If you drive by the nondescript strip-mall-style-office-park-building thingie on 198th Street in Lynnwood (across from the Goodwill) you probably wouldn't look twice, or even once, for that matter.
Unless, of course, you are in the know and have gotten a chance to preview Playdate Cafe. The sign isn't up yet and its hasn't had its ribbon-cutting (it's in "soft launch" stage, see details below) but there is magic happening behind those doors, I tell you, magic.
Super-savvy owner Lizz Quain has big dreams for little people. I began hearing a buzz about her new venture on a local moms' Facebook Group. I went to go check her new place out and she was kind enough to give me a tour.
Here's the scoop. Playdate Cafe goes well beyond a coffee and sandwich place that caters to young families. This is a third place, a meeting spot for wee ones and their grown-ups. I remember well the days of being trapped between naps, desperately needing to get out somewhere, anywhere, where your kiddos could get the wiggles out. I seriously think having something like The Playdate Cafe would have left me with a little more sanity intact.
The spacious (a whooping 8500-plus-square-feet) former office building has been cute-ified and brightened up with soothing sherbet-y colors, bold graphics and fanciful artwork, interactive magnetic murals, a blinking marquee, climbing and bouncing areas, ride-on toys, a gated baby area . . . and the list goes on. You name it — Quain has already thought of it. There is even a no-kids allowed lounge — a grown-up cry room of sorts. She has engaged a slew of talented peeps to put it all together — building community before they even served the first latte. While I was there the local fire inspector stopped by, not to check on code, but to donate some old hose for the custom wooden firetruck that will soon be placed on the play floor. Clearly the community is welcoming this concept with wide-open arms.
Playdate Cafe will offer sandwiches, baked goodies, coffee, tea, juices, and get this — in-house organic baby food, all with an emphasis on healthy, top-quality ingredients (she somehow managed to swing a wholesale agreement with Cafe Ladro and offers the Art of Tea) and as many local and organic sources as possible. The offerings will be nut-free, and free of high-fructose corn syrup, and she strives to use local, healthy and wholesome ingredients whenever possible.
The play areas are just a start — Quain has a whole host of activities, classes and opportunities planned for her space. There is a ballet/dance studio, party rooms and in the future a retail space and preschool will be added.
If you go ...
Playdate Cafe is in a "soft launch" stage right now; where, you can sign up on a list for a turn to play. (There's been lots of interest already, so you might have to wait a bit.) Sign up, and get details about their prices and policies here. The Grand Opening ribbon-cutting will be in mid-March. Keep updated by checking out the Facebook page.
Prices: $8 for all-day play; $6 for siblings or crawlers.
Hours: Monday–Thursday, 9 a.m.–4 p.m.; Friday, 9 a.m.–8 p.m.; Saturday–Sunday 10 a.m.–2 p.m.
Where: Playdate Cafe
4114 198th Street S.W., Suite 3,
Emily Metcalfe Smith lives and writes in Edmonds and is frankly a little miffed at Lizz Quain for not being there for her when she needed it 10 years ago.