November 5, 2001
Purple Cafe: a new dining option for Woodinville
by Deborah Stone
The Purple Cafe, nestled in the Hollywood Vineyards between Tully's and Texas Smokehouse BBQ, offers area residents another choice in their dining-out alternatives. It is the brainchild of owners Larry and Tabitha Kruofsky.
The couple, who moved to the area just last year with their two young children, owned and operated a successful restaurant in Las Vegas for the past six years. "Our restaurant in Vegas did well," explains Larry. "It was on a larger scale than the one here in Woodinville, but the theme was similar. Tabitha and I had never operated a restaurant before, but we came up with the concept and saw an opportunity in Las Vegas, where we had some friends and family."
Wanting a change of scenery and a healthier environment to raise their children, the Kruofskys sold their restaurant and relocated to the Seattle area. "We had traveled through this area before and really liked it, so we just packed up and left Las Vegas and landed in Bellevue," says Larry. "While driving around one day, we came across Hollywood Vineyards and noticed a wholesale bakery operating in the space where we are now. We had been looking for a space to create a new restaurant on a smaller scale than the one we had before. We liked the location of Woodinville and the exposure to residential and corporate groups, especially for our catering focus. The pieces just fit together for us and everything clicked."
The Purple Cafe (named for the ease of a one-word name and for the color's association to wine) opened in mid July, specializing in simple bistro cafe food and wines, offering lunch and dinner, Tuesday-Thursday. "We try and incorporate some unique and different flavors in our dishes and try not to limit ourselves to any regional boundaries," explains Kruofsky." The lunch menu is eclectic in its offerings, beginning with several small plates, such as crab cakes, grilled chicken skewers, soups, a cheese board and a baked brie with apricot preserves. There is a meze plate, which includes a variety of homemade spreads, such as artichoke parmesan, sundried tomato pesto and feta walnut, served with toasted almonds, marinated mushrooms, crostini and crackers. These spreads also accompany a wide range of salads from the purple chopped (mixed greens, avocado, bacon, green beans, bell peppers, onion and gorgonzola, tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette) to an Asian chicken, Greek pasta, or marinated flank steak (served on a bed of mixed greens with feta and grilled veggies).
Sandwiches, on rustic bread, feature offerings such as grilled chicken with bacon, blackened salmon with mango chutney, smoked turkey and goat cheese, marinated flank steak with caramelized onions and a vegetarian offering of grilled eggplant, roasted peppers, tomatoes, carrots and sundried tomatoes. There is also an assortment of gourmet-type pizzas, and if customers wish to create their own combinations they are free to make their requests. A selection of desserts, including a lemon tart, creme brulee, chocolate cake and an assortment of homemade cookies completes the menu.
The Purple Cafe specializes in wine produced by some familiar wineries located in the major wine producing regions of the world balanced with a selection of wines from lesser known winemakers. The wine menu changes daily and on any one day, over 30 wines by the glass and between 75-100 wines by the bottle are available.
The restaurant also has a dinner service, featuring six different entrees.
"We want to go after the dinner market," comments Kurofsky. "So we've begun to offer meals here, as well as take-home meals that people can pick up and serve at home. We are trying to build an awareness of this because we think once people know about it, they will want to try it and find that they like the convenience."
According to Kurofsky, the cafe's lunch business is going strong along with the sale of retail wines.
Demand for catering services has also picked up, both in the residential and corporate sectors.
Future plans possibly include adding more seating to the restaurant.
(the space has an upstairs area that currently serves as an office), expanding to multiple locations and continuing to build the catering side of the business. "For now," says Kurofsky, "we want to concentrate on doing a good job with this location and then see where the market takes us, but our hope is that we will be able to build a brand and grow."