BREMERTON — If you’ve driven by the corner of Sixth Street and Washington Avenue in downtown Bremerton anytime in the last year and a half, you might have noticed a beautiful house called Tudor Roses Meeting House with a sign saying “Coming soon!” teasing passersby.
That house, built in 1936 by lumber baron J.D. “Dorm” Braman, is on the Kitsap Historical Society registry. It was purchased in 2015 by Beverly and Ed — they don’t use their last names — who have spent the ensuing months renovating it.
On March 27, the Tudor Roses coffee shop opened.
Now, anyone who may have passed that house and wondered what was going on, and when it would open, can finally check it out for themselves.
You can be forgiven though, if you didn’t know they’ve opened. Bev said they didn’t advertise at all.
“We didn’t want to open with a big parade of people,” she said.
Bev, 78, and Ed, 75, married 10 years ago. She’s a retired teacher, he’s a retired stock broker. The bought Tudor Roses because after seeing the house, they “fell in love with it.”
“We thought, what can we do to make it pay for itself?” Bev said. “We thought, coffee shop. Let’s try that. So we learned how to make coffee — sort of. But we have a really good barista.”
Tudor Roses Meeting House is now open and operating as a coffee shop, including coffee, tea and a limited selection of food. They only had a soft opening, and aren’t currently planning on having a formal “grand opening” event, but as time passes, the building will be more than just a place to get a caffeinated pick-me-up.
“We wanted to do something in here that would be open to the community, so the community could enjoy it,” Bev said.
They plan to host weddings — small ones, as the building can only have 50 people in it at a time — and once the upstairs is fully renovated, there will be a library where people can hold conference meetings; an art gallery, where a local artist will be working, and can display art for the First Friday Art Walks; a small reception room for weddings; and even a place for a bride to get ready before the ceremony.
“We’re going to have our own coffee that we’re going to be selling, and gift packages, and all sorts of things,” Bev said. “It’s kind of grown, mushroomed. Once the cat gets out of the back, you can’t get it back in.”
For now, the coffee shop is open, and they’re serving a custom Tudor Roses blend, as well as sandwiches, sweet rolls and muffins, “normal coffee shop stuff,” and pies from a local bakery.
“It’s a coffee shop. There’s a window that’s going to be a walk-up window. It opens to the patio,” Bev said. “People can come in here and sit and eat if they want to, or they can come and take it and go back to their office.”
Between purchasing and opening, though, the journey wasn’t as simple as just deciding to open it as a coffee shop.
Aside from general renovations, Tudor Roses has been vandalized and stolen from. All the original lighting outside the house, the mantlepiece above the fireplace and the copper wiring and pipes were stolen and needed replacing.
“It’s been a long, long job,” Bev said. “Ed and I have been kind of doing it ourselves. It’s been ‘Coming soon!’ on our sign (for a long time).”
But Bev said they’ve “had fun with it,” and received a lot of interest from people about the house.
“We’ve had people out here taking pictures all the time,” Bev said. “And people would come by. In fact, we were in Olympia, and a waitress said, ‘I know that house. I recognize that picture.’ And another waitress clear up in Redmond said, ‘Oh yeah. My dad used to take us up there to see the fairy castle when I was little!’
“It’s amazing how many people remember this house if they see the picture or you talk about it.”
Tudor Roses Meeting House is for the community to enjoy, Bev said. So if you’re in the downtown area, pop in for a cup of their special Tudor Roses-blend coffee, sit down in the historic building and enjoy.
Current operating hours are 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, subject to change. Thursday, March 30, the business will be closed for a private event. For more information, call 206-679-1669.
Michelle Beahm is a reporter with the Kitsap News Group. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.