I stopped by the Blythe Cricket last week to see just how close the new restaurant on Joseph’s main street was to a grand opening. What I got a scrumptious tease.

Co-owners Margaret Lamm and Rachel Nutter had hoped to open the Italian restaurant the end of December, but made no promises. Now, they’re hoping for late January but said “let’s just say in 2019, we feel confident with that.”

It’s a joke, of course, meant as a nod at the hundreds of small things that must be done before an opening, and the necessary focus on other things (like family) during the holiday season.

But the progress report made my mouth water.

They’ve just finished three days of barista training and selected their “trademark coffee.” They’ll be serving Nossa Familia Coffee.

Nossa Familia is a small family company out of Portland by way of Brazil. And I just happened to have been introduced to Nassa Familia Coffee the last time I visited Portland. My coffee-obsessed brother said, “Stumptown is over. I’m taking you to Nassa Familia, it’s a family place, their relationships with coffee growers is personal, and the coffee is roasted and freshly ground.”

Fresh is very good.

I also noticed kitchen staff at work as I drove down the Main Street a few days ago. You can see the kitchen through the big windows that face the highway. I’d guessed they were testing their recipes and wondered if I ought to turn in and volunteer as a taste-tester. Lamm confirmed my guess.

“We’re perfecting our menu items,” said Lamm. “Every oven is different. The cinnamon buns (that’s buns, not rolls) are our favorite baked item.”

Oh yeah, I should have stopped and volunteered.

I remembered they’d said something about homemade pasta dishes, so I decided to hone in on the “homemade” claim and found out that their pasta noodles are handmade from scratch.

And the creation of a unique flavor palette doesn’t stop there.

“We make all the seasonings and flavorings and special touches that make it mouthwatering,” said Nutter.

Produce will also be locally sourced, as much as is possible with Wallowa County’s short growing season. Nutter and Lamm have already purchased locally sourced beef, too.

Dinner and dessert seem well in hand, but what about the compliment of the right wine or other adult beverage? Not to worry, although the liquor licenses are still being acquired. Lamm and Nutter expect to be able to serve cocktails with brunch, and wine and beer with meals.

Now for the name: it is Blythe with a “y.” I got “corrected” last time I wrote about the restaurant and said it was as Blythe with a “y.” I was told by a proofreader that was the name of an actress but the correct spelling of blithe that means “happy” was with an I. Well, we were all right. It is Blythe with a ‘y’ (yeah me!) because it’s the middle name of one of the owners.

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