Thursday, July 18, 2024

Cloudview Kitchen’s evolving local flavor, community focus

Managing Editor | January 10, 2024 5:41 PM

SOAP LAKE — Cloudview Kitchen was founded a little more than a decade ago by Jim Baird and Theresa Sergneri. Since then, the idea for the restaurant-slash-bakery-slash-coffee-house has evolved and matured.

“Theresa and Jim started it …” said co-owner Dusty Bolyard. “Jim wanted to start a nonprofit farm in Ephrata and with that, Theresa wanted to start the kitchen project to go along with it as a cooperative venture. They ran them together collectively — he ran the farm and she ran the kitchen.” 

The kitchen had closed down about a year before the pandemic started, but after talking with friends and family, the kitchen reopened with Bolyard, Blayne Walsh, Ursula Bolyard, Amanda Higginson and Geraldo Higginson coming together as partners in the business. Each brought their own flair to the shop that makes it unique, not just for Soap Lake and the Columbia Basin, but anywhere you might go. 

Bolyard said he’s a self-taught cook and baker who has learned from professionals and friends to develop his skills to ensure the food is what he wants it to be. 

His mother, Ursula, brings an international interest to the shop and experience running food programs for hospitals, he said. Her ancestry is Indonesian-Pacific Islander and her flavor palette comes from that culture quite a bit,

Walsh brings experience running James Beard Award-winning bakeries and restaurants, Bolyard said.

The Higginsons bring Mexican and Italian pizzazz to the restaurant. Geraldo celebrates his Mexican heritage with the Chiluda Salsa line of products. Together, they all add a bit of flavor to the menu that makes the food unique.

“And then Amanda is Italian and Mexican and Geraldo is Mexican and all of the food comes from our cultures. Family recipes. Family flavors,” Bolyard said. 

Bolyard said he and Walsh were working the farm during the week prior to becoming owners and then going over to the Seattle area on the weekend to operate a salon. It got too tiring, though, and that helped the group decide to pitch in together to solidify the restaurant’s future. With his mom’s baked goods selling out every week, they decided to take the proverbial plunge.

“(We said), ‘Let’s get something fresh and new going.’ And then we did and we spent the last of my savings on (our) coffee machine and in about three months we paid it off,” Bolyard said, nodding to the shop's espresso maker.

Cloudview Kitchen works to source its products as locally as it can, Bolyard said. Much of the produce served at the restaurant comes from Cloudview Farm in Ephrata, when seasons allow. Other ingredients come from Gordon’s Farms, Wilcox Eggs (Tri-Cities), Fidalgo Coffee Roasters —  a brand Walsh trusts from two decades of experience — and other products. 

Even the coffee mugs come from clay harvested in Grant County, near Steamboat Rock State Park, Bolyard said. 

“That’s what Cloudview is about, is to try and get people to locally source as much as you possibly can,” Bolyard said. “You know, get your food and your sustenance from your local region.” 

It’s all about supporting the local growers and economy, he said.

The partnership between the farm and restaurant is ongoing, with produce programs set up not only to source the restaurant’s ingredients but to make sure people have a way to buy locally through the jointly-operated Community Supported Agriculture — or CSA — program. It’s a way to help care for the community they’re a part of, just like a lot of other locally owned and operated businesses.

“They’re doing this because they care about their community,” he said. “They care about their sense of place. They care about providing their local community with sustenance and availability.” 

Recognized talent

The combined efforts of Cloudview Kitchen’s owners and staff earned them multiple honors in this year’s Best of the Basin contest in various categories.

Best Bakery – 1st

Best Breakfast – 3rd

Best Margarita – 3rd

Best Sub/Sandwich – 3rd

Locally owned

The five entrepreneurs below work together to keep Cloudview Kitchen moving forward with good food and programs to engage the community in and around Soap Lake.

Blayne Walsh

Dusty Bolyard

Ursula Bolyard

Amanda Higginson

Geraldo Higginson

Editor’s Note/Correction: In our article published in our recent “Best of the Basin 2023” insert, we misstated the ownership of Cloudview Kitchen and the relationships of current and past owners. We apologize for the error and we congratulate Cloudview Kitchen and Cloudview Farm on their success in the communities they serve.

    Rice, fresh veggies and savory broth show Ursula Bolyard’s Indonesian heritage in the flavors at Cloudview Kitchen.
    A variety of baked goods line the shelves at Cloudview Kitchen in Soap Lake. The restaurant and bakery often sells out of favorites.
    Gourmet coffee brewed by Blayne Walsh and sourced in Washington helps wake Cloudview patrons up. Walsh has more than 20 years of experience as a barista and coffee expert.
    Savory dumplings with fresh herbs offer a hearty snack or meal.
    Locally-sourced vegetables like asparagus are used to produce many of the dishes at Cloudview Kitchen.
    A Cloudview Kitchen patron enjoys a cocktail. The shop offers gourmet coffee in the mornings and mixed beverages at night to fit the vibe of the time.