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Bellingham cafe, famous for the 'apple pancake' represents three generations of culinary traditions

The Birch Door Cafe opened five years ago, but has a following well beyond its years. #k5evening

BELLINGHAM, Wash. — Even on a weekday morning, The Birch Door Cafe in Bellingham is packed. It's the kind of place that still does things the old-fashioned way.  

The juice is fresh, the potatoes are done homestyle, and they even make their apple syrup from scratch. And just as impressive, the made-from-scratch pancakes

"We are a pancake house at heart," explained Casey Nagler, co-owner of Birch Door. "What's really interesting is the process we go through to create something as simple as a buttermilk pancake. Our buttermilk batter is pretty complicated and has fresh ingredients."

It all adds up to the WOW factor when the food arrives on people's plates.   Casey and Taria Nagler, the husband and wife team behind the cafe, also pride themselves on the atmosphere.

"We love to hire nice people with great energy," Taria shared. "All the skills can be taught. Just the teamwork is really special and makes us unique."

While this is their first restaurant, the couple is part of an experienced family tree. In the 1960s, Casey's grandparents ran a restaurant in Chicago. When Casey's parents Mary and Billy relocated to Washington in the early 1980s, they opened a small restaurant in Sequim called the Oak Table. 

Now 40 years later, their three children all own restaurants in Washington.    

And each has a similar tree theme. Oak Table, still run by Casey's mom, has a sister restaurant in Silverdale, run by Nikki and her husband Ross.

Casey's brother Kory and his wife Rachel opened the Maple Counter in Walla Walla and then of course the Birch Door in Bellingham.

Three generations strong and each helping the other along the way.   

When Casey decided to build the Birch Door from the ground up, his dad was by his side.    

"I had only done house remodels, so taking on a commercial building was a big jump," Casey shared. "He helped me through all the steps especially towards the end when I took on more than I could handle with finished carpentry and woodwork, he would be there with me until the job was done."

But a few years after Birch Door opened, his right-hand man and inspiration passed away.   

"I'm saddened I can't show him what else we've done and how much its grown but he did get to see it all and he was very impressed," Casey said.

And we think you will be too, because with that great loss, also comes a proud legacy — celebrated every day at Birch Door through the care and creativity behind every plate.

KING 5's Evening celebrates the Northwest. Contact us: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Email.


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