If you are unfamiliar with the name Marianne Brown, you must know her business. Marianne is the cheerful and friendly owner of the Red Cup Café in Old Town, a wonderful place to grab a coffee or something to eat while chatting with friends and enjoying the view of the Mukilteo Waterfront. This week we talked to Marianne about how she got started and what inspires her.
DM: How did you get started in the restaurant business?
MB: I worked in High school and college in restaurants. When working in the corporate world hurt too much, I decided to search for fun again. I wanted to find a coffee shop with an excellent location to spend my days. I searched all over and found Whidbey Coffee Café and could not get it out of my mind. This was where I wanted to be, and I had to make it happen. I had no idea that it would get to be my business someday.
DM: Who inspired you to take this path?
MB: My brother spent time listening to my dreams and encouraged me to go for it. I worked for Whidbey Coffee for a few years and left for a management position in another company that did not go well. I stayed connected with Dan Ollis of Whidbey Coffee and he offered to sell his Mukilteo location to me. It was an exciting and scary time. I am forever in his debt for giving me this opportunity. He has been a great contributor to my success because of his mentoring and encouragement.
DM: What is your favorite food to make?
MB: I love to make homemade soups
DM: What is your favorite food to eat?
MB: I adore fish tacos
DM: What inspires your ideas for recipes?
MB: I am always keeping my eyes open for inspiration in eateries that I visit, searching online, and watching current trends. I really try to find healthy recipes with an interesting flair to them. We have a small kitchen with no grill, so it gets tricky.
DM: If you could have dinner with someone (alive or dead, real, or fictional), who would it be and why?
MB: My most favorite guided meditations are by Sarah Blondin. I would be so stoked to have dinner with her and hear more of her stories. She quit Hollywood and moved to the country in Canada with her husband and boys. I am inspired by her authenticity and courage.
DM: Is there an achievement or contribution that you are most proud of and why?
MB: I am most proud of how I came to be at the café and my journey to purchase it. So many magical moments have come from following this dream and continue to happen quite often. It has been an adventure sprinkled with moments of sheer terror.
DM: What was most surprising to you about ___?
MB: The support and kindness of people here in this community.
Many customers were concerned about us, especially during the pandemic.
We could not have survived without their intentional support.
DM: What was the biggest challenge you face as a restauranteur?
MB: My biggest challenge is hiring a wonderful team. It is an ongoing process that requires always staying aware of how we interact with each other. We do not have to be best friends, but we need to enjoy being at work together. That is crucial.
DM: Is there anything else you would like to share with me?
MB: Mukilteo has always been a welcoming city, and I cannot imagine making this work as well in any other city.