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.