Nestled in Georgetown, a neighborhood that’s historically lacked access to fresh food options, Bloom Bistro is a welcome addition to the local culinary scene. Owned by Marisa Figueroa, a chef with a passion for bagels, pickles, and hot sauce, this cafe is a testament to the power of perseverance and good food. From perfecting her bagel recipe during the pandemic to carefully selecting local products for her shelves, Marisa’s dedication shines through in every aspect of Bloom Bistro. Whether you’re in the mood for a delicious breakfast sandwich or just need to pick up some essentials, Bloom Bistro is a great place to support.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. 

How long has Bloom Bistro been in business and how did you get started?  

This cafe has been open for a couple of months, but I did own a cafe of the same name in 2020. When the pandemic happened, I decided to close, but I started perfecting my bagel recipe. I also had a small batch pickle and hot sauce company and sold at farmers markets and did catering events. When the pandemic kind of evened out bit, we decided to open our cafe again.

How did you choose Georgetown as the location for your cafe?

I lived in Georgetown for a long time. I am just over the river in South Park now, but when I lived here, I would drive by this particular spot often and I always thought, “One day, if that space is available, I would dream of opening a shop there.”

When I saw that the previous tenants were moving along, I said, “I have to do it!” – it was calling to me.

What was located here before Bloom Bistro? 

It was previously Deep Sea Sugar Cake Company – they just moved down the street. And then prior to that it was Carlton Avenue Grocery. For many, many years, it was a local neighborhood grocery store and I really wanted to bring it back to its roots. 

Why do you think it’s important to have a grocery store in this neighborhood?  

Georgetown is known as a food desert. There are a lot of local bars and some restaurants, but no real grocery stores in the neighborhood to get essentials and ingredients, and I think it’s important to make sure people have access to food.

What types of groceries do you stock?

We’re prioritizing local foods and other local small businesses, so everything is sourced from other small local businesses and local farms. We have vinegars and pickles and hot sauces, milk, dairy, eggs, cheeses, and everything is sourced locally.

What happened to your hot sauce and pickle company?

We still make all of our products and we just sell them out of here and in our online store. All of our customers that enjoyed getting our pickles and hot sauce at the farmers markets can now come on down to the shop and still get their favorite pickled items!

You mentioned you started perfecting your bagel recipe during the pandemic – how did it all start? 

When I moved to Seattle, it was not meant to be permanent. But when I met my wife and we were settling down, I was like, “We have got to figure out the bagel situation,” because at the time, there were not any good bagels – though recently in the past few years there’s been kind of a bagel boom with lots of local businesses. 

After having my best friend send me New York bagels from the Lower East Side a couple of times, I decided that we were just going to figure it out ourselves. My wife and I both love to bake and I’m a trained chef, so I said, “You know what? We could probably figure this out.”

Every Sunday we would make a half-dozen bagels and just keep tweaking our recipe and perfecting it until we got really proud of it. From there, every Sunday morning over the pandemic, we would each eat a bagel, and then we would give the other four to friends, family, neighbors – eventually we ended up having a list of over 50 people waiting to get our bagels! 

At first I felt like this was just a hobby – something we were doing just for us. But eventually I said, “Let’s just try it”. We started doing some pop-ups and some small events, and it snowballed from there. And here we are!

Tell us about the types of bagels that you make. 

Our signature bagel is the rosemary sea salt. We make as much as we can every day, and it usually sells out. We make everything, sesame seed, plain, and garlic + onion every day.

Occasionally I’ll do sweet bagels like a cinnamon toast crunch or a blueberry and some kind of more different flavors. I like to do a furikake bagel and the jalapeno cheddar is always a big seller. I like to have fun with it, but I always have the core flavors in the case.

What’s been the neighborhood reception?

Everybody has been amazingly welcoming to us, from day one. Even when we were building out the space, I would leave the door open and I would meet all the neighbors. Everyone loves coming by, bringing their dogs in, and it’s been just a really awesome feeling to be so warmly welcomed from the neighborhood.

What should a first-time customer coming to Bloom Bistro order? 

My favorite menu item is the Pastrami Mami – it’s one of my signature sandwiches. I make the pastrami in-house, I’m very proud of it. But if you’re going for something a little bit simpler, I would do the Pastrami Egg and Cheese Sandwich on a Rosemary Sea Salt Bagel with my signature Rage Factory Hot Sauce on it.

What is something that you are proud of as a business owner? 

I’m just proud what we were able to create with the space here, and of having a really welcoming environment. In my previous business during the pandemic, I was sending a lot of food out, but not actually seeing people enjoy it. Having people hang out here and enjoying the food and getting coffee and meeting friends has been a really awesome experience for me. 

Why do you think it’s important for people to spend like it matters? 

I think it’s just important to support our local economy and support the humans that surround you. My entire staff is local and when people come to Bloom, you’re supporting real humans that are your neighbors. It’s important to support your community.

What are some of your favorite small businesses that you want people to know about? 
What else do you want people to know about Bloom Bistro? 

We’re super excited to be in the Georgetown neighborhood. We make most of our items in-house, and if not, we support other local businesses, and we’re just really excited to make really awesome food and share it with the world. Come visit us in Georgetown!

Leave a Reply