COOS BAY — Longtime friends Kaisa Bourgidu and De Dee Peterson knew immediately upon entering the warehouse on 737 N. Front Street located in Coos Bay’s Historic Waterfront District that they had found "the one."
“The universe put us together at the right time and the right place,” Peterson said. “We had a vision, saw the vision and then created it.”
Like that, the two native Coos County residents founded Front Street Provisioners, a café and event hall offering community members specialized, fresh food items and wine.
“We’re a wood fire café and Neapolitan style pizzeria,” Bourgidu said. “We also have wines from all around the world including the three great wine regions of France, Italy and Oregon.”
With an authentic Italian Mugnaini wood fire oven nestled in the heart of its kitchen, the café features a menu of seasonally and locally sourced ingredients from throughout the South Coast.
“We have an incredible bounty of produce here,” Bourgidu said. “We have places like Valley Flora Farm and the Coos Head Food Co-Op who are both inspirations and sources for us to choose from.”
In addition to its wine and artisan dishes, the location also features a retail shop with handcrafted items from clothing pieces to wine accessories from a variety of local and global brands.
“The items that are on our menu will also be offered for retail,” Peterson said. “We know it’s really hard to find certain things in town like a particular olive oil, cheese or balsamic vinegar. So, we’ll have those available.”
For over 30 years, Bourgidu and Peterson have dedicated their time to perfecting their individual crafts, raising their families and strengthening their entrepreneur skills. After graduating from North Bend High School, Bourgidu travelled north to Portland and Seattle where she learned about the restaurant industry from some of the industry’s well known players.
“I was playing in bands up in Seattle during the whole grudge scene and touring a lot,” Bourgidu said. “I started doing restaurant work because it gave me the flexibility that I needed and it sort of became my parallel career. I just fell in love with Italian food and wine.”
Bourgidu, who has a level four qualification from the Wine and Spirit Education Trust in Portland, has worked at a number of restaurants including the Wild Ginger and El Gaucho in Seattle. In 2007, she co-founded Porta, an Italian restaurant in North Bend, which brought her back to the coast and allowed her to re-connect with Peterson for the first time since the two graduated high school.
For Peterson, her travels landed her on the east coast where she spent many years working in retail and eventually opened her own skateboard and snowboard shop in Providence, Rhode Island. In between, she too learned the ins and outs of the restaurant and wine industry working as a server for numerous restaurants.
In 2007, Peterson leaped into the world of women’s health and became a labor and delivery nurse. She founded the North Bend charity, Girls Fight Like Girls, which provides financial assistance to patients battling breast cancer in Coos County.
“It’s always been important for us to find a place where people can be comfortable and have a space they can enjoy,” Peterson said. “I love teaching and community so having a place like this we can host cancer survivorship classes or cooking classes for those with gestational diabetes. The possibilities are endless.”
Combining their skills and ideas, Bourgidu and Peterson said they have a wide array of plans for the future of the business.
“We love working on the waterfront and being a part of the Front Street revival,” Bourgidu said. “Our goal is to really foster community and enhance our regional identity. We know this area is growing and we want to provide a central place where people from all walks in the community can be and enjoy.”
Beginning Jan. 6, Front Street Provisioners will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Sundays. For more information on scheduling an event or café hours you can call its main office at 541-808-3420 or visit its website at http://frontstreetprovisioners.com/.