New cafe in town adapted to COVID world

Langley Kitchen has adapted to the times.

Opening a restaurant during a pandemic may not seem like an ideal plan.

But with the knowledge that most of his menu would be entirely portable, it’s what one business owner decided to do.

Jim Goodall officially opened Langley Kitchen on Second Street at the end of November. The new cafe is modeled after Goodall’s first restaurant in Seattle, called Madison Kitchen. About 55 to 60 percent of orders in Seattle were take-out, so Goodall decided to make the leap to Langley with a similar business plan.

“I spent the last year poring over tax letters, knocking on doors, writing letters, asking people on the street about a space,” he said.

Though bakery offerings picked up in Langley recently, Goodall said he was surprised in years past that he couldn’t find a baked good as simple as a cookie to eat while in town.

“I love baking, I love eating cookies,” Goodall said with a laugh. “That’s probably the impetus of some of this.”

For several years now, he contemplated opening a restaurant in Langley.

“I was poised and ready to jump when things changed, mid-June,” Goodall said.

In his remodel of the 840-square-foot building — which was previously occupied by Anthes Ferments — Goodall has left “no surface untouched.”

From new floors to appliances to wiring, the newly designed space has it all.

Goodall refers to himself as a “working owner” and a “one-entity operator,” meaning he sold Madison Kitchen when he moved to Whidbey. Customers can find him most days working alongside others at Langley Kitchen. He said he isn’t deterred by the pandemic, although there are things he feels nostalgic for.

“I do miss making a cappuccino in a beautiful porcelain cup,” Goodall said.

The new restaurant is equipped with to-go cups, boxes and utensils, with nary a plate or silverware in sight.

“When we make food, we’re always thinking about how portable it is,” he said.

Pandemic or otherwise, the menu won’t change much.

“We don’t start by visualizing how something is going to look on a plate,” Goodall explained.

Langley Kitchen offers a range of salads, not just of the green and leafy variety — although there is plenty of that too. Customers can find salads with potatoes, roasted beets, broccoli, curry chicken and more. And as promised, there is no shortage of baked goods. Salmon cakes, quiches and sandwiches made with potato focaccia bread are just some of the savory delights available. On the other end of the spectrum, there are sweet treats such as cranberry croustades, cookies of every type and cinnamon rolls, the most popular dessert.

After placing an order, customers are directed to step outside onto the patio, where a pick-up window is located. That way, people don’t have to re-enter the building.

Patricia Ackerman, a longtime employee of Madison Kitchen, has joined Goodall at his newest business venture.

“We’ve been talking about this place for a long time and how it would be different,” she said.

“We wanted to create a place that felt like it had a geographical importance,” she said.

Ackerman helped with the branding of Langley Kitchen, which has included the use of an owl and a quiver with some useful “tools.”

“I wanted it to be slick, I wanted it to be something that represented here,” she said about the restaurant’s logo.

Both she and Goodall have been adjusting to the slower pace of life on Whidbey.

Ackerman said she has noticed a lot of tea drinkers and refined palates so far.

Goodall said the restaurant will soon have online ordering.

For now, customers can call in orders at 360-321-1971 and peruse photos of the goodies on the cafe’s website,

“We’re thrilled to be here,” he said.

• Langley Kitchen is open 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.