New North Bend cafe is a ray of culinary sunshine

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NORTH BEND - It may take the gloom and rain of the autumn season to truly appreciate Jeani's Sunshine Cafe.

That's because once customers enter the new cafe on North Bend Way, they discover a room that is bathed in yellow from paintings of the sun and pictures of sunflowers. There is hot coffee, warm chili and warm company, all offered by owner Jeani Beckwith.

The cafe has been open for six weeks, but has been in Beckwith's heart for five years. Beckwith had wanted to get back to serving people and creating in the kitchen, where she was really happy. After running the Western Cafe in downtown Seattle for 10 years, Beckwith had spent the last five years in the mortgage business, a line of work she got out of to run the cafe. Realizing that money was no substitute for happiness, she decided to get back into the restaurant business.

The Valley native said she's always had an eye on the area as a place to start a cafe. She looked at spaces in North Bend and Snoqualmie, but couldn't find anything that wasn't located in a strip mall.

"Everything was square boxes within boxes," she said.

One day while driving through town with her son, she saw a building on North Bend Way that had a "For Lease" sign posted. She stopped the car immediately and got the number of the landlord. Beckwith's friends told her that the location has not been conducive to success. In fact, the last tenant in the building, Bad Ass Coffee, was a similar business that ended up shutting down.

Beckwith didn't care. She liked the odd-shaped building and saw all she could do with the interior. She began by tearing up more than 400 pounds of carpet and applying multiple coats of primer and paint to the interior walls. Recently, Beckwith got a traveling artist from Amsterdam named Peter Teekamp to paint murals on the outside and inside of the cafe as well. There is a drive-through window for quick service and even work from local artists exhibited to make the small cafe more homey.

For the complete story, pick up a copy of this week's Valley Record

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