Owners envision a gathering house

Photo Credit: ESTACADA NEWS PHOTO: ISABEL GAUTSCHI - Mark and Amy Cate, owners of Estacada's newest restaurant, say a few words at a ribbon cutting ceremony for The Mason Jar on Thursday, July 31, as Rep. Bill Kennemer looks on.By the numbers — 360 hot dogs, three gallons of lavender syrup and 12 gallons of lemonade: That’s how Amy Cate measures The Mason Jar’s first week in business.

The place has been “swamped” she said happily as she took a break from selling the café’s popular lavender lemonade to give an interview.

Cate, a former office manager, and her husband, Mark, a former mechanic, opened the café in the historic Mason Building on Broadway Street on July 24.

Referencing the city’s plans to revamp the public amenities on Broadway, Amy said that the vision for the Broadway Streetscape Project was part of what attracted them to Estacada.

“I just thought it was the perfect spot,” she said. “I love sleepy little towns.”

Photo Credit: ESTACADA NEWS PHOTO: ISABEL GAUTSCHI - Estacada may give Portland a run for its money with its obsession with all things local. The scones are made locally. All the furniture in the restaurant was purchased locally at Wade Creek House. And of course, The Mason Jar's drinks are served in mason jars.She connected with city leaders’ vision of maintaining Estacada’s small town identity, but cashing in on the city’s quirky cultural niche to keep people in town and attract visitors.

“I always feel each little town deserves its niche,” she said.

And a little café, too.

Amy and Mark have a dream that the The Mason Jar will become a “gathering house” for people to come sit with a book; an after school destination for children to study or hang out with friends and, of course, for customers to enjoy the coffee, baked goods, sandwiches and the rest of the menu.

“I think that’s the new thing we’ve brought, is a place that citizens and tourists can use as a living room,” Amy said.

In moving to Estacada, Amy said she had heard that there wasn’t a lot for people, and especially kids, to do in town during the winter.

“We want to combat that and have reasons for people to come out of their house,” she said.

The couple is planning several events to draw people to the Mason Jar downtown.

In the works are an end of summer party with Hawaiian pulled pork and hot dogs, a Halloween Bash and several Christmas events including an ugly sweater party.

While The Mason Jar is across the street from another coffee shop that serves as a local hub, Barbara’s Flowers & Coffee, the two establishments have an air of friendly sportsmanship in their interactions.

On the day of Cate’s interview, a bouquet and card congratulating The Mason Jar from Barbara’s were prominently displayed.

“The more I thought about it, what we are trying to do is totally different,” Amy said, emphasizing that she had no intention of trying to steal customers.

Photo Credit: CONTRIBUTED - Owner Amy Cate says that The Mason Jar's lavender lemonade has been the cafe's most popular item so far.She noted the two establishments have different hours and that The Mason Jar is busy in the evenings and Saturday afternoons when Barbara’s is closed.

“As small as it is, I think this town is big enough for the two of us,” Amy said.

It’s important to the Cates to be part of the town.

The two moved to Estacada prior to opening the Mason Jar.

“We felt that that was important,” Cate said. “If we’re going to ask the community to support us, we’re going to be part of the community.”

Everyone they’ve hired so far has been local, Amy noted.

The furniture is all local as well, purchased from Wade Creek House, she added.

A lot of the sounds will be local, too.

When asked about the large stage near the windows at the front of the café, Amy said they’ve already been approached by several local musicians.

“We plan to use them frequently,” she said.

Shortly before a ribbon cutting ceremony, attended by the likes of Estacada Mayor Brent Dodrill and Rep. Bill Kennemer, on Thursday, July 31, Amy noted how happy she was with the restaurant’s first week in business.

“I don’t really consider it a job, it’s just fun,” she said.

The Mason Jar is located in the Mason Building at 360 S. Broadway.

It’s open 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

For more information call The Mason Jar at 503-630-2233 or find them on Facebook for updates and specials.

This article was edited on Aug. 22 to use the correct spelling of the Cates' last name. The Estacada News regrets the misspelling that ran in the print version of this article.

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