North Bend’s newest cafe is all about the outdoors, sustainability and great coffee

Coffee, mountains, beer — that’s what it’s all about at North Bend’s newest cafe.

Whether you’re coming in before heading out to hike Rattlesnake, returning from a ski day on the pass or even just walking your dog — Meghan and David Schumacher, owners of the Arête Coffee Bar, want to be part of your adventure.

The cafe, located inside Pro Ski and Mountain Service in North Bend, is hoping to not only be a mecca for those who love the outdoors, but offer local coffee, a variety of food options and continuing to find ways to curb its environmental footprint.

“Meghan and I have always dreamed of owning a business together and using our skills to create something for the community,” David said. “We wanted to create a space where you can come get great coffee and dream about being outdoors.”

The couple are relative newcomers to the Valley, but after spending many of their weekends commuting from their Bellevue home to recreate, they, alongside their three kids and three dogs, moved out to North Bend three years ago. Although they had dreams of opening their own business together, they had no hard plans until late last year.

A friend of David’s who also knew Martin Volken, the owner of Pro Ski, inquired about the empty space in his shop — the former site of a restaurant — telling the Pro Ski owner to reach out the couple.

Although Meghan spent about 18 years in corporate finance and consulting, she also spent three years running Finn’s Bakery and Cafe in Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood.

“It was funny how everything just perfectly fell into place,” David said. “Not two or three days later we ran into Martin while we were shopping and about a five-minute conversation turned into an hour-long conversation.”

Two weeks later, they signed on the dotted line and opened up the shop in February.

“It’s a good fit for us,” Meghan said. “How we want to run a business is very aligned with them.”

One of the most unique aspects of the cafe is its focus on limiting waste of single-use products. The store offers 25 cents off coffee for those who bring a reusable mug. It has also designed its loyalty program around the same concept, with each purchase using a reusable cup working toward customers earning free drinks.

“When I had the prior coffee shop, it just killed me how many paper cups we just threw out,” Meghan said. “[Here] we’re seeing a lot of people have behavioral changes, where they’re starting to bring their own cups and it’s been really cool to see.”

According to its website, which tracks the number of single-use cups saved, in less than two months, Arête has already prevented 426 single-use cups — equal to 8.5 pounds of trash — from entering the landfill.

Meghan said in the future she wants to introduce raffles for free coffee and gear to continue to incentivize sustainability. She also wants to pilot a library-like system for mugs, where patrons can check out one of the store’s reusable cups to take with them and return at a later date.

“We’re hoping to give that a try to see if that moves the needle a little further,” she said.

Still, the cafe is prioritizing quality food and coffee, offering foods for nearly every dietary restriction. Arête offers a full breakfast, lunch and drinks menu, making a majority of its products in-house. It also partners with Seattle-based LightHouse Coffee and the North Bend Bar and Grill.

The couple’s favorite menu item is the “Nash,” an accidental creation named after a trail on the Alpental Ski resort, that includes egg, ham, cheese, smoked zucchini, arugula, caramelized onions, and tomato jam on bacon-cheddar biscuit.

The cafe recently introduced northwest beers and wine to its menu, for those coming at the end of the day.

“We’re just trying to bookend your day,” Meghan said. “We want to create that space for the whole day where you come in before you head out on an adventure, and end your day here too.”

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