By Andy Valencia
Welcome to our second interview with a business owner who, despite her geographic location, still seems to lie well outside of Vashon Town, as the tourist walks. Join us in exploring the nooks and crannies of our abundant community.
Past Snapdragon, one driveway beyond Euphorium, hides an eatery that has been serving Vashon for years. I first noticed it during Strawberry Festival when they put out a sign advertising “Epic Cookies.” And they were epic. When Maven Mercantile closed its doors, it soon reopened as Mica’s Kitchen – pronounced “me” and “cah”.
Starting out with buns and a banner out front telling you to “Get Your Buns In Here,” owner Michaella Olavarri quickly responded to all the Maven customers who dropped by in search of savories. With 30 years of restaurant experience, she filled Maven’s shoes without missing a beat. Mica’s Kitchen has offered a variety of sweet and savory dishes ever since.
Getting her start in Alaska, Michaella launched the “Desserts First” restaurant before finding her way to the Culinary Academy in San Francisco. After running cafe and food service for a major bookstore in Capitola, her family connections brought her up to the Seattle area. An opportunity with Camp Burton brought her to Vashon, setting her up to jump in when Maven’s closure gave her a new opportunity.
For Mica’s Kitchen, the COVID story was the familiar upending of everything. Mica’s Kitchen was perfectly configured to serve the takeout market, but every other restaurant on Vashon jumped onto takeout as well. Lots of competition! Still, she took her decades of restaurant experience, plus a spot of luck, and held her business together through it all.
2023 is a promising year for Michaella. While keeping her own kitchen operating, she is becoming involved in a number of special food offerings in town. If you come across the Basque style “Pinxtos,” it’s almost certainly from the hands of Michaella. Be sure to drop by her kitchen to see her Christmas cookies, and if your dietary choices permit it, explore her smoked meats.
When you feel the need for a home-cooked meal, but you lack the time or energy – drop by Mica’s Kitchen. Everything is made from scratch, using quality ingredients. Experience the dishes of a restaurateur with a lifelong love of the art of creating great food. Mica’s Kitchen is located at 17917 Vashon Hwy, (206) 408-7590.