By Carolyn Maizel
Wanda’s Café and Bakery, Nehalem’s go-to diner for delicious breakfast, lunch, and baked goods, has recently gotten a makeover. The 19 year old café has been under new ownership since January 2nd of this year, and the new owners Frank Squillo and Patrick Conner have been hard at work since then renovating the locally famous restaurant.
Frank Squillo grew up working in his family’s pizza business in Pittsburg, and always dreamed of owning his own restaurant. Frank and his family moved from Dallas, Texas to Portland a while back, but made frequent trips out to Manzanita to vacation, and fell in love with the area. They wanted to move permanently to the coast and figured the best way to do that would be to buy and run a restaurant. They purchased Wanda’s from the original owner, Wendy Crosta, who was planning on retiring after running the café for nearly 20 years. Wendy was instrumental in training the new owners on the ins and outs of the cafe, and still makes Wanda’s famous baked goods, but Frank and Patrick have now taken over.
From the outside, the building has a fresh paint color and a newly built fence to separate those waiting for a table from the Hwy 101 traffic. The side parking areas that were once gravel have now been paved over, adding more spaces to park and allowing easier access to the building. Frequent visitors of the popular café will also notice that Wanda’s has a new sign and logo, which were created by owner Patrick Conners, a professional designer.
Walking into the café, the inside has changed dramatically to a more modern look. From the front door to the back patio, Wanda’s has been updated. An open and efficiently laid out space welcomes visitors as they walk in. New black and white checkered wallpaper and a collection of new, locally inspired décor decorate the walls where past café goers would remember antique toasters and salt and pepper shakers. The previous tables that were covered with quirky clothes have been replaced with tables made of the wood salvaged from a barn on the local Woodward farm, emulating the owners’ vision of a local style.
The new owners are not done with the building yet, however. They plan on updating the kitchen to include more grill space, which could mean more items on the menu such as pancakes and hash browns. The outside waiting area will transform to an outdoor lounge area where visitors can sit, relax, and play games, like corn hole. Frequent café goers can also look forward to Wanda’s being open for dinner starting in the fall, where the regular menu will be served with blue plate specials.
While Wanda’s has a new look, the delicious food everyone loves and remembers is staying the same. Wanda’s new motto is, “Oregon Coast Comfort Food” and the food as well as the approachable style of the café reflect the motto. Wanda’s originally opened in October 1999 and will soon be celebrating their 20th anniversary.
You can find the café at 12880 H St, Nehalem, and they are open from 8am-2pm every day. For more information, you can visit their Facebook page here.