A restaurant with a view

"If there's one thing Barbie Mills has going for her at her new cafe, it's the view. It's stunning.Large windows look out on Hood Canal, Seabeck Marina and the Olympic Mountains, and great blue herons and bald eagles rest on nearby floats. It's so picturesque, Mills said she hopes artists will take advantage of the vista to sketch or paint. I'm not too worried about getting people in and out of here - I want it to be a hang-out, Mills said.Mills opened Barbie's Seabeck Bay Cafe a month ago. She hopes it will become a place locals can gather and tourists can get a taste of the community. She gave the former Snack Shack a paint job, and put tablecloths and fresh-cut flowers on the tables. The community contributed the rest. Seabeck residents donated plants, netting, paintings and other maritime items to help decorate the bistro. Everybody wants to see it be a success, Mills said. Barbie's Seabeck Bay Cafe hasn't yet advertised, and no sign has been posted, but business is steady. The real reason I did it is because I wanted somewhere people could come, hang out and be a community, Mills said. There are older people who don't want to cook, they need a restaurant. The restaurant is open for breakfast and lunch and the simple menu features omelettes, crab or shrimp sandwiches, other deli sandwiches and soup in a cup or in a bread bowl. The $1.99 breakfast special, which includes an egg, hash browns and toast, has been popular, Mills said. Although she always has been fond of cooking, Mills has no formal restaurant experience and welcomes culinary hints from her patrons.The bistro has just five tables, few enough for one person to cook and serve. Mills usually works alone but her daughter, Caitlan, helps during rush times. Barbie's Seabeck Bay Cafe features an ice cream bar with 10 Washington-made flavors, including huckleberry and praline pecan. That's in addition to homemade apple cake, cream pies and other restaurant deserts. Mills' menu is limited because the restaurant is located in an environmentally sensitive area - right over the water - and the building's sensitive aerobic septic system cannot handle grease or dairy products. The Snack Shack, the restaurant formerly located in Mill's location, was shut down by the health department three years ago because of concerns the old septic system was leaking. Seabeck General Store owners Anne and Dale Richardson finally were given the OK to reopen this year with a new septic system. Mills worked for the Richardsons at the general store for 10 years, and agreed to lease the adjacent building and open a restaurant.Mills eventually would like to open for dinner on special occasions, she said, but for now she will just serve breakfast and lunch.We'd like to get into serving fish. I'm looking for ways to prepare it and talking to people about what type of fish to serve, Mills said.The cafe opens at 7 a.m. and closes at 3 or 4 p.m. Barbie's Seabeck Bay Cafe is located at 15384 Seabeck Highway N.W., right behind the Seabeck General Store. For more information, call Mills at 830-5532. "

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