T & T Coffee and Bagels brings friends together
By Chelsea Marr, Columbia Gorge News/Hood River Eats.
Tabatha Abrams and Tara Woolsey, above, are co-Owners of T&T Coffee and Bagels.
THE DALLES — Tara Woolsey of The Dalles and Tabatha Abrams of Lyle are both first cousins and good friends. The two worked together for several years at Petite Provence in The Dalles, so it was not unusual for these two to collaborate on a business venture.
Their families are close — including kids and partners — and the two wanted a place to hang out together when working. The coffee hut, located at 405 W. Second St., became available at just the right time.
Coffee seemed perfect to build the business around. T&T Coffee and Bagels started business in October. “Along with our personalities, we serve a wide variety of bagel sandwiches and an even wider variety of drinks,” said Woolsey. “Coffee drinks, smoothies, teas, lemonade, and Rockstar drinks, which are gaining popularity. We love working with family and being our own bosses. And we also kinda love coffee and bagels.”
The business is a great fit for these two. Woolsey likes details and numbers, while Abrams likes to take on new recipe ideas. Both enjoy visiting with customers and seeing familiar faces. T&T gives them the opportunity to remain in customer service, which they both have worked in for years, but working for themselves gives them a space that is all their own.
Abrams’ significant other, Landon Walker, was helping out in the kitchen and he was quick to say T&T was a restful and enjoyable break from his full-time job.
Woolsey and Abrams admit it is a bit overwhelming when the drive up is five cars deep, but they are getting faster and the customers are patiently waiting their turn. They both enjoy seeing repeat customers and friends.
Both have raised their families in the Gorge, and T&T Coffee and Bagels offers a gathering spot for them, as well as a helpful family member or two to hang out and work on something they enjoy sharing with the community.
Items served at T&T are locally or closely sourced from the Pacific Northwest. The coffee is Nosa Familia out of Portland, the teas are from Tea Lyn’s out of White Salmon, and the bagels are from Henry Higgins, a small bagel company based in Portland.
T&T did their homework searching for local items. Finding someone who had the volume or ability to offer wholesale to supply another business was a challenge. The Nosa Familia coffee was well liked at Petite Provence, so it was a great brand to continue working with at T&T Coffee and Bagels, they said.
The two also researched baked goods, eventually finding Henry Higgins. Henry Higgins Bagels makes fresh, Northwest-style boiled bagels — and T&T Coffee and Bagels sells around 1,700 of these bagels each month.
Tea Lyn’s naturally sourced loose leaf teas are served in a pour over style and have a fresh, balanced flavor for the tea lover, they said. T&T serves Chai in addition to their other teas, or, if you want to try something new, they make a London Fog with Tea Lyn’s black tea, served with steamed milk and a bit of lavender. Traditional tea choices are available as well, such as green, black, or herbal teas.
One favorite lunch item is the Bagel Italiano with salami, pepperoni, pepperoncini and roasted red peppers, topped with Italian dressing and garlic aioli. In addition, they offer a vegetarian bagel with fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil pesto spread, then topped with a balsamic glaze and olive oil. Breakfast sandwiches with eggs and ham or bacon are offered including the classic toasted bagel with cream cheese.
In addition to coffee, tea and bagels, T&T serves homemade soup. Woolsey’s husband, Austin Woolsey, is a trained professional chef having worked locally for two well-known restaurants. He is now sales manager at Ray Schulten’s Motors in The Dalles, but anyone who knows Austin knows he always has his foot in the kitchen, she explained.
Woolsey admits she does not cook, but between her husband and Abrams, they work up “some amazing fresh soups.” Anyone familiar with the old Baldwin Saloon will recognize their soups as a house favorite. Fresh bagel sandwiches and the daily soup have been selling out, so get there early.
T & T Coffee and Bagels is located at 405 W. Second St., The Dalles, and is open Monday through Saturday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
ALL ARE WELCOME AT WORKING HANDS FERMENTATION
Chef Ryan Hunter of Deb’s Kitchen and Ellen Woods Potter, general manager, co-owner and cidermaker, at Working Hands.
Story and Photos by Laurel Brown, Columbia Gorge News.
Hood River has become home to some very unique, community-based restaurants and breweries over the years, but one you should be sure to check out is Working Hands Fermentation located on the Heights.
After combining with Slopeswell Cider and opening their new taproom mid-2021, Working Hands broke ground on their kitchen build last June. Ryan Hunter, head chef and founder of Deb’s Kitchen, paired with the brewery and cidery in November and has recently finalized his menu staples. While some describe his food as “upscale pub fare,” Hunter humbly dubbed his menu as being accessible, tasty bar food. “What’s so bad about bar food?” he joked.
Born in Los Angeles, Hunter moved to Portland in 1997, where he attended cooking school and worked in countless kitchens developing his culinary style. Between 1997 and 2018, when he moved to Hood River, Hunter traveled the globe for work opportunities, spending time at a bakery in Martha’s Vineyard on the east coast, as a sous-chef in Alaska, and even at a bed and breakfast in France. While his teachers and mentors influenced his own view of food, no one was quite as influential as his mother, Deb.
