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NEW OWNERS FOR BLUE WATER RESTAURANT

By Leah Weissman

Pilot staff writer

The tropical theme may be the same, but the atmosphere has changed.

Blue Water restaurant, which reopened Dec. 22 under new ownership, now caters to a more cafe-type crowd than the former dinner house group.

"Our theme is pretty much good food, good service and good price," co-owner Cathy Quinton said.

Owners, and sisters, Cathy Quinton and Patty Parke were born and raised in Brookings, and each has been in the restaurant industry for more than 30 years.

During that time, they waitressed in the same location – now known as Fox's Den Restaurant & Irish Pub – as it changed owners and styles from the Harbor Coffee Shop to Sandy's Country Kitchen.

"Sandy taught us a lot about the restaurant business," Parke said.

Quinton said she and her sister had looked at restaurants in the past, but weren't seriously in the market when the opportunity arose about a month ago to purchase Blue Water.

The restaurant had shut down a few days before Thanksgiving, and was ripe for the picking.

"It just kind of happened," Quinton said. "A woman walked into the restaurant (Fox's Den) I was waitressing for, looking for a morning waitressing job, and I told her we didn't have any. She said, ‘Maybe my husband and I should just buy a restaurant ourselves.'"

The woman, Joyce Brimm, asked Quinton which restaurant she would buy if given the chance, and Quinton said Blue Water.

A little later, Quinton went to speak with the owner of the building, Ken Byrtus – ironically not for herself, but for Brimm.

"Next thing I knew, the realtor was calling me," Quinton said. "Everything just fell into place, like it was meant to happen. …

"Three weeks later, Joyce came in for her morning coffee, and I told her we had bought Blue Water," Quinton added. "She's now our 5 a.m. waitress."

Parke said the building's recent remodel and beautiful interior – wall-to-wall hand-painted murals by Brookings resident Kolleen Stafford – sealed the deal when they bought the business from previous owner Lorraine Swigert, of Bella Italia Ristorante.

Rather than keeping Blue Water a seafood and steak house, Quinton and Parke changed it into a breakfast and lunch restaurant – making the menu more affordable for families, loggers and fishermen.

"Things are going good so far," Parke said. "The response from people has been really amazing. People like the food, and they like the fact that Cathy and I work there."

Blue Water's new breakfast menu includes everything from ham and eggs to crab Benedict. For lunch, hungry customers can choose from burgers, sandwiches, salads, wraps and more.

The staff consists of people Quinton and Parke have worked with for years in the food business.

The restaurant's new hours are 5 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Future plans include extending the hours in the summer till about 8 or 9 p.m., and to start serving dinner in spring before Memorial Day.

"It was a little scary at first ‘cause you never know what's going to happen," Quinton said. "But we've gotten so much support from the community."

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