BREAKING: Cafe Mia Closes Suddenly; Future Unknown

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Normandy Park resident Helga Herrera reads the notice taped to the front window of Cafe Mia, explaining its sudden closure.

Photos and Story by Scott Schaefer

Cafe Mia, located in the Normandy Park Towne Center on First Avenue South, closed suddenly last Thursday (4/21) with no warning.

Saturday afternoon (4/25) the doors were locked, paper covered all windows, no employees were present, and the only information available was a letter taped to a window near the front door, which read:

April 24, 2009

Dear Loyal Cafe Mia Customers,

We opened as a Cafe and unfortunately realized that this is not what the residents of the City of Normandy park need and want. In an effort to respond better to these needs we are closing effective immediately and are working to rebrand our concept. We apologize for the inconvenience and hope that you will soon see that our new, more comfortable, family friendly concept will be even better. We will continue to provide great food an hope to add a bar into the new concept.

As residents of this community, our community is very important to us. We are excited to be part of it look forward to bringing you the restaurant that Normandy Park residents need and want. If you have any questions please email us at [email protected]

Thanks for your continued support and patience. Please check back for updates.

The Owners of Cafe Mia

We sent an email to the address listed in the notice, but as of 3pm Saturday had not yet heard back; the Cafe Mia website doesn’t mention the closing. We also called the restaurant’s phone number, but after about a dozen rings it went to voicemail.

“I was a regular customer,” said Helga Herrera, a Normandy Park resident and owner of Normandy Nutrition who we found reading the explanatory letter (see photo above). “I loved coming here because they were open late and I could eat here after I closed my store. Plus, they had great coffee.”

While it was opened, Cafe Mia offered fresh baked breads, pizzas, pasta, pastries, paninis and sandwiches, gelato, salads, and even beer and wine.

The recently-opened Normandy Park Towne Center appears to have many empty storefronts and condos, and there were plenty of empty parking spots and little foot traffic when we dropped in on Saturday. The development, which opened in December, is managed by the McKittrick Real Estate Group.

According to the Towne Center website:

“This 3.58 acre mixed use project consisting of retail, office and residential components on 1st Avenue in Normandy Park promises to be a welcome addition to the neighborhood!

With Emerald City Smoothie, Café Mia, Herfy’s and Tight Cuts as our first tenants, we are also proud to offer 26 luxury townhomes for sale and 18 condo flats for rent.”

We’ll keep you updated as soon as we learn what the future holds for this business.

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7 Responses to “BREAKING: Cafe Mia Closes Suddenly; Future Unknown”
  1. Megan B. says:

    I have lived in the neighborhood of this new development for my entire life – all 25 years of it. Past the late 1990's or so, this shopping center has continually struggled no matter who or what has popped up in the old XL super's place. This shocks me for two reasons – one, because I would think the normandy parker's would love this picturesque new convenient center, but two I am shocked that developers CONTINUE to try and revive this dead-zone. Do they not do market research before throwing millions of dollars into this first-avenue black hole?

    I wish it would work. I really do. I like going to the normandy park gym, hopping over to emerald city smoothie, and I especially loved cafe mia. I spent a lot of hours using the free wifi to do homework, and despite the sign stating "normandy park does not need or want a cafe" I think they are mistaken. I think this is exactly what we need. I am saddened by their closure, and I'm not sure I will return after they re-vamp, or whatever it is that they plan on doing. Hopefully they will at least keep the menu items.

  2. WorstPosterEver says:

    Never ate there, but I know plenty of people who did and said they would never go back as the menu was outrageously overpriced. Normandy park probably needs and wants a cafe, just not a cafe that people can't justify patronizing due to its prices.

    That area is a black hole, however there is usually one type of land use that can thrive where every other fails. That would be a strip bar.

  3. Sam says:

    I hate to say it, but this plaza needs a Starbucks or some kind of people drawing chain (not Herfys??!) to draw more people and businesses in. If there were a coffee place or smoothie or something like that right NEXT to the gym I would defenitely go more. It just seems that everything is far too spread out. I would think it would be much nicer if it was a bit more intimate there. Bigger does not equal better.

  4. Robert says:

    If they decide to open a "new" cafe mia, I hope they plan on paying their purveyors and vendors next time around or it will fail again. The "owners" have a great deal to learn about how to run an honest business. Not everyone in the community cares to see them in business again – unless perhaps they decide to pay the many outstanding bills that are due.

  5. Megan B says:

    Sam – is it really that difficult to walk 500 feet to the smoothie bar? Considering that you are at the gym to be healthier, it seems a little silly to me that you are justifying not patronizing the business because its not RIGHT next to the gym. geez. drive the 2 seconds if you must. they do have a drive-up.

    Also – I am not sure I believe mia closed down due to people not wanting/needing a cafe – I suspected that it was lack of revenue and they just put up some random sign (i.e. other reasons such as what robert posted). I thought it was a little odd that they shut down so quickly, seeing as how they have a supposed successful sister store in Tacoma…couldnt this one have kept mia afloat for a while? Alternately, it was a little big-headed of them to try and rent such a HUGE unit for a start-up. Who knows.

    I think that both the developers and (sadly) business owners in this complex were deeply mistaken when they thought doing business here was a good idea. Too bad, really.

  6. Sam says:

    Megan, Sorry, i wasnt saying i minded walking that far, its just that the space seems too spread out. There is something to be said for the way a space makes you "feel" and this space for some reason does not entice me to do that. I don't always want a 5 dollar smoothie but what im trying to say is that if it were right there by the gym i would be more enticed to do so and more often. No need to try to make feel like a jerk for expressing myself, its got nothing to do with laziness so back off alright?
    I think something can work here but they need to start filling some of the space so it seems like a more vibrant and welcoming place.

  7. Yep says:

    Robert hit it right on the head. Here we are 2+ years later and we now know that these clowns were just greedy. Fortunately, they have gotten what they deserve with their money troubles.

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