By Polly Keary, Editor
As summer got underway in the Sky Valley, changes in the business community were underway, as well.
Lewis Street is losing two long-time businesses.
Eddie’s Trackside, a popular restaurant and music venue, is closing after the weekend of July 12 and 13, following a bank foreclosure
on their landlord and the subsequent doubling of the rent there.
And Haight Carpet, a flooring and tile store and installation service which has been on Lewis Street for many years, closed its Monroe location July 1 and moved everything to their Woodinville location, consolidating their showrooms.
But there are some new faces in town, as well.
In the small shopping center on Lenton Place just off Kelsey and U.S. 2, two new restaurants opened within days of each other last month.
Pho Thanh Na, Monroe’s first Vietnamese noodle house, opened with a small traditional pho menu. For the initiated, pho (pronounced “fuh”) is the national dish of Vietnam, and is basically a flavorful soup broth, usually beef, served with long white rice noodles and a selection of meats and condiments. Some meats are served raw and paper thin, and cook when added to the hot broth. Others, like small, halved meatballs, flank steak or even the more exotic tendon, arrive in the soup itself.
To eat it, one adds the rare meats and fresh bean sprouts to the broth and then various flavorings, such as sliced jalepeno, sprigs of
Thai basil and lime wedges. Fiery red sriracha sauce and sweet hoisin sauce can also be added to the broth, or to each bite after it is carefully loaded with chopsticks into a wide soup spoon.
Pho Thanh Na offers various combinations of meats, such as sliced steak, rare beef, meatballs and more. Veggie pho and chicken pho are also options, and the restaurant has bubble tea, as well, which is a sweet creamy drink with flavors such as mango and coconut, served with a wide straw to suck up the “bubbles,” which are chewy, mildly sweet pearls of tapioca.
Next door to it, Yoforeya, a frozen yogurt restaurant, is offering cold treats for the hot months. In the rainbow sherbet-hued shop, customers serve themselves from several soft-serve frozen yogurt dispensers built into the walls, then top their concoctions from a wide array of treats such as nuts, crushed cookies or candy and fresh fruit, then add sauces and whipped cream.
Then the creation is weighed at the counter and customers pay by the ounce.
The self-serve yogurt houses have been a recent craze all over the country, and this is Monroe’s first.
Not new, but returning, is Sweet Deal Produce, a Tualco Valley fresh produce market that is open seasonally and got off to a late start this year, reopening June 23.
The store, south of Monroe on SR 203, carries a large amount of locally-grown groceries, currently including cucumbers, rhubarb, asparagus, cherries and a variety of berries.
Expanding is NW Surplus Swap Meet, housed in the old Stupid Prices building on West Main. The business is made up of a group of vendors each selling things ranging from rocks and gems to Avon to used goods.
The business is owned by John Lucarelli, who sells collectibles there, including rare nostalgia items such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle figurines and Mad Magazine memorabilia.
In the few months since it opened, the business has grown to include 18 vendors and could fit about five more, Lucarelli said.
“Our motto is ‘A place to go picking without grossing anybody out,'” said Lucarelli. “If you like to hunt for treasure, you should be here.”