On Friday, we heard that Pat’s Restaurant and Bakery was closed, leaving a sign in a window on a place that was one of Bremerton’s longtime gathering spots. It was hard to go in there without seeing someone you knew. I’ll personally miss the harvest pancakes with orange butter.
Reporter Steven Gardner is trying to follow up on the closure today, asking about what happened and things like, ‘What will happen to all those cookie jars?’
When I posted about it on the Sun’s Facebook page, people lamented the loss of the local business, and generated one of the longest Facebook page comment threads I’ve seen in awhile.
The closing also inspired one woman, Heather Wood, to send us her touching memories of Pat’s, which I thought I’d share with you Food Life readers:
Pat’s Restaurant and Bakery Closes its Doors after 29 Years
By Heather Wood
This piece is about food, well really, about life. But you ought to know that I am not a writer by profession. In fact, I am in the field of finance and play with numbers all day. However, I don’t know that anyone else could truly tell this story as I could, and so I feel compelled to write it.
In 1981, a woman named Pat opened the doors up of a bakery in East Bremerton’s Wheaton Mall. It was called Pat’s Cookie Jar back then, and was a delight to a little girl’s eyes! Cases of cookies, brownies, cinnamon rolls. My mother would take me there after preschool and let me pick out a treat. I loved the lemon bars. We would sit at a table, munching away, while she listened to me babble on about finger-painting, story time, and the like. Those were special mother-daughter times that I will never forget.
In the summer, my brother and I would beg to go there for lunch. We would walk into the packed restaurant and press our noses up against the bakery cases, admiring the frosted shortbread cookies. Then, we’d take a seat, arguing over who would get to sit next to mommy, of course! I would order an egg salad sandwich and he would order a BLT. While we waited for our food to come, we would look around at the cookie jars that were the restaurant’s décor and try to decide which ones we liked the best.
We’ve had birthday parties there. My graduation party was celebrated there. We’ve gathered with friends and extended family there. My parents have enjoyed anniversary and Valentine dinners there. Pat’s Restaurant and Bakery has been a part of the moments of our lives, both the small, everyday bits that go forgotten, and those bigger moments you never forget.
One of the things I’ve appreciated the most about Pat’s is the dignity with which the staff has always treated my family. You see, my brother has autism, and this sometimes leads to awkward moments in restaurants: stares and dirty looks from fellow patrons and somewhat curt treatment from restaurant staff at times. It was never like this at Pat’s, though. We were at home there. Relaxed. Comfortable. And the staff would even call my brother my name.
A few years ago, we donated our family cookie jar to Pat’s. It’s the yellow cupcake one with chocolate frosting and a cherry on top!
In recent years, my family has dined there two to three nights a week. This past Tuesday, my family drove out to Pat’s for dinner once again. But it was dark inside. The door was locked, and there was a sign on it saying “Thank you for 29 years.” As they were walking away to leave, one of the restaurant’s former employees pulled up and confirmed for my family that Pat’s Restaurant and Bakery had closed its doors for the last time on Sunday, January 24th, due to financial issues related to our Nation’s recession. The employee said that Pat’s will likely hold an auction at some point to liquidate its assets: tables… chairs… those dozens of beloved cookie jars…
My mother called me that night with the news. She said it made her want to cry. It made me want to cry as well! This is the loss of more than just a restaurant and of great food; it is the loss of a piece of our community, a loss of a piece of our lives.
To the former staff of Pat’s: You have served us well. You have been a part of my family and of my history. There is not a single month I can think of in the past 29 years of my life that you all have not been a part of. I have so many good memories filed away: laughter and blackberry pie all mixed together… lunch with my grandmother, who we lost many years ago… conversations with my mother about college life on weekends home… You have enriched our lives more than you could ever know. There are truly no words adequate in the English language to express my family’s gratitude to you all. Thank YOU for twenty-nine amazing years! We love you and wish you well on life’s journey.