on the island’s restaurant scene. The Ruby Brink, a butcher shop, restaurant and bar, will open Saturday on the corner of Vashon Highway and Bank Road. And a new pizzeria run by Seattle restaurateur Michael McConnell will share space with another new business, Pollard Coffee, next door to Relish on the town’s main drag. It is expected to open in early summer.
But Cone implied that Snapdragon’s renovation will help it keep pace with the newcomers.
“We’re reinventing ourselves,” he said. “At a time when other new places are opening up, we wanted to let everyone know that the grand old lady Snapdragon still has a few more tricks up her sleeve.”
Islanders can check out the renovations at Snapdragon on Friday, May 2, when an exhibit of work by botanical illustrator Emily Bergman will open in the gallery space. At 7 p.m.May 9, the new stage will boast an appearance by Canadian roots balladeer Scott Cook, presented by Debra Heesch.