Food

The C Shop

Time for a sweet summer

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

It’s been 44 years since Patricia and Patrick Alesse first opened the C Shop in Birch Bay, and the candy, ice cream and pizza store remains a favorite summer destination among Birch Bay locals and visitors.

Arrive on a hot summer evening and you’ll see bikes parked haphazardly outside, families trooping in after their barbecue dinner and young couples out on their first dates, hand-in-hand.

If Birch Bay has a center, this is it: the bright yellow, cheerful structure on the corner of Alderson Road and Birch Bay Drive, its insides packed full of tasty treats and warm smiles. The C Shop is just a feel-good, happy place to hang out.

In recent years the couple’s son Keith and his wife, Saara Kuure, have joined “Pat and Pat” as co-owners and the four partners are happily working side by side, serving customers and creating new chocolate fantasies—like a milk chocolate peanut butter cup.

“My parents don’t want to leave, and we couldn’t do this without them,” Keith says.

Inside the ice cream bar patrons crowd in, patiently waiting their turn to pick from one of the 20 ice cream flavors. Nobody minds waiting, because watching the C Shop in action is part of the experience. Directly outside, there’s a large window into the kitchen so customers can watch carmel corn being stirred in a massive vat and peanut brittle being rolled onto the countertop and cut.

The array of candy is incredible. The first items to disappear are the salt and pepper caramels, the almond butter toffee, the peanut butter yumms, the carmel corn and Keith’s C-foam. There are chocolates molded into a wide variety of shapes, fudge samples on the counter and snow cones to take the edge off those muggy, burning-hot days.

But don’t get too distracted by the candy. Just beyond the kitchen there’s another side to the C Shop, and you’d be remiss not to try it. Here the Alesse’s offer 12- and 16-inch pizzas, baked in a 1916 Edison Electric deck oven, that will get your mouth watering. My favorites are the Mediterranean, with sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts, spinach and feta, and the White Rock, with white garlic sauce, artichoke hearts and gorgonzola.

The newest pizza addition for this season is the Kickerville Rooster, whose toppings include Sriracha sauce, pineapple, bacon, kalamata olives, pepperoncini and roasted garlic. “It’s sweet, hot and trendy,” Keith says, describing how it was made purely by chance. A last-minute food request had come in from a friend, prompting he and Saara to assemble a pizza based purely on what they had left over. It was such a hit it became an immediate addition to the menu.

Pizzas range in price from $11.75 up to $28.75, with gluten-free crust options available. This year there’s also a gluten-free ice cream cone on the menu, one Keith swears is even better than the regular cones.

Other food options available in the restaurant include cold deli sandwiches, grilled sandwiches, fresh loaves of bread, cinnamon buns and a selection of sundaes, milkshakes and floats. Come in on your birthday and you’ll get free jelly beans totaling your age. Newlyweds and wedding anniversary celebrants also get a free peanut butter yumm bar to share.

The day I met Keith in late May, he’d worked the entire night before making chocolate. Nevertheless, he was still very much in love with the business and everything it represents.

“We often hear customers say how they came to the C Shop when they were a kid, and now they’re bringing their own kids,” he says. “Our candy shop has been a positive experience in their lives, something they’ve looked forward to and a connecting point for people of all ages. Ours is a business that people feel define the area, and we’re proud that part of what summer in Birch Bay means is a visit to the C Shop.”

Btown Valentines
More Food...
Eggs and Tomatoes
An international affair

Hypothetically, say you find yourself hosting some Syrian or Mexican folk. No big deal, just an impromptu mid-winter brunch in some sunny American kitchen. But suppose the pantry is running on empty, and all you have to cook are eggs, and some kind of tomato sauce. Now the gang must decide,…

more »
Greens Scene
A post-holiday repast

Early Friday morning, I ate the last remaining Christmas cookie in the house and knew without a doubt the holidays had come to an end.

It’s always kind of a relief to bid farewell to the edible excesses of the season, and in an effort to recalibrate my metabolism, I spent the rest of the…

more »
Pomegranate Power
Hop on board

We are lucky to live in an age of pomegranates. With more being grown and consumed than ever before in the history of the world, the inevitable pomegranate renaissance is upon us. And we can begin enjoying the fruits of it immediately.

Pomegranate season is in full swing and, worldwide,…

more »
Events
Today
Cascade Games Convention

9:00am|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

Garage Sale and Health Fair

12:00pm|Settlemyer Hall

Bellingham Folk Festival

4:30pm|Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship

Xanadu

7:00pm|Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth

The Flick

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Space Trek, Backyard Brawl

8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

Pancake Breakfast

8:00am|Ferndale Senior Center

VFW Breakfast

8:00am|VFW Hall

Mason Bee Management

9:00am|Garden Spot Nursery

Smoking Crow Opening

9:00am|Smoking Crow

Plant Society Field Trip

10:00am|Birch Bay State Park

Nordic Ski Ambassadors

10:00am|SnoPark at Salmon Ridge

Skagit Eagle Festival

10:00am|Howard Miller Steelhead Park

March on Bellingham

10:00am|Bellingham City Hall

Winter Farmers Market

10:00am|Depot Market Square

Of marching and mending

12:00pm

Travel to Cuzco and Machu PIcchu

1:00pm|Blaine Library

Cedar Weaving Workshop

2:00pm|Lynden Library

Teddy Bear Biographies

2:00pm|Ferndale Library

Learn to Grow a Vegetable Garden

2:00pm|Sumas Library

Mona Openings

2:00pm|Museum of Northwest Art

Mysticism in Art

2:00pm|Skagit County Historical Museum

Exploring Port

2:00pm|Seifert & Jones Wine Merchants

The Fight Against Human Trafficking

3:00pm|Everson Library

Kindgom Quest

4:00pm|Village Books

Music and Memories

5:00pm|Swinomish Casino & Lodge

Robert Burns Supper

5:30pm|Littlefield Celtic Center

Ensemble Electra

7:30pm|Jansen Art Center

The Good Lovelies

7:30pm|Lincoln Theatre

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1
Tomorrow
Cascade Games Convention

9:00am|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

Bellingham Folk Festival

4:30pm|Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship

Xanadu

7:00pm|Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth

Skagit Eagle Festival

10:00am|Howard Miller Steelhead Park

Community Breakfast

8:00am|American Legion Post #43

Rabbit Ride

8:00am|Fairhaven Bicycle

Rabbit Ride

8:30am|Fairhaven Bicycle

Bellingham Chamber Music Society

3:00pm|First Congregational Church

Nonfiction and Memoir Writing Group

3:00pm|Village Books

Southside Community Meal

5:00pm|Our Saviour's Lutheran Church

Way North Comedy

7:00pm|Farmstrong Brewing Co.

Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Village Books
Monday
Cuban Salsa Classes

6:00pm|Bell Tower Studios

Salish Sea Early Music Festival

7:30pm|St. Paul's Episcopal Church

Poetrynight

8:00pm|Bellingham Public Library

see our complete calendar »

Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Village Books