End of an era? Longtime Seattle caf closes

SEATTLE - Jeanne Mae Barwick doesn't like to refer to it as the end of an era, but some loyal customers of Mae's Phinney Ridge Cafe may disagree once they learn the neighborhood icon is up for sale.

After 25 years smoking trout, baking homemade cinnamon rolls, and serving up her famous breakfast duo - Shake and Eggs - Barwick is calling it quits.

"I am turning 66 in April, so I am looking for a little less stressful lifestyle," she said. "I will still have to work but I would like more of a 9-to-5-type job with weekends off."

The cafe, located on Phinney Avenue North, went on the market Monday and already Barwick said she's received a handful of calls and several interested buyers walk through the restaurant.

The building, according to Barwick, dates back to the 1920s and was created to house a cafe, so she would like to see a buyer continue the tradition but she admits it's ultimately up to the landlord, who also owns 10 apartment units in the same building.

Like so many other small business owners, Barwick said business started to decline following the recession. But, over the last four years the caf managed to stay open by finding ways to operate more efficiently with fewer employees and fewer hours.

While there is no specific closing date for Mae's, Barwick hopes to be finished by April.

For those curious about where she is headed, don't worry, she's not planning to leave the neighborhood for good. You will still be able to catch her at the Greenwood Senior Center, where she'll be calling Bingo Karaoke.