A new chapter in the history of a storied island tavern is about to be written by the new owners of the building that has been home to The Red Bicycle Bistro, and Bishop’s Pub before that, and the Vashon Tavern before that.
The new owners, islanders and married couple Adam Chumas and Christina McFadden, have plans to keep the beverages flowing as they re-create the space as a family-friendly hangout called Pop Pop Bottle Shop.
Their new establishment will offer a wide variety of craft beers, with many of them on tap, as well as a small wine selection and a large selection of non-alcoholic beverages including kombucha and specialty sodas. A menu featuring teriyaki dishes, including vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options, will also be offered.
McFadden and Chumas have chosen to focus on teriyaki, they said, because they love the dish, and Vashon’s restaurant scene currently doesn’t include that option.
Pop Pop Bottle Shop — a name inspired by wordplay and approved by the couple’s three- and six-year-old daughters — will open in the late fall, after a complete renovation of the building that will include a new roof, new sub-flooring, a new HVAC system and many other large and small transformations of the space.
Some of these changes are already taking shape, with Chumas and McFadden doing much of the work, along with one of Chumas’ cousins, who has moved to Vashon to be part of the project.
“We’re taking the opportunity to do things the right way and make smart choices that will help the building be preserved for the next 50 years,” said Chumas.
Pop Pop Bottle Shop will occupy only the southern half of the building, where Red Bicycle Bistro’s eatery and music stage was located. The northern half of the building, which housed the Red Bicycle bar, will be subleased to another business — one Chumas and McFadden said would have a similar “community, hangout vibe” as their establishment. They said they were in negotiations with a specific business, but weren’t yet ready to announce that part of their plans.
The sale of the building to McFadden’s and Chumas’ company, “Pop Pop Investments LLC,” for $630,000, was recorded on July 1.
The restaurant had spent 733 days on the market, said Sophia de Groen, a local realtor who represented McFadden and Chumas in the purchase. The building was formerly owned by Vashon Investments Inc., a company controlled by Mag Choi, who now lives in Alaska. Vashon Investments bought the bar and restaurant in 2008, for just over $1 million, and at that time, changed its name from Bishop’s to The Red Bicycle Bistro.
Since mid-2019, when Choi decided to sell, the price has fluctuated from a high of $1,150,000 to a low of $600,000.
According to de Groen, the July purchase of the building was a “short sale” — meaning the selling price was less than the amount owed on the seller’s mortgage. Such sales were common during the Great Recession, de Groen said, but are exceedingly rare in the current real estate market.
De Groen said she was thrilled to help facilitate the purchase, and convinced that after so long on the market, the property had finally found the ideal buyer.
Chumas, she said, had the vision and experience needed to revitalize the bar and restaurant.
“The building is in very good hands and will be a wonderful addition to our town core,” she said. “I look forward to going there for many decades to come.”
Chumas, age 39, and McFadden, age 36, have lived on Vashon for the past four years.
Most recently, Chumas was the general manager of The Hardware Store Restaurant on Vashon. Prior to that, his restaurant career in Seattle included working as the operations manager of Elliott Bay Brewery & Pub and the beverage director of Tom Douglas Restaurants in Seattle.
McFadden, who has a design and restaurant background, is currently employed full-time as a workplace strategist for T-Mobile.
But with the purchase of the Red Bicycle building on Vashon, the couple will be doing something for the first time — opening their very own restaurant.
“It was part of our dream, when we moved here, to start a business,” Chumas said, explaining that he had worked in restaurants since he was a teenager, and has managed restaurants since he was 21 years old. At both Elliott Bay Brewery and Tom Douglas Restaurants, he was a key player on teams that opened 15 restaurants.
“There comes a time when you feel ready to do it for yourself,” he said.
Both Chumas and McFadden said they had kept their eyes on the Red Bicycle building, as it sat empty for so many months.
“In 2019, when [The Red Bicycle] closed, we just started rolling it around,” McFadden said.
Chumas added that after looking at other commercial properties on Vashon, “We just kept coming back to it.”
For many islanders, the sale of the property has piqued keen interest, with many chiming in on social media with questions about the new owners’ plans.
For at least the past two decades, the restaurant and bar have done triple-duty as a music venue, and many commenters have expressed a hope that concerts will continue in the space.
But Chumas and McFadden said that Pop Pop Bottle Shop won’t regularly be the site of music shows, despite the fact that they are great fans of live music. However, they do hope to host musicians in the space from time to time, on special occasions, they said.
“No one is giving a loan for a music venue straight out of the pandemic,” Chumas said, adding that operating a music venue was a very difficult financial business model.
As part of the renovation, he said, the Red Bicycle’s music stage will be removed, to make it possible to open up the space more fully to passersby with a floor-to-ceiling garage door.
Pete Welch, the co-founder of Vashon Events, said that he admired Chumas and McFadden, and wished them well, but was still sad to see the end of an era of regular concerts taking place in the intimate space.
Throughout the past decade, Welch booked many nights of bands and solo performers that brought joyful dancing crowds to The Red Bicycle.
Among his favorite memories, he said, were Vashon Events showcases that featured islanders all playing music by the same artist — Bob Dylan, The Beatles and The Grateful Dead, among others. He described the feeling of seeing so many local musicians take their turn on the stage as very special.
“It was like family in there,” he said.
Welch also credited former owner Jan Lofland and her employee, Alex Anderson, with helping to create a musical renaissance in the space.
Lofland, who co-owned the business with her ex-husband in the early 2000s when it was still called Bishops, oversaw an extensive renovation of the restaurant side of the business that included adding its stage and professional sound and lighting systems. Anderson, who also worked as a bartender, booked the venue’s music in those days, including nationally known acts and up-and-coming local groups like Troll’s Cottage.
It was a change that islanders embraced, she said.
“There were people who hadn’t been in there for years, who came back to give it a chance,” she said.
She described Bishop’s in those days as a warm community hub.
“On St. Paddy’s Day, there were local Irish bands, and families and kids dancing Irish jigs,” she said, adding that even though she will miss the music stage she built in the space, she applauds the new owners’ aim to make their business a family-friendly place.
“Creating a safe and fun place in the middle of town was always my goal,” she said. “This community needs and wants a safe family hangout, now more than ever as our community changes. I’m excited for what the new owners have in store for us.”