“She was kind of the first person to blow my mind with food,” Hunter said, explaining his concern for her mental state when she first offered him a pizza with pineapple and pepperoni toppings as a young child.
The pub fare offered at Working Hands is entirely Hunter’s own, including dishes he considers fun, creative, and comfy.
“The creative learning process is a fun challenge for me in the kitchen,” Hunter said, mentioning in particular that cooking for customer’s with special diets is just as fun and equally delicious as anything else that comes out of his kitchen. His years of refined training is offered via a more inclusive, friendly menu that makes fine dining less intimidating, which speaks directly to the establishment’s goal.
Ellen Woods Potter, general manager, co-owner, and cidermaker at Working Hands, can attest to the success of pairing with Deb’s Kitchen.
“We are a community-focused space with the mentality that craft beers and ciders don’t have to be an overwhelming, knowledge-based experience,” Woods Potter said. Although relatively new to the world of craft ciders, Woods Potter joined the Working Hands team in February 2021 after a long career in the craft beer industry. She is originally from the Gorge area and started at a brewery in Pullman, Wash., but has spent more than 11 years in taprooms and breweries, mostly in northern Texas, where she began working on her Cicerone Certification.
Now she lives in The Dalles and has been crafting ciders for Working Hands since mid-2022.
“I brew what I like and of course what the community likes. Mostly Old World ciders and German-style lagers. It’s great,” she said.
All too often, the term “craft beer” or “IPA” can turn beer-drinkers off for reasons of exclusivity or inaccessibility, but this mentality is one Working Hands Fermentation hopes to end. Choosing a taproom location on the Heights also appeals to locals who don’t want to compete for barstool space with tourists in the downtown and waterfront areas. Working Hands aims to connect the community as a non-exclusive local favorite, even using local ingredients and giving back to the community whenever possible. They strive to be on the forefront of delicious, unique craft beverages in the Pacific Northwest while staying true to their roots and neighborhood, even down to the artwork and design of the space.
Kasey McCullough, head brewer and co-owner, and John Terhaar, wholesale supervisor and co-owner, made sure the interior and exterior of the space came from grassroots, hands-on work, much of it McCullough’s own. He turned parts of the old bar into wooden lounge tables and wrapped the current bar in copper foil; he built shelving and a small stage inside the brewery, and even painted much of the space.
One of his coolest creations are the river tables, made of wood and epoxy that come together to create a topical view of different sections of local rivers. A small plaque on the side of each table details the exact river and coordinates of the section he recreated. Local artists Chris Potheir and Audrey Mae were both commissioned to contribute murals to the space, too. Potheir created the mural on the outside of the bright blue building, which is a close-up of the Working Hands logo, and Mae contributed the indoor mural that depicts plants in Mason jars. Together they have successfully created a comfortable, welcoming space with a cool atmosphere that stokes local pride.
McCullough has helped with many brewers in the area, Working Hands being his 14th taproom start-up, so his name and craft beverages are local favorites. Much of his background comes from studying in Germany, which is reflected in the beer selections. The Working Hands staple brews have predominantly been established and they are currently working to create staple ciders for the menu, too. With 300 gallon tanks and a small canning system, each batch is a time-intensive process for new or returning beers and ciders. Restricted space currently means their supply can’t always keep up with demand, but a possible expansion to grow production is on the horizon. Woods Potter mentioned opening a new space in The Dalles to help create jobs and bring more tourism opportunities to the Gorge. More production space would also allow for wider distribution of their craft beverages, which are available in the Dalles, Hood River, Mosier, and Dufur.
Both food and drink menus change seasonally, with growlers, crowlers, and canned beer for sale at the taproom. While discussing her favorite ciders to brew, Woods Potter said they plan to can and sell ciders soon.
“We focus on dry ciders with a wild fermentation process using natural yeasts and flavors,” she said. A few of her favorites include a cider called First Date, which used dates from a friend’s farm in Arizona called Naked Date, and a cherry cider that utilized cherries she and her father hand-picked from his farm in the area. Hunter uses certain staple beers in his recipes, from beer cheese to batter for fried menu items.
“The partnership with Deb’s Kitchen has been amazing and we are just so lucky to have Ryan,” said Woods Potter.
Other menu items that are must-tries are the fried cauliflower bites, curry ketchup, and fried Oreos for dessert. Hunter is thrilled at the feedback and patronage his food has gathered, and his Nashville-style fried chicken sandwich (the “hot mess”) is locally sought after. Check out Hunter’s Instagram for more about his cooking, @debs_hoodriver.
“Hood River was the perfect spot for the community feel because it’s smaller and more cohesive than somewhere like Portland, which is saturated with options … I can reach more of the community on the Heights, and Working Hands has been nothing but a good experience,” he said.
If you’re looking to try a new beer, or are in search of your new favorite local spot, stop in at Working Hands Fermentation. They are open Wednesday through Friday from 4-10 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 10 p.m. Although their lounge and bar are for ages 21 and over, they do provide family-friendly spaces, patio seating, and are welcome to dogs too.
