Pair of Selah Restaurants Try to Make the Most of New Reality

Just two months ago, Nana Kate’s owner Catherine Platt wasn’t sure how she was going to keep her Selah café and coffee shop open.

She had already lost two-thirds of her typical revenue due to the statewide shutdown, and without being able to offer indoor seating for the foreseeable future, Platt’s business of seven years was at a crossroads. 

“The shutdown killed us,” she said. “Sixty-five percent of our business came from events and catering, and all of that just went away.” 

But something inside her said to press on, so she cashed out one of her investments and decided to take Nana Kate’s in a new direction. 

“Everyone has a passion, and food is mine,” said Platt, who opened Nana Kate’s at 432 E. Goodlander Road in 2013. “So I sat down and analyzed everything, and I decided to totally re-write the business plan.”

Hoping to capitalize on the pre-made meal craze that was gaining popularity before the shutdown, Platt has partnered with Anytime Fitness in Selah to offer fresh, pre-made meals for members.

She has been beta testing the pre-made meals for the past two months, and she was planning to launch the program the week of Sept. 14. Menu options include maintenance meals, high-protein meals, low-carb and ketogenic diet (“keto”) selections. Customers will be able to pick up their orders in the Nana Kate’s drive-thru Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

“We will have 31 days of breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks — with no repeats,” Platt said. “We make everything fresh and also use locally sourced produce whenever possible.”

Platt will be launching a new website this month to help support the Anytime Fitness partnership. Everyday customers will also notice some new options when ordering food and beverages on the website, nanakates.com, or from their smartphone.

Aside from the fitness-focused menu, Nana Kate’s is now offering a variety of “Farm to Family” meals, featuring freshly made comfort-food casseroles like lasagna, pot pies, and Swedish meatballs. They also have meal kits, party trays, salads, sandwiches, soups, stuffed pockets and more. Charcuterie boards are on the way later this year.

“We’re going to have things like fondue, hot chocolate and taco trays for the holidays,” Platt said. “People can call in or order online, and then just pick it up in the drive-thru.”

The drive-thru window figures to be a mainstay for Nana Kate’s for the rest of 2020, and likely into the future. Even when restaurants are allowed to return to normal seating capacity, Platt knows she can’t count on anything being “normal” again. 

“Who knows how long we’re going to be like this?” she said. “I just know that I’m never going to rely on events and tourism to make up 65 percent of my business again. This plan feels a lot more stable long-term.” 

•••••••

Tailgater’s Is Back

One of Selah’s favorite after-work hangouts is back in business.

Tailgater’s Bar & Grill closed for about three months due to the statewide shutdown, but reopened its patio in late July to great fanfare. Owner Rich Goodall said his customers have really shown how much they missed the place.

“We’ve been seeing people in here two or three times a week, which has kept us pretty busy,” said Goodall, who opened the restaurant and bar at 110 E. Third Ave. in August 2016. “We have a very loyal following and there are a lot of great people who continue to support us. What we have is a room full of friends who are also great customers.”

Goodall said the state’s recent decision to allow Yakima County bars and restaurants to open 25% of their indoor seating capacity has helped. But most of his customers are still opting to sit on the patio — at least until the wildfire smoke choked the Valley in early September.

“Having the patio has made it so we’re not losing money, which is nice for a change,” Goodall said, referring to his decision to close the establishment from mid-April to late July. “The inside tables have been filling up, too, but most people are still taking advantage of the nice weather.”

Goodall added that it’s been good to see most of his staff return to work. He worried about his employees struggling during the shutdown, but he said they all understood that the takeout model wasn’t suitable for a neighborhood bar like Tailgater’s. 

But after months of being apart, things are beginning to feel a lot more familiar.

“It’s been great hanging out with everyone again,” Goodall said. “A big reason we have been successful is because of our employees, and I really missed them.”

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