WALLOWA – What’s up? That’s what Troy and Janette Barnum want you to wonder and stop in to their new coffee shop at 307 E. 1st St in Wallowa to find out.
“We serve the best coffee – at least I think so – and it’s affordable,” Troy Barnum said.
A 12-ounce cup at What goes for $1 and add another 25 cents for a 16-ounce cup. They don’t plan espresso or fancy coffees, as those can be obtained elsewhere.
“We just like good, fresh-brewed coffee,” Troy said.
The menu also includes homemade pastries and hot tea or cocoa. He said they will, in the future, provide “some light food,” though they have no plans for a grill.
But what’s with the coffee shop’s name?
“People are always wanting to know ‘What’s up?” Janette said. “He thought of the name ‘What’ originally in the middle of the night. He was just joking, but I said ‘I love that.’ Just think how many times each day someone says, ‘What?’ “
Starting last weekend, What is open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until spring. Then, the Barnums hope to be open seven days a week with expanded hours to take advantage of the tourist trade.
For now, the Barnums are the staff until business picks up enough to require more.
The prospect of increased business coincides with plans for expansion. What has a side area where they’ll have tables and a backyard barbecue, Troy said. They also hope to set up tents where local craftsmen can sell their wares.
“We’d like to develop that into a spot where people want to stop,” he said. “We’d like something that’s good for the area.”
Originally from rural Nevada, the Barnums have lived in Wallowa about a year and a half. When they took over the building, it needed much work, having sat unused for years.
“The ceiling was falling out down to the lath,” Troy said.
Built in 1917, it then housed the local movie theater. The Barnums have some of the original seats from the theater they’ve refurbished and use in the shop. Later, Troy said, the grange in Wallowa had the building and upgraded some of it.
In addition to the coffee shop, they’ve built a living quarters for themselves in the back.
A sign out front advertises coffee, homemade pastries, antiques and “things.” The latter includes “an eclectic collection” of curios that range from dishes to pottery to artwork to clothing and even ammunition. The inventory may change.
“We’ll just see what people want to buy,” he said.