After nearly 10 years in business, Bayview’s popular Basil Cafe has closed its doors.
The pan-Asian restaurant that served everything from Vietnamese pho noodle soup to Thai bites seemed to leave in a flash, but another eatery quickly stepped in to fill the hole. Whidbey Doughnuts is slated open its doors to serve fried sweets in October.
“We know we have big shoes to fill,” Scott Parks, Whidbey Doughnuts co-owner, said. “Everybody loved Chung (Basil Cafe’s owner) and his restaurant, they were around for a long time. But we’re here to make it OK with something South Whidbey doesn’t have — doughnuts.”
Basil Cafe owner Chung Tran, originally from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, closed his restaurant on Aug. 15. According to Sandy Whiting, executive director for Goosefoot, the nonprofit that owns the storefronts in the Bayview Cash Store, he closed up shop as he “wanted to have more time with his family.” She says he’s entered “semi-retirement” and doesn’t plan to open a new restaurant, at least not in the near future.
Attempts to reach Tran for this story were unsuccessful.
Originally opening his restaurant in 2008, Tran became a beloved face in the South Whidbey restaurant scene as patrons “loved his personality,” according to Whiting. Hoping to sell his business to a South Whidbey resident rather than an off-island business mogul, according to Parks, he didn’t take long to accept Parks’ offer. Whidbey Doughnuts will lease the space from Goosefoot.
“I believe once Chung moved out on the 15th, Scott was in there doing repair work on the 16th,” Whiting said. “I know he wants to open as soon as he can.”
Parks is hoping to bring something different to South Whidbey with a taste of the East Coast. Having lived in Massachusetts where there were “doughnut places every four or five blocks,” he was surprised when he moved here years back and found hardly any doughnut shops. He’s hoping to right that wrong by starting his family-owned business, and adds he’s also hoping to accommodate dietary restrictions with gluten free doughnut options. Parks says he’s also going to source his ingredients as locally as possible.
Parks hopes to open Whidbey Doughnuts by Oct. 1.
It’ll be a big change for him, as he recently worked for one of the world’s largest software companies. The switch was a sweet side of the business world he was eager to taste.
“For me, having worked at Microsoft, I wanted less cubicle and more doughnuts,” Parks said. “I want to set up a fun, family-ran establishment as I’m a co-owner with my partner and brother-in-law.”
Parks is hoping to reel in the customers with long and flexible hours, which he says is common at urban East Coast doughnut shops. The doors are slated to open at 6 a.m. on a daily basis to “catch the morning commuters,” while the store is set to stay open until 8 p.m. The menu will have lunch and dinner options, Parks says.
“We want to fill a gap on South Whidbey by opening early, since there doesn’t seem to be that many early morning places, although Whidbey has a lot of early risers,” Parks said. “We’re also going for a different flavor, with an emphasis on the sweet and savory combination. I’m thinking donuts and chicken.”