PORT ORCHARD— Port Orchard’s landmark Home Made Cafe is no more.
Restaurant owners Suanne Martin Smith and Paul Robinson said in a Facebook statement posted Monday that they will not be reopening their restaurant that’s housed in a converted church after nine years of operation.
“It’s with a heavy heart to announce the Home Made Cafe will not be reopening,” the co-owners wrote. “We have decided as a family that it’s time for us to end this chapter of our lives. We have had nine years serving our community, we raised our blended family of five kids here, and we have watched your beautiful children grow from babies to young adults.”
The couple stated that the last couple of years have been difficult, both for the business and for them personally. “It’s time for a new beginning. Thank you to all of our supporters throughout the years. Change is coming for all of us,” they wrote.
Martin Smith and Robinson said after some remodeling work is completed at the former restaurant on the hill across from Port Orchard’s City Hall, they will reopen the space as a wine bar. The couple said they will serve “delicious small plates, beer, hard cider, wine and champagne” instead of breakfast and lunch items.
The co-owners said more details will soon be forthcoming about their new venture. Martin Smith wasn’t immediately available for comment Tuesday morning.
The restaurant’s closure comes as the COVID-19 pandemic slowly ebbs locally and nationally. Home Made Cafe has struggled during the past few years to survive a drop-off in business and to cope with state-mandated operational restrictions and closures related to the pandemic.
In March 2020, Martin Smith spoke to Kitsap News Group about their difficulties in surviving the pandemic, including their struggle to keep their 10 employees on the payroll.
“My employees have families to care for,” Martin Smith told the Port Orchard Independent. “I have children too.”
The popular eatery has served an eclectic breakfast and lunch menu to South Kitsap diners since opening nine years ago. After the restaurant initially partially reopened last year, it made do by offering customers a restricted menu of items for takeout.
The development is bittersweet for the owners, who worked hard to expand their customer base and update and refine their menu.
In 2017, the restauranteurs won a $20,000 grant as the grand prize winner of the edg3 Fund small-business competition sponsored by Kitsap Bank. The edg3 Fund is a competition among small businesses in the region in recognizing entrepreneurs “dedicated to growing their communities economically, socially and environmentally.”
The co-owners invested their award funds in revamping the restaurant’s kitchen area to include a new commercial cooktop, an expanded pantry and a walk-in freezer.