Café Cesura Opens Second Location in Bellevue: A Conversation With Owner Shawn Nickerson
Café Cesura has been serving Downtown Bellevue since 2011, cultivating a following among coffee lovers on the Eastside. Now, they’re spreading their wings and expanding to a second location inside the (almost) newly built Holden of Bellevue. Owner Shawn Nickerson said he’s been dreaming of finding another space but never found the right fit until now. On June 4, the community is invited to be part of their grand opening.
“It was all about finding the right location,” Nickerson said. “I had dozens of realtors bring me different opportunities, but when it came down to it, I wanted a space with lots of sunshine and that fits who I am. This is the space.”
Nickerson describes the space as more sophisticated than the first location, with dark teal walls, cozy wooden booths, matte black hanging lights, and large windows that invite the sun in— the exact thing he was looking for. His efforts of sourcing, brewing, and roasting coffee in-house will continue with the added bonus of serving alcohol. This will include specialty espresso craft cocktails, Washington wines and beer.
“This whole side of downtown is still under development and will hopefully continue to grow as the light rail comes in,” Nickerson said. “Adding alcohol to the menu just means I can continue energizing the community with new options.”
While the success of Café Cesura is apparent with the new expansion, Nickerson said he thought the idea of a second location would have to be on hold way longer after seeing his business struggle during COVID-19. In the thick of the pandemic, business sales went down 80%, he explained.
“It was so tough,” he said. “It was the uncertainty that brought a lot of worrying, but nonetheless, the Bellevue community really came around and supported me as a business owner. I can’t think of any other way to thank those who helped me than to continue building new spaces that give them meaningful food and beverage experiences.”
Looking ahead three to five years, Nickerson said he sees the second location as a bustling neighborhood café. While he has ideas to continue expanding outside of Bellevue, his schedule is already filled with plans to build a different kind of business. Just this month, Nickerson signed a lease to open a new bar called Silkies located in the GIS building. He plans to capitalize on Nordic style with small Scottish plates, cocktails, champagne and a raw food bar. Nickerson also discussed the idea of opening a luxury bodega in Downtown Bellevue including a daytime lounge and outstanding retail experience.
Nickerson said the pandemic pushed him to do more for the community, which ultimately got him through challenging times.
“I’m approaching these new businesses in the sense that I don’t believe I can fail because I have such an amazing support system in Downtown Bellevue,” Nickerson said. “Café Cesura’s motto is ‘do good things with your hands' and find a way to impact the world in your little corner. That’s exactly what I’m doing, and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.”
This blog is part of the Heart of Bellevue: our campaign to showcase local businesses while connecting you with stories of activity, creativity and recovery. Find out about our campaign and explore more of what’s happening around Downtown.