Working Hands offers a number of weekly community events, such as live music every Saturday night, trivia on Thursdays, open mics on Sunday evenings, and more. They are also planning their second annual Sausage Fest & Mug Club Party on June 3, with vendors, bands, and fun contests. They are located at 1021 12th St. in Hood River, and can be reached at 541-716-4130.
More photo are on Columbia Gorge News. https://www.columbiagorgenews.com/news/gorge-local-in-business-all-are-welcome-at-working-hands-fermentation/article_8c1aff88-a71c-11ed-b0dd-13a2d694cbd2.html
Columbia Gorge Confections is making the rounds this valentines day with wine and chocolate truffles. You can find them at Phelps Creek Vineyards Feb 11-12th and 14,18. Hawkins Cellars in Underwood, Wash., has fireside seating and is serving Columbia Gorge Confections red velvet cake with a 2017 vintage Cabernet Sauvignon. Join them this weekend February 11-12th.
The Pines 1852 Grapes & Crepes is back Columbia Gorge Crepes will be at the Pines every Friday in February. Savory and sweet Crepes both pair perfectly with wine. Friday 5-8pm.
Backwoods Brewing Company Did you know in addition to great beer, the brewery has their own Backwoods Wine Blend? They partner with AniChe Cellars in Underwood, Wash,, to bring you a special red wine - only available in Carson.
Cathedral Ridge has some fantastic food and wine pairings for your Valentine’s day menu. From fish or shrimp to ribeye or ravioli they have a wine to pair it. Check it out!
Kickstand Kitchen is featuring a chef’s special menu of enticing Valentine's menu items and cocktails. Call to reserve. Fishpeople Seafood Market Hood River is offering a valentine’s day dinner. Pre-order delicious seafood they curate and you prepare. Add on local Gorge wines, Lucy's Informal Flowers, or Icebox Chocolate Lava Cakes!
Everybody's Brewing Oyster Night is back! February 22nd annual Oyster Night with Fishpeople Seafood Market and Willow Wine Cellars
pFriem Family Brewers Wednesday Night Specials are back at pFriem and they are offering both Chicken & Waffles and Fried Chicken Dinner. 4:30-9:00pm every Wednesday at the Tasting Room.
Pho River Hood River is still trying to repair their damage from the Winter freeze. They had ceiling and equipment damage. No news yet on when they can reopen.
Solstice Woodfire Cafe is back open today after a short break to refinish the cafe floors!
China Gorge will be back open Saturday. Hood River Eats your food and drink updates.
Valentine’s day is coming up quickly for those wanting to secure reservations. Be sure to reach out to your favorite spot. Even those who don’t take reservations normally, might make an exception for the day of romance.
Ingrid's Cheesecakes and Pastries has an event this Friday, February 3rd, at 301 Gallery on Oak Street from 3:30pm to 7:00 pm. They will also have a limited amount of mini cheesecakes for sale, including some Gluten- free options
Packer Orchards Has specialty Valentine's sweets including chocolate covered strawberries.
Columbia Gorge Confections has two special boxes of chocolates for two or four. They are also offering a cake decorating class Dani's Kitchen Shop Feb 11. The store is brimming with ideas.
Dani's Kitchen Shop is offering a pop-up cookie day for your Valentine’s favorites. The pop-up is Friday, February 10th from 10-2pm at the kitchen 1545 Osprey Drive, Hood River. You can pre-order on their website.
Pine Street Bakery will have decorated cookies, Linzer cookies, chocolate ganache sandwich cookies, heart shaped hand pies filled with a baked strawberry filling and valentine cookie decorating kits. Special orders available.
Working Hands Fermentation is offering a Valentine's evening with a seated dessert pairing featuring Working Hands beer & cider with Columbia Gorge Confections desserts. A special menu of 4 small-bite desserts paired beautifully. Eventbrite ticket bit.ly/Working-Hands-Love
Votum Restaurant is open and ready for reservations. Dinner service Thursday through Monday. Reservations: Exploretock.com/votum-restaurant-hood-river
Gorges Beer Co. is having Ladies night! Fun and friendship at the Galentine's Day event at the brewery on February 11th. Valentine's Day dinner for two on February 14th. Reservations are filling up fast!
Tierra de Lobos Winery in The Dalles is having a special Valentine, galentine or palentine with an afternoon of wine, charcuterie and s’mores! Start indoors (or outside), then head over to a fire pit to make your s’mores! February 11th & 12th. Reservation online.
Local Rhoots is hosting a Galentine’s Night on Saturday, February 11th at 6pm! So get your best girls and come on down for a fun night of food, drinks, music, and friends. Ticket includes a festive dinner of Mexican Sopes and Traditional Quesadillas and one complimentary drink ticket. Space is limited.
Mount Hood BBQ now has the TOAST app up and running. Just download the app for ordering and if you sign up for rewards program you receive loyalty points for signing up. Every $1 spent earns points. Door Dash is also coming soon!
Remedy Juice-Cafe starts a community cleanse on MONDAY February 6th with Glass Jars and New Menu! Still feeling a bit naughty after the holiday indulgence? Sign up now online.
Be sure to reach out to Hood River Eats on instagram or facebook for everything food, drink and maker related in The Gorge. Email: TheRealHREats@Gmail.com