It’s a damp September morning in Homer. The front door swings open.
“Pretty little shop here,” a lady says, crossing the wide plank floor to the counter.
There’s a view of the bay from the window. Artwork by Homer artist Marjorie Scholl decorates the walls. Single nasturtiums in tiny glass vases dot the room with color.
It is a pretty little shop.
After years of planning, the Fat Olives Coffee Shop opened last month.
“I think probably 15 years ago I thought about putting a coffee shop in here,” said owner, Steve (Tiny) Nolan. “The property wasn’t available at the time. Then, when we bought it, I always thought that we’d do a coffee shop.”
Nolan and his wife, Lisa, currently own Fat Olives Restaurant in Homer, as well as Fat Olives in Richland, Wash. They also are past owners of the Homestead Restaurant, as well as Café Cups and Fritz Creek General Store.
The Nolans purchased the Fat Olives property, which was formerly a school bus garage, about 13 years ago, and have had the pieces for the coffee shop for almost half that time.
But things came up. And the coffee shop was put on hold.
“The funny thing about all that stuff in there, is that it’s all brand new — but its eight years old,” said Nolan.
Although a nice espresso machine helps, Nolan said the secret to their espresso is having good coffee beans to begin with. And doing that coffee justice.
Fat Olives has used K-Bay coffee since its inception in 2002, and Nolan said their relationship with K-Bay Caffe owner Michael McGuire goes back even farther. When they owned Fritz Creek General Store the Nolans made muffins that McGuire sold at his drive through.
“We’ve been fans of Michael’s work forever,” said Nolan. “He’s got his finger on it.”
In addition to locally roasted espresso, the coffee shop offers sweet treats and savories, which are handmade by Lisa Nolan. Soon, a daily soup will be added to the selection.
So why another coffee shop in Homer?
Nolan said because he thinks there should be a drive-through coffee shop on the Bypass.
This particular drive-through has something special. Most coffee shops have a warm, inviting atmosphere. But Nolan said that usually ends with the building walls, leaving the drive-through kind of sterile.
So he did something different.
An additional roof was built off the side of the coffee shop — over the drive-up window. With the roof, Nolan said it feels like you’re still coming into the coffee shop, even though you’re in your car.
“You never know how things are going to feel, but I think people like it,” Nolan said. “I think they’ll really like it in the winter.”
Now that the coffee shop is open Nolan said they have gone from point A to B with the property. All that’s left is a little landscaping and a line of Fat Olives hoodies and T-shirts available next summer.
That leaves time for another project that has been on hold — the Schooler Nolan Winery in Walla Walla, Wash. Later this fall, the Nolans plan to offer a chardonnay and pinot Gris from their winery at Fat Olives.
And then what?
Grinning, Nolan said, “Is there something happening on the Spit? I don’t know…”
Fat Olives Coffee Shop is open 7 a.m.-4 p.m. daily.