Diners share storm stories at 12th Ave. Café

January 24, 2012

By Tom Corrigan

As of about 11 a.m. Jan. 21, the 12th Ave. Café in the Issaquah Commons was packed. Every table was filled and a dozen or so people waited in the small area in the front of the eatery for their chance to sit down.

A hostess for the café, Ashley Hutchinson, was one of the several employees rushing around the very busy restaurant. During a brief respite after taking a to-go order, Hutchinson said the café had reopened the morning of Jan. 20 after closing early the morning of the day before due to a loss of power brought on by the storms that hit Jan. 18.

While the café was open Jan. 20, most of Northwest Gilman Boulevard still seemed dark and oddly deserted that afternoon. The only store obviously up and running was QFC supermarket, open thanks to a generator and seemingly doing a very brisk business.

The following day, with power restored, Gilman and its many shopping plazas were packed with shoppers and visitors. At the café, one man said local residents all were suffering from cabin fever.

“Everybody’s been stuck in the house and wanting to get out,” said the customer, who would only give his name as Ryan.

Hutchinson said café visitors were coming from as far as Snoqualmie, where power outages were rumored to remain widespread. Sure enough, after Hutchinson made her comment, one couple waiting to be seated said they had made the drive down from Snoqualmie because their home still was without power.

“We were just cold and kind of hungry,” Shirley Galante said.

When the power went down in the wee hours of Jan. 19, Galante said she and husband Rob stoked up their fireplace to try and keep warm. Rob Galante said the couple had used nearly all of the firewood he had intended to last most of the winter.

While heat was a problem, Shirley Galante said the biggest obstacle turned out to be the inability to cook food.

“I will be very glad to have a warm meal,” she said.

When the power died at her Issaquah home, Peggy Bastyr said she shortly had no choice but to head to her mother’s home in Seattle. She was holding the reason in her arms. Unable to heat formula for her son, 8-month old Todd, Bastyr said she had to hit the road despite the stormy weather. She said she had never driven in the snow previously.

“I was scared to death,” she admitted, adding that she had only returned to Issaquah that morning. Her husband missed the entire adventure, being out of town on business.

Also waiting for a table in the café, Issaquah’s Dan Powers said he thought local news outlets had blown the storm out of proportion. In fact, Powers said he was watching TV coverage of the weather when his power died early Jan. 19. It came back early Jan. 21. Besides heat, he and girlfriend Angela Moore said the biggest problem was simple boredom.

“We just didn’t have much to do,” Moore said.

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