North Richland’s Ethos Bakery & Trattoria is curbing its evening hours as owners Angela Kora and Scot Newell refocus on catering, events and business meetings.
As of Tuesday, Ethos Trattoria is open for the daytime coffee and pastry business, but now closes early during the week. The new hours are from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday through Thursday and 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays.
It’s a shrewd move by Kora and Newell that acknowledges the challenges of wooing the dinner crowd to north Richland.
The spot at 800 Dalton Street is near the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the Washington State University Tri-Cities campus. There are lots of daytime customers, but the crowds thin in the evening and on weekends.
“It’s hard to sustain operations when it’s not consistent or predictable,” said Kora. But the catering and event business took off as area wineries, the lab and WSU filled its order books.
In light of growing demand for catering services and events, Ethos modified its business plan. It curtailed its dinner hours and is preparing to move its bakery, currently housed at Horn Rapids in space leased from the Port of Benton, to the restaurant.
“The hope is by consolidating our hours and focusing on those special events, we’ll be able to be more efficient,” Kora said.
In another big move, Ethos added the Walter Clore Wine & Culinary Center in Prosser to its list of partners, expanding its reach toward Yakima and the Lower Valley’s lucrative list of wineries.
Walter Clore will offer sweet and savory snack plates and other items from Ethos in its tasting room. The wine center also has added Ethos to its list of 11 approved caterers for private events.
Ethos Bakery & Trattoria is the brainchild of Kora and Newell. The couple met in a coffee shop and as the relationship progressed, imagined what they might do if they didn’t have day jobs.
Kora, an engineer who focused on energy efficiency at PNNL, loved cooking and considers baking a form of stress release. Newell, a Tri-City native, came from a family of entrepreneurs and was eager to step out.
In 2011, they opened Ethos Bakery at Horn Rapids, determined to bring the local food movement and a lively approach to food and beverage pairings to the Tri-Cities. The Ethos brand in time grew to include a creamery, cafe and eventually a restaurant.
Ethos Bakery’s wood-fired ovens provided pizza to a neighboring brewery. The business provided baked goods to local coffee shops, venturing eventually into retail and farmers market.
As the retail business grew, Ethos added catering. It organized five-course wine dinners that showcased local wineries and soon built a following with wineries eager to pair their vintages with upscale food offerings.
“We’d cook around them,” Kora said.
Kora left PNNL in summer 2013 to make Ethos her full-time calling.
A year later, Kora and Newell were ready for the next step: A full-fledged restaurant.
They turned to Kickstarter for investors, raising nearly $38,000 from 205 backers, including 10 Red Mountain wineries. After several delays, Ethos Trattoria made its debut a year ago.
As Ethos shifts toward the event and catering market, it’s not abandoning its craft roots. Kora said baking appeals to the engineer in her with its precise requirements. And creating a menu that taps into the Mid-Columbia’s abundant food sources appeals to her background in sustainability and efficiency.
“We work as much as we can with local farmers,” she said. “We do as much as we can. The general population is starting to appreciate that.”