Ruby’s Restaurant opens in Greenbank

GREENBANK — For seven years, the space above Coupe’s Greenbank Store sat vacant. Between restaurant proprietors vacating and the Coupes suffering through personal losses, the last time a restaurant served food was in 2000, said Mary Coupe, co-owner of the Greenbank Store.

“We didn’t have the energy to do more because we wanted to spend more time with family,” Coupe said.

That changed, with maybe a little divine intervention.

“I finally decided that I wanted to try to have my own business again, a café,” said Jan Burrow of Coupeville.

“I checked into several places and one day, literally, I drove to the store here and I walked up to Mary and asked her how she would feel if I rented the space upstairs and have a café in there again. She said, ‘I’ve been praying for the right person to contact me.’”

“Jan Burrow has been an answer to a prayer where we had asked to send us people who would reopen it,” Coupe said.

So now Burrow’s Ruby’s Restaurant, has moved in and has begun serving all-American breakfast and lunch fare.

Burrow had not always wanted to own a restaurant. She was born in Yuma, Ariz. and raised in Scottsdale, and grew up thinking she would be a professional ballet dancer after her mother initially enrolled her in dance classes.

“My mother put me in ballet class so that she and her friend could go have lunch and shop,” she said. “So she threw me and her other friend’s daughter into a ballet, tap and jazz class on Saturdays so they could go have fun.

I was a natural at it and I remember that I would come home and not shut up about it.”

“When I graduated from high school, I went to the University of Utah where I got a bachelor’s of fine arts and a master’s degree in fine art in ballet, with a teaching-in-choreography emphasis in 1982,” Burrow said. “I performed professionally during the years between my bachelor and my master’s degrees, with Ballet West in Utah and with some smaller companies.”

Burrow danced professionally in Ashland, Ore. with the Shakespeare Festival and after that, she got a job at Oregon State University in Corvalis teaching dance.

Since the age of 23, Burrow has subsidized her ballet career by working in the restaurant industry.

But after her mother, Ruby, for whom the restaurant is named, passed away in 1985, Burrow moved to Whidbey Island and continued to work in restaurants and cafés. She also taught dance at a studio in Oak Harbor for a few years before buying it from her boss.

“From 1992 to 2002, I owned my own dance studio called Oak Harbor Academy of Dance,” she said.

“And then when I retired from the dance studio, I chose to lean on my culinary skills and I became the head cook at the Whidbey Pies Café at Greenbank Farm starting in 2003.”

After a few years of working there, Burrow decided she wanted something more.

“In the beginning of 2006,

I decided to go out on my own and do some personal cheffing and catering, which I really enjoyed,” she said. “But it was very sporadic and I had to continue to work filler jobs to make ends meet.”

Burrow has been in business for a little more than six weeks and is seeing a growing clientele of locals. She enjoys the creativity of making good food and a pleasant environment.

“I love to be creative with flavors. I love to make the food look beautiful and I love to provide a service that people find enjoyable with a pleasant social atmosphere,” she said.

Burrow is also gaining a reputation for her home-grown cooking, she said.

“I try to make as many of my sauces, such as my hollandaise sauce, salad dressings and soups from scratch as I can,” she said. “I’ve kind of have gotten a reputation for my Hungarian mushroom soup, which has two secret ingredients. Only two people know what they are.”

The menu at Ruby’s includes items for breakfast and lunch, with breakfast being served all day.

“A breakfast that gets a lot of compliments is my eggs benedict,” she said.

“I also have been offering a special pancake called an all-in-one pancake that has proven popular. It is a plate-sized pancake with a choice of meat, sausage or ham and one egg in it. It is a meal in and of itself.”

Burrow also offers a variety of specialty burgers, including an inside-out burger and a blue cheese burger.

“I really feel that I am in the right place, the right location. The location was a huge reason why I chose this space. This is a high-traffic area in the middle of the island,” she said. “It’s hearty home-made, high quality food with reasonable prices. You can eat a full plate for less than $10.”

Ruby’s is open Tuesday through Sunday, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Burrow also offers catering services. For more information, call 360-678-3000.

Spencer Webster can be reached at 221-5300 or swebster@south

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