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Veteran-owned Cascade Bagel produces favorites for breakfast and lunch

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"The first question new customers ask us when they walk through the door is ‘are these REAL bagels?'" laughed Betty Murrie, co-owner of Cascade Bagel in Lakewood. "I say we're the only bagels around!"

For the past nine years, Murrie, a veteran military spouse herself, has owned and operated Cascade Bagels with Bob Bringer. The two then-employees took over the store in 2003, when the original, Seattle-based owner was ready to close the doors...though the motivation did not stem from a lack of customers. Mainly because Cascade customers know that the bagels are irreplaceable - at least short of a 2500-mile plane ride.

The difference between what you might find at Panera or in the grocery store bakery section and what Cascade produces lies in the production - most notably the boiling, a true East Coast influence. In fact, the multi-step bagel process takes about ten hours from start to finish and is taken seriously by Murrie, a cooking school graduate, Bringer, a practiced baker, and their entire staff.

"I enjoy making a quality product and we do it right," said Bringer, who retired as a Chief Master Sergeant from the Air Force after 30 years. "I mean if you don't do it right, why bother?"

That attitude is typical for Bringer, who describes his military career as "the most versatile and exciting career" and admits to joining the military because he believed in what he was doing.

Although Saturday is undoubtedly the busiest day, Cascade is consistently crowded throughout the week, especially at lunchtime. Their cream cheeses - which are all handmade by Murrie - are popular and the newest menu addition of cheesecake is proving to be a new favorite.

Wholesale business is also a huge component for Cascade, and besides stocking many smaller coffee shops around Tacoma and Gig Harbor, they also provide bagels and baked goods to the Battle Bean on JBLM Main and the Madigan Medical Mall coffee shop with deliveries every morning.

"I like that it is truly a community place," said Murrie, who spends six days a week at the store. "Whether its regular or first-time customers, everyone comes in and feels welcome."

The shop also donates its day-old bagels to the Tillicum Food Bank, though Bringer is slow to claim that spotlight, simply acknowledging that they ‘care about people'.

Cascade Bagels, located at 6115 Motor Ave., is open 6 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. - 3 p.m. Saturday and 7:30 a.m. - 3 p.m. Sunday. Even better, to ensure that your favorite bagels are ready for pick-up, just call ahead and ask, (253) 984-6809.

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