Mana’s Kitchen, a new restaurant in Bay City, is booming with customers, both regular and new. It had a “soft opening” in February of this year. This opening featured coffee and espresso.
Mana's Kitchen is located at 5535 Hayes Oyster Drive. They are open Tuesday-Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and are closed Sundays and Mondays.
“We are still creating the wheel,” said Amanda Stanaway, owner of Mana’s Kitchen.
Stanaway has gotten to know her neighbors, many of whom have become regular customers. She had a “Not so Grand Opening” in June.
“Bay City is a wonderful little town to do business in,” Stanaway said. “There’s a lot of people in the area.”
Stanaway has added soups and sandwiches to her growing menu and bakes everything fresh from scratch and is still handwriting menus every day. She would like to add gluten free fish and chips to her menu hopefully by next spring.
“There is still more we want to do,” Stanaway said of her menu.
The kitchen in the restaurant is smaller than what she had at her previous restaurant. Stanaway hopes to put in a full kitchen when she can and to keep expanding the menu.
“We’ll see where we get with the kitchen,” Stanaway said. “We have a very small facility here so we’re kind of working with all of this stuff.”
Stanaway grew up going to a nearby camp in Bay City. She started her own coffee cart at 19 years old that she parked in the front of the Murray/Allen Safeway store in Beaverton.
Stanway opened a restaurant in the valley in 1999, South Store Café, located in Hillsboro. South Store Café was 4500 square feet and the restaurant was on the bottom level. Stanaway was only 21 years old when she opened it. She ran it for 10 years and sold it after her daughter turned two. As a single mother, she found running the business while raising her daughter challenging.
“I feel very happy that it’s still going,” Stanaway said. “It’s one of those places that is sort of magical.”
Stanaway and her daughter moved to the beach three years ago and she was looking for a project.
“I sort of settled on this building,” Stanaway said. “It’s close to the house. Just the perfect spot for a coffee shop.”
She liked that it was right on the bay, calling it a “wonderful spot.” She liked the small size of the building.
“It’s perfect for where I’m at in life right now,” Stanaway said. “Coming to the beach was sort of like coming home,” Stanaway said.
The name Mana’s Kitchen was inspired by her dad calling her “Mana”, short for Amanda, when she was growing up.
“He called me Mana for the first six years of my life, so it was kind of nice to take that name back because you grow up and then you’re Amanda, so that was kind of fun, and people are starting to call me Manda, which I love,” Stanaway said.
Stanaway plans to have a proper grand opening in the spring and hopes to be serving beer and wine by then. She’s also hoping to do “Tapas at Sunset” in the future.
“It will grow into a beautiful spot,” Stanaway said. “It’s still in its infancy. As it grows, it’s going to do more and more.”
Stanaway has always been supportive of the arts and implements that into her restaurant. The Fall Show features work by Nicole Mark Photography and is hung by the door. This show is an array of coastal images from up and down the west coast, from Oregon to British Columbia. All prints in the show are available for purchase through Mana’s Kitchen, along with a selection of cards and sleeved prints.
Stanaway will switch out the art pieces after the first of the year.
Stanaway herself has always been involved in music. In 2008, she recorded her first album, “Artist’s Proof,” which has been described as modern, gutsy folk music. She will perform January 25 at the Bay City Arts Center with the band Pride of the North Bank, an international touring band from Vancouver. Tickets will be around $20.
Mana’s Kitchen hosts a variety of events. They did a Not so Grand Opening in June. A recent event was Storytelling at Mana’s Kitchen, which was held Oct. 23. Neighbor Dan Overholser, a professional storyteller, shared his art with the community. Past events have included a Harvest Moon Party, a Summer Solstice Jam, Celebrating Art and Show, and Paint with Jen. There is also a community board on the outside of the restaurant where people can post on and get the buzz of what’s happening in town.
Mana’s Kitchen will have some Christmas items coming up on their menu. For now, Stanaway has enjoyed getting to know her neighbors and having her place become a “neighborhood kitchen.”
“It’s fun to have people become regulars,” Stanaway said.