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Teacher opens café for parents and kids to share in Sellwood

Photo Credit: RITA A. LEONARD - Owner Melissa Swan, left, serves breakfast specials to Andrew Teitelman and Ashley Alan at her new Pied Piper Play Café in Sellwood. Former teacher Melissa Swan felt there was something lacking for parents of small children in Inner Southeast, and set about to provide it – by opening the Pied Piper Play Café at 8609 S.E. 17th Avenue.

The concept is to offer space for local families – parents and their children – to enjoy an outing with coffee, conversation, and a rotating collection of toys in a colorful play area. “We want parents to find comfort, and kids to find fun here. We hope to embed education, stories, and sing-a-longs in a place that feels both adventurous and safe,” Swan explains.

The space was once occupied by the Twin Paradox coffee shop, next to Thai Square. It provides an opportunity for caregivers and kids to get out, make connections, share tips, and enjoy a new scene. Parents monitor their own children while developing connections with their peers.

A fundraising boost from “KickStarter” helped furnish and outfit the Play Café with couches, a jungle gym, and a variety of toys. “I want it to be perfect for children of all ages and adventure levels,” says Swan. “Eventually we hope to offer Saturday classes in art, music, science, and other enrichment areas.” Friends helped her remodel and paint the space, and set up its inviting environment; Grand Opening week was January 11-17, and hours are daily, 8 am-6 pm. Anyone can drop in at the Café, but the play area is only for kids whose parents have each paid $3/day.

If a family visits frequently, they can buy a monthly or annual pass for their kids, although children under 12 months play free. Parents need to monitor their own kids in the play area, where socks, but no shoes, are required.

A staff of five oversees the food area, with seating for thirty. The menu includes breakfast items, sandwiches, daily soups, salad, and baked goods. Parents with young children like getting out of the house, and Ms. Swan believes they should enjoy this new space to connect with nearby families.

The Play Café will close on certain holidays such as Christmas, and also for two-hour periods for rented/reserved birthday parties, but prior notice of those will be posted on Pied Piper’s Facebook page. Call 503/498-6550 for information, or to rent the space for birthday parties.